B.C. NDP urges province to act against homophobia | National Union of Public and General Employees

B.C. NDP urges province to act against homophobia

MLAs call for gay bashing tip line and school programs to discourage hatred against gays.

Victoria (29 July 2010) - The B.C. New Democrat Party is calling on the Campbell government to enact new anti-homophobia initiatives, including a province-wide tip line to report gay bashing and programs in all schools to discourage hatred against gays.

"B.C., as you may have heard with Statistics Canada, has been called the province with the highest level of hate attacks in Canada, specifically against gay and lesbian people," says Spencer Chandra Herbert, NDP MLA for Vancouver-West End.

She was referring to a recent Statistics Canada report showing that police reported 34 crimes based on a victim's sexual orientation in Vancouver in 2008.

NDP public safety critic Mike Farnworth adds that there is a need for greater vigilance in the criminal justice system when it comes to hate crimes.

He said justice officials should make a stronger commitment to using existing hate crime legislation in gay-bashing prosecutions, and called for increased efforts in ensuring the victims of hate crimes are taken care of.

"Too often, victims in the court system and after a crime has occurred are sometimes forgotten," he said. "We need to recognize in our victims programs that they need to be responsive to victims of hate crimes and homophobic attacks."

Chandra Herbert and Farnworth also suggested the Vancouver Police Department consider putting beat patrols in the West End where there have been at least two suspected gay bashings in the past month.

The 2010 Vancouver Pride Parade begins at noon on Sunday, Aug. 1. It starts at the corner of Robson and Thurlow streets, and winds through the city's West End.

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