Kitchener-Waterloo

Anti-Semitic posters in downtown Kitchener prompt police investigation

A series of anti-Semitic posters promoting neo-Nazism recently appeared in downtown Kitchener, prompting a police investigation and strong condemnation from local politicians. 

Posters are part of a pattern of racist incidents in the region, MPP says

Anti-Semitic posters such as this one, found on Weber Street near Young Street, have been popping up around downtown Kitchener. (Paula Duhatschek / CBC)

A series of anti-Semitic posters promoting neo-Nazism recently appeared in downtown Kitchener, prompting a police investigation and strong condemnation from local politicians. 

"It's very disturbing, and it's quite despicable, and it's certainly nothing that we welcome here in this community," said regional councillor Tom Galloway.

"It's hate speech, and it's against the law."

The posters advertise a website with Nazi imagery and messaging as well as a private forum. The website also contains racist messaging, including calling for the removal of voting rights from people of colour. 

On Monday, Waterloo Regional Police Service said they were investigating the posters. They encourage anyone who has information about who may have put up the posters to get in touch with officers. 

The Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies, based in Toronto, tracks hate groups in Canada. 

Jaime Kirzner-Roberts is the director of their anti-Semitism campaign and says that while this particular group appears new, their ideology is identical to others.

"You don't have to read between the lines to see that their whole platform is one of horror," she said.

'We see the pattern'

The posters add to other concerning incidents that have been happening across the region recently, according to Waterloo Region Council Chair Karen Redman.

In June, people living in two buildings owned by Wilfrid Laurier University received flyers in the mail that referred to "negative consequences" of interracial relationships.

Redman said those flyers were delivered to people in Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge.

"It strikes me that when you do things secretively, and you do them under cover of darkness or under the cloak of anonymity, they have to realize on some level that this is wrong," Redman said. 

"Their [secretive] actions would acknowledge that the vast majority of our community do not share those beliefs." 

Recognizing that there is a pattern to these incidents is essential, says Kitchener Centre MPP Laura Mae Lindo. 

"If we look at each one of those instances as isolated, then we fall down the rabbit hole of, 'Oh, it's just bad apples,' as opposed to a whole system," she said.

"I can tell you that we see the pattern, and it would be really, really nice if other people in positions of influence recognized that pattern."

CBC News attempted to reach the web site owners but have not received a response.

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