By Medicine Hat News on August 9, 2018.
Two national organizations have praised Medicine Hat Police Services for the arrest of a local man for inciting hatred after discovering in his residence anti-Semitic literature and a cache of guns with the serial numbers removed.
Richard Warman, a lawyer and board member of the Canada Anti-Hate Network, says this arrest is of particular interest to his organization, given the potentially lethal combination of hate literature and illegal firearms.
“You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to understand that hate propaganda has a purpose, and the purpose is to isolate and demonize the target communities and make them seem as legitimate targets,” he said.
“The last thing Canada or the world needs is another Alexandre Bissonnette who walks into a mosque and starts shooting. Although, in this case, I understand that the material was largely anti-Semitic, rather than anti-Muslim.”
According to the 2016 federal census, there are 115 Jews in Medicine Hat out of a population of 62,935.
Warman says it’s common for some racists and anti-Semites to have limited contact with the community they target.
“They call that ‘Platonic anti-Semitism,’ which is where the person has very little or no connection with the Jewish community … but they have this irrational hatred or fear of the target community,” he said.
“There’s this real rise in xenophobia, and suspicion and fear of people who don’t look like white or … what’s perceived as traditional Canadians. I think the political climate has contributed to that a great deal.”
Daniel Koren, a spokesman for B’nai Brith Canada, a Jewish advocacy group, says his organization has also witnessed an increase in racist, anti-Semitic and Islamophobic incidents across the country in recent years, which are often framed in xenophobic terms.
“We’re seeing a bit of a resurgence of anti-Semitism on the far right-wing, and this is normally the type of messaging you hear from promoters of such hatred,” he said. “This doesn’t seem to be an isolated incident.”
B’nai Brith puts out a yearly audit of anti-Semitic incidents, which Koren said shows a steady increase over the past five years.
“It does seem that neo-Nazis and white supremacists are feeling more emboldened now to come out publicly and promote their ideologies,” he said, adding the Internet has fueled this confidence.
“The Internet certainly enables people to be able to come out and express their views, whereas before it was always on the fringe … People are feeling that they’re able to say whatever they want.”
He adds that Medicine Hat Police Service charging an individual with willfully promoting hatred should serve as an example to other police forces across the nation.
“This person had a cache of weapons and ammunition,” he said. “God knows the type of potential tragedy that could have taken place had he not been apprehended.”
Loki Hulgaard, 35, faces 14 charges, including one count of inciting hatred.
In addition to the guns, ammunition and hate literature, police seized numerous computers and USB drives from his residence, which they’re in the process of examining to determine a connection, if any, with similar incidents across the city.
In July, posters were found at the Westminster United Church that read “Immigration = White Genocide.”
The church’s Rev. Jan Stevenson also expressed her gratitude to MHPS.
“I’m glad they found him. I hope they can help him and at least keep him from spreading hatred,” she said. “When you put that mindset together with weapons, it is not a pretty picture.”
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