Globe and Mail

Prince George has hate crimes, Fry says

Canadian Press
The Globe and Mail
Thursday, March 22, 2001

OTTAWA -- Hedy Fry, Liberal MP in charge of multiculturalism, told the Commons yesterday that people in Prince George, B.C., are burning crosses on lawns "as we speak."

Ms. Fry said later that she had been speaking of an earlier hate incident, not necessarily a cross-burning, of which Prince George Mayor Colin Kinsley had told her.

Ms. Fry, who was asked about celebrating the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination yesterday, said Canadians have their share of racist incidents.

"We can just go to British Columbia in Prince George, where crosses are being burned on lawns as we speak," she said in the House.

RCMP Superintendent Steve Leach said there have been no reports of crosses burned in Prince George, which is about 500 kilometres north of Vancouver.

"We've only had two files since the beginning of 2000 that have racial overtones," he said.

In the Commons later in the day, Ms. Fry didn't back down from her contention of racism.

"In British Columbia, there have been incidents of hate crimes, including cross-burnings. I know of this, Mr. Speaker, because I was contacted immediately when these incidents occurred, by the mayor of Prince George.

"I have funded the mayor, who set up a task force right away."

The chairman of the Prince George task force said he can't understand why Ms. Fry would say such a thing.

Copyright 2001 Globe Interactive, a division of Bell Globemedia Publishing Inc.