UOIT receives funding to examine extremism

Dr. Barbara Perry talks about right-wing extremism in Canada and her research. Photo credit: Morgan Kelly

The University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) will receive nearly $367,000, over three years, in federal funding—for the examination of right-wing extremism in Canada.

The announcement was delivered Wednesday morning at Bordessa Hall in downtown Oshawa by Karen McCrimmon, Parliamentary Secretary to Ralph Goodale, the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness.

The money is from the Community Resilience Fund (CRF), led by the Canada Centre for Community Engagement and Prevention of Violence.

“This fund was created to enhance partnerships and promote research in innovative programming for countering radicalizations to violence in Canada,” says McCrimmon.

“It was also created to learn from good practices at the local level and then share those lessons among front-line practitioners across Canada,” she says.

This will build on the findings of a study concluded in 2015 co-authored by Dr. Barbara Perry, Professor, Faculty of Social Science and Humanities at UOIT.

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From left to right: Dr. Steven Murphy, UOIT President and Vice-Chancellor, Karen McCrimmon, Parliamentary Secretary, Dr. Barbara Perry, Professor, Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, Dr. Peter Stoett, Professor and Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities. Photo credit: Morgan Kelly

“This is an update on that 2015 report…the landscape has changed dramatically in the few years since we have completed that study,” says Perry.

“Left or right” police-reported hate crimes in Canada increased 47 percent in 2017 compared to 2016, says McCrimmon.

Perry says after they completed their 2015 report, they identified “just over 100 active right-wing groups” in Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia. Today, they believe it’s closer to 300 across Canada.

“All of this represents a threat to Canada and Canadians which demands and gets the attention of our public safety agencies,” says McCrimmon.

McCrimmon explains the right-wing extremism movement will be examined in “three key approaches”.

First, interviews with law enforcement, community stakeholders and former and current extremists.

Second, through reports from anti-racist organizations.

Finally, an innovative analysis of online content and media coverage, designed to inform local responses to hate speech and hate crime in partnership with the Institute of Strategic Dialogue in London, U.K.

“This is really important to us as a faculty and for our centre on hate bias and extremism but also really important to me personally,” says Perry.

Perry explains the new funding will not only help knowledge and understanding but build on strategies of how to bring people out of right-wing extremism.