Minutes of Second Annual General Meeting

Minutes of CCAR Annual General Meeting
Held on Thursday March 18, 2004
Hamilton City Hall Room 110
Convened at: 7:00pm
Adjourned at: 9:00pm

Meeting Agenda:
1) Presentation on Hate Crime Statistics
2) Update of the Rob Gentles Case
3) Update of Mountain Sign
4) Executive Elections


Presentation of Hate Crime Statistics by Sandra Wilson and Glenn Jarvie from the Hamilton Police Service

Both Sandra and Glenn gave a brief introduction about themselves.
Sandra gave a definition of what a Hate Crime is,
How the Hamilton Police Service classifies a Hate Crime,
Explained who the Primary targets for Hate Crimes are,
What points are stressed via training throughout the Hamilton Police Service.

Glenn explained the protocol used by the Hamilton Police Service when dealing with Hate Crimes:
Treated as a #1 priority call
Responded to very quickly
The police arrive and secure the area
The report of the incident is made
Staff Sergeant is informed
Hate Crimes Unit/ Any other groups are informed
Intel is used in an attempt to identify who is responsible
Meet and share any updates with the victims or groups involved
Work to prevent future occurrences of the Hate Crime

Hate Crime Stats:

Year # Of Hate Crimes
2000 59
2001 91
2002 98
2003 45

There has been a 53% drop since last year. There are two possible explanations: 1) This is mainly because of increased awareness (through CCAR, Strengthening Hamilton Community Initiative, media, Settlement and Immigration Services, etc.) and greater amounts of information being available; 2) There was a six-fold increase in hate crimes in the three months following Sept. 1, 2001. The rate stayed high for a further year. Finally, in 2003, the rate of hate crimes returned to “normal” levels.

There are 3 Main Groups into which Hate Crimes may fall:
Hate/Bias Motivated (criminal offence)
Incident with Hate/Bias Overtones (cannot be proven)
Incident

The groups, which are affected most by Hate Crimes, are overall the same throughout the province: Blacks, Jews, gays and lesbians (in that order)

Close to 90% of all Hate Crimes are never reported.

Race and or Religion are the top categories for which people are being targeted for Hate Crimes

The majority of Hate crimes occur on Fridays/During the Summer/and mainly at Night
Most of these types of Hate crimes are Assault or Mischief
The primary locations in which most hate crimes take place:
Location # of Hate Crimes
Education Facility 13
Street 9
Home 7

Section 718.2 of the Criminal Code of Canada was explained:
More severe sentences are to get given for crimes, which are motivated by Hate.

How do we build a Hate Free Community?
By respecting Human Rights
Creating a welcoming and inclusive environment
Creating opportunities for open dialog

Ken had some questions from the Executive:
What was the conviction rate on Hate Crimes: there were 13 in 2003.
Was anyone ever convicted for torching the Hindu Samaj Temple or the assaults on the Mosque on Stonechurch: still in process.
Update of the Iraq storekeeper who was shot:
Not considered a Hate Crime
Was not committed as a Hate Crime
Case is still before the courts
How many full time Hate Crime Officers:
There is one full-time hate crimes officer: Steve Hahn.
The street crimes unit also works on hate crimes.
There are 8 officers in total.

What was the status of Anti Racist training?
Anti Racist training, Racial profiling training, Hate Crimes Training all are offered by the Hamilton Police Service. As of now 100% of all officers have been trained.

It is being considered to add 16 hours of Anti-Racism training to Police Foundations Programs.

Sandra Wilson noted that recommendations from CCAR at last year’s AGM to classify hate crimes by time of day, month of year, etc. had all been incorporated and had made the report more useful to police as well.

CCAR chair, Ken Stone, thanked the representatives of the Hamilton Police Services for their thorough presentation.

Update of the Rob Gentles Case

Ken gave the background on the case:

It happened in October of 1993 at Kingston Penitentiary during a 24hr lockdown that was taking place. Guards complained Rob “was playing his radio too loudly.” After heavily spraying the cell with Mace, six officers went inside. Within minutes, the 23 year old Black Hamiltonian was dead.

Corrections Canada would not accept responsibility for its actions. With the help of the Rob Gentles Action Committee, Mrs. Gentles began a 10 year campaign to make Corrections Canada accountable. The Rob Gentles Action Committee Executive consisted of Jessica Stone (Chair), Marlene Thomas-Osborne (Vice-chair), Ken Stone (Secretary), and Bilbo (last name missing).

There was an 18 month inquest (the longest in Canadian history) from which 72 recommendations were made but few implemented. The inquest revealed a clique of rogue guards existed at Kingston Pen and that they acted improperly. Coroners, however, are not permitted to pin blame on any parties.

Now Corrections Canada has admitted that mistakes were made.
A letter of apology has been sent to the Gentles family

The civil action which has been pending for many years has finally been settled with the Gentles family.

Letters from Corrections Canada, lawyer Julian Falconer, and an article from the Hamilton Spectator (reporting on this announcement from the CCAR AGM) will follow in a subsequent e-mail message.


Mountain Sign

Ken again gave the background of the matter:
A complaint had been filed
A response was received from the Mayor that the complaint would be studied.

It is CCAR’s opinion that the sign should reflect all faiths, if a sign is to be placed at all.
Taxpayer dollars should not be used to promote religious festivals and certainly not to represent a single faith. Secular decorations should be used in Gore Park.

Maxine Carter gave an update from her viewpoint as Equity Officer for the City of Hamilton: that we can’t wait till December to make a decision but she does not have anything further beyond the letter from the Mayor

Executive Elections

Chair – Ken Stone
Secretary – Bernard Parsons
Treasurer – Khawla Ibrahim
Members at Large: Maria Rosa
Carmetta Gentles

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