Premier John Horgan decried anti-Asian attacks in British Columbia after a Tuesday night shooting spree in Atlanta, Georgia killed eight people, six of who were Asian women.
The suspected shooter is 21-year-old Robert Long – a white male.
Horgan acknowledged hate crimes occurring in British Columbia in a Wednesday tweet: “Violence that targets women is hate. Violence that targets the Asian community is hate. There’s no excuse.
“We have seen hate here in our province, and we must all stand against it – wherever, and whenever it occurs,” he said.
Anti-Asian hate crimes surged last year in Vancouver, coinciding with a rise in COVID-19 cases.
In February, Vancouver Police Department reported an escalation of 717 per cent in 2020 compared to data gathered the previous year – from a dozen reported incidents to 142.
Some of the reports involved assault. Last March, a 92-year-old Asian man with dementia was attacked in an East Vancouver convenience store.
Vancouver police called the attack “hate-motivated” but the suspected perpetrator, Jamie Bezanson, was charged with assault.
“This is deeply troubling,” Horgan said last month, announcing his government’s plans to introduce anti-racism legislation in the province this year.
Today's crime stats from Vancouver show anti-Asian hate crimes are up 717% over the past year.
This is deeply troubling.
Our work includes moving forward on anti-racism legislation, but there's more for all of us to do in our stand against racism and hate in all its forms.
— John Horgan (@jjhorgan) February 18, 2021
“We need to make sure that violence against people of colour is not just treated as violence, but in fact, as hate crimes, which carry much stiffer penalties,” Horgan said.
“If you’re going to turn against people because of the colour of your skin, you will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”
So far, no further details have emerged about the proposal.
Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.