I have been made aware of the reprehensible acts of vandalism and hatred perpetrated by an as yet unknown person or persons and discovered over the weekend at the Richmond Hill Golf & Country Club. The swastika is best known as a Nazi symbol and, in an area such as Richmond Hill/Thornhill, can only be viewed as an anti-Semitic statement. Carving such symbols into the grass at a local golf facility frequented by Jewish players is, sadly, proof that racism remains an unacceptable yet real part of our daily life…even in multicultural Thornhill and the GTA.
Ontario is home to hundreds of different cultures and ethnicities and that is one of the characteristics we celebrate about Ontario being the great place to live and work that it is. Thornhill is home to the largest Jewish population in Canada and acts like this remind us of the intolerance and hatred of bygone days, times we like to believe are simply unfortunate historic aberrations. Sadly, we still come face to face with hatred like this today through the ignorance and willful expression of it by people who we can only label as relics of a tragic past.
There is no place in York Region, in Ontario, or in Canada for such actions.
Two years ago I stood side by side in the Ontario Legislature with Members of Provincial Parliament of all political parties condemning language that incites hatred through my Resolution condemning the term ‘Israel Apartheid Week’ as used largely on university campuses each spring. It was a bold step in the right direction by the Legislature demonstrating that Ontario will not tolerate intimidation towards Jews or, indeed, towards any group, nor hatred of any kind.
I will continue to press even harder for tough sanctions when dealing with issues of hatred and racism. Canada is the ultimate mosaic…the envy of many nations in the world for our work at tolerance and full integration. We are at the pinnacle of growth, cultural diversity and nation building. Actions such as those in Richmond Hill only demean that work and the legacy of the thousands of new and born Canadians alike who have laid the foundation.
As MPP for Thornhill and as a target of anti-Semitism myself, I urge the York Region Police to be unrelenting and vigilant in seeking out the perpetrator of this heinous act and to treat this incident for what it is, a hate crime.