Hate crime experts in Canada say the recent conviction of a 22-year-old white supremacist in Halifax should send a wake-up call to Nova Scotians.
Donna Marie Upson is a card-carrying member of the Ku Klux Klan and Aryan Nations. She has been convicted of threatening to destroy church property and threatening to hurt or kill a black Dartmouth pastor and other members of his race.
Experts in hate crimes, including Winnipeg University professor Helmut-Harry Loewen, say they are surprised by the boldness of Upson's actions.
"She seems to have acted on her own, and yet she's tied in with a broader network, with a broader web of hate," Loewen said. "So I think people in Nova Scotia should be very concerned about this. This incident is a wake-up call."
Upson marched into a Dartmouth church twice to try to persuade the pastor that black people are cursed in the Bible. She told him they're not welcome in church and they'd be sorry if they continued to meet there.
The national director of the League for Human Rights of B'Nai Brith Canada, Karen Mock, testified as an expert witness in Upson's sentencing hearing last month and says Upson is typical of the hate movement.
"This particular case very much fits the pattern of sending out people to recruit other young people to the cause," Mock said. "In the mid-90s, the Heritage Front openly announced that they would be recruiting in Halifax and the surrounding area."
Mock says Nova Scotians shouldn't be too alarmed. But she says they should be vigilant and keep an eye on what their children are getting involved in.
Upson will be back in court Wednesday to be sentenced.