The piece notes the irony of the left’s current appetite for such data given its role in halting its collection over two decades ago. However, it argues that, currently, the costs outweigh the benefits of not collecting such data: “…We’re left with a dearth of knowledge. And now some of the very people who most passionately demanded the abandonment of race statistics decades ago — because of the clear harm caused — are advocating for that information to be collected and accessible.”
The limitations, the author argues, imply that “we don’t trust facts.” “More crucially, we don’t trust how facts can be manipulated. Or we don’t trust the potential for what’s known in court as an adverse inference — the reason why judges often kick out evidence deemed highly prejudicial with little probative value,” it continues.
The article chronicles events that took place twenty-six years ago in Toronto’s 31 Division, a region of the city demarcated by police for the purpose of allocation of law enforcement assets. The area had a reputation then as it does now for being higher in crime than most of the rest of the city. The area is known as Jane and Finch.
In 1989, Julian Fantino, then police head of the division, told the Committee on Community, Race, and Ethnic Relations of the former city of North York (which was amalgamated with five other municipalities and Toronto in 1998) that black people were largely overrepresented in in the commission of crime. While composing only 6% of the population of the area at the time, black people accounted for 82% of robberies and muggings, 55% of purse-snatchings, and 51% of drug offenses in the previous year, according to Fantino’s statistics. After black activist groups and social agencies condemned Fantino for exacerbating what they viewed as existing prejudices against black people, the municipality banned the compilation of racial crime statistics. Fantino stood by his decision to release the racial data, regretting only that he was unaware of a Toronto Star reporter’s attendance at the committee.
Fast forward to 2015. The Toronto Star, along with other media allies, is doing its part to hype the #BlackLivesMatter movement and narrative which has leaked into Canada via political osmosis. While racial agitation is not new to Canada, it is certainly enjoying a resurgence in recent years. In order to best frame Canada as a bastion of white supremacy, cesspool of systemic discrimination, and purveyor of white privilege, the left wants cold hard data to misinterpret. Unfortunately, its hysteria many years ago aborted a process they now wish to exploit.
A 2012 study published by the Canadian Journal on Law and Society stated that law agencies across Canada routinely suppress racial data when delivering annual crime reports to Ottawa. The study’s abstract states that Canada “effectively bans systematic collection and dissemination of racially disaggregated criminal justice statistics.” Statistics Canada does not collect data on the race or ethnicity of persons arrested or convicted. Explanations as to why such data is not collected include fears on behalf of departments and agencies of being perceived or framed as racist.
To the credit of the author, she does disagree with the positions taken by her journalistic counterparts of the past to purge information in the interests of political correctness. She also that “information is power” and that “all details are pertinent.” She is right.