Earlier this month Chris Melnick, a former NDP Cabinet Minister saw a large swastika drawn into the snow, along with the words "F--k Jews,"
in Winnipeg's St. Vital neighborhood when she was walking her dogs.
Melnick, who reported the incident to B'nai Brith Canada, told the Winnipeg Jewish Review that she was"extremely upset" on seeing the swastika and vulgar words
near the corner of Meadowood Drive and Ashworth Street, and "I wiped them away with my boots."
"The swastika and hateful slur were located not far from St Vital mall, a high traffic area," Melnick said. Melnick said her message to the unknown perpetrator/s was "I saw what you did. I am wiping it out. What you did was wrong."
She added,"I am not Jewish. You don't have to be Jewish to know this is wrong. This has no place in our vibrant and diverse neighborhood.?I am asking people who see hate in their community to have courage and say no to it - remove the hateful symbols, speak out and let their community know that you don't agree with it. Although these hateful actions are happening, we are seeing much stronger shows of love and support. People want a better world and are taking action to make sure their positive message is stronger than the negative ones.
Since Melnick did not have a cellphone at the time, so she could not take a photo of what she saw
Melnick said that about tenyears earlier she had seen another swastika nearby. ? About ten years ago in Brentford Park, which is just down the road, I saw a swastika that was drawn on the walkway.” She noted that over the last 20 years she'd seen about five swastikas in the St Vital area.
Melnick said that she was unable to attend a vigil against hate crimes that was held Sunday Feb 12 in Wolseley, since she had ?already made a commitment to be a telephone canvasser for JNF's Tu Bishvat Telethon which was taking place at the same time. The impetus for the vigil, which was attended by 70-80 people was an antisemitic incident that targeted a Wolseley interfaith couple on New Year's Eve, as well as hate crimes against Muslims, and other minorities . The Wolseley couple (consisting of a Jewish and non-Jewish spouse ) came home to find a rock with an anti-Semitic message written on it left near their front steps.The rock was inside a red gift bag tied with a red ribbon, and the words “Die Jew Bitch” written in red paint on one side, and a swastika the word "Einsatzgruppen" was painted on the other.The Einsatzgruppen were mobile Nazi death squads that killed Jews during the Holocaust. In response, the neighbors of this couple hung posters preaching tolerance with a Star of David in a heart .
According to B’nai Brith Canada, another similar swastika incident case took place in the Outremont community of Montreal. There swastikas were scrawled into the snow on the windshields of at least four cars.
A group of young residents countered the hate message by wiping away the swastikas and drawing hearts onto the windshields in their place.
"It was heartwarming to see members of the community organize to draw hearts on the snow-covered cars," said Harvey Levine, Quebec Regional Director of B'nai Brith Canada. "It was a wonderful gesture of solidarity against this type of antisemitism."
Amanda Hohmann, National Director of B'nai Brith's League for Human Rights, said "As much as I hate to say this, antisemitism has become commonplace in Canada. There’s been significant under reporting of antisemitism in the past several years, but that's changing now because discussion of racism against minorities has been trending in recent months.
Hohmann said that according to B'nai Brith's statistics antisemitism in Canada has been on a steady increase for a decade.”