Why aren’t police doing more to stop antisemitic speech in Canada?

Montreal Imam Adil Charkaoui led prayers at a pro-Palestine rally on Oct. 28 which Jewish leaders and even Quebec's premier say exhorted the genocide of Jews in Israel. (Adil Charkaoui/X)

Police in Montreal are redeploying their squad cars in different locations this week in an effort to better protect the city’s Jewish community. The move comes a week after bullets were fired through the doors of two Jewish schools; Molotov cocktails were thrown at a synagogue and a Jewish office; and three people were injured in a fracas over the Israel-Hamas war at Concordia University. Despite all this, however, there have been no reports of anyone being charged in Montreal over antisemitism. Local Jewish community leaders point to the incitement actually starting on Oct. 28, after a high-profile Muslim clergyman exhorted a large crowd of pro-Palestinian protestors to “exterminate Zionist aggressors”.

Canada, of course, does have hate speech laws under the Criminal Code—but, historically, it’s been difficult to convict people with these provisions. And even when that does happen, the accused often appeal their sentences for years through the legal system. So how should Canadian police and provincial Crown prosecutors get control of people now targeting Canada’s Jewish community? Legal expert Mark Freiman thinks police could be doing a lot more, but hopes what the Calgary police department has done—charging someone for simply “disturbing the peace”—might just work for other law enforcement units across Canada.

Freiman joins The CJN Daily‘s host Ellin Bessner to discuss whether Canadian police could do more to act upon this recent wave of hate-filled acts.

What we talked about

  • How Calgary police charged two men with crimes related to hatred against Jews in connection with the Israel-Hamas conflict, in The CJN
  • Why Toronto’s police have quadrupled the size of their hate-crimes squad, in The CJN
  • A security expert opines on Canadian Jews’ safety on The CJN Daily


The CJN Daily is written and hosted by Ellin Bessner (@ebessner on Twitter). Zachary Kauffman is the producer. Michael Fraiman is the executive producer. Our theme music is by Dov Beck-Levine. Our title sponsor is Metropia. We’re a member of The CJN Podcast Network. To subscribe to this podcast, please watch this video. Donate to The CJN and receive a charitable tax receipt by clicking here.