Hate crime unit investigates anti-Semitic vandalism on courthouse

The Ottawa Police Department’s hate crime unit is investigating a slew of graffiti vandalism on the sides of Ottawa City Hall and the neighboring county courthouse.

Police say they were called to the Laurier Avenue West and Elgin Street area around 8:20 a.m. Monday, where someone had sprayed anti-Semitic graffiti.

More vandalism was found on Ottawa City Hall, including a reference to Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson calling him a “fraudster.” The mayor’s office is located in the building.

Workers remove graffiti from a building in Ottawa City Hall where the words “Jim Watson is a Fraud” were written. (Simon Lasalle/CBC)

Both the Jewish Federation of Ottawa and B’nai Brith Canada condemned the graffiti.

“The swastika is a symbol of the murder of millions of Jews and the terror of millions more,” Andrea Freedman, CEO of the Jewish Federation, wrote in a statement.

She said the symbols are being used as a tactic of intimidation against Jews and as a means of appropriating their trauma. “It has to stop,” she said.

B’nai Brith Canada said this incident is just one example of a disturbing rise in online hatred, and it called for a Holocaust memorial across the country “to combat Jew-hatred in education systems.”

VIEW | Police Unit for Hate Crimes Investigating Graffiti at Ottawa City Hall and Provincial Courthouse

Police Unit for Hate Crimes Investigating Graffiti at Ottawa City Hall and Provincial Courthouse

Ottawa Police say they are investigating the matter after anti-Semitic graffiti was found Monday morning on the side of the Elgin Street courthouse and on the sign. Graffiti that Mayor Jim Watson called a “fraud” was also found on Ottawa City Hall. 0:43

Police investigating similar incidents

This vandalism is just the latest in a string of recent incidents of hate speech targeting Jewish people in Ottawa.

Last week, police said they were investigating eight incidents of posters with hateful and anti-Semitic messages posted in public areas across the city, including a skate park on the west side.

Anyone with information about any of the incidents is asked to contact the Ottawa Police Hate Crime Unit at 613-236-1222, extension. 5015.

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