Toronto is the embodiment of “Canadian” multiculturalism spread by the Trudeaus from father to son. The majority of Torontonians identify themselves as belonging to visible minorities while elsewhere in Canada this is the case for 22% of Canadians. More people have Chinese (Mandarin and Cantonese), Tagalog, Tamil and Jamaican Creole as their mother tongue than French: the Montreal of tomorrow.
Good understanding should reign there among the different races, cultures and religions living an exemplary Canadian harmony with scrupulous respect for their diversity. So let’s see the reality.
Racial segregation in Toronto de facto compares to that of major American cities. Visible minorities are clustered in poor neighborhoods while the white minority dominates wealthy neighborhoods. I return to Toronto apartheid below.
Gun violence is a growing endemic problem in Canada’s largest city. In 2018, Toronto’s homicide rate surpassed New York’s.
Last year was the worst, with the most shootings ever in Toronto. In 2019, more than 760 Torontonians were hit by firearm projectiles, triple the number of gunshot victims in the city in 2014. As of October 19, 2020, police statistics showed there had been 409 shootings since the start of the year. Last year, the city saw a record 492 shootings.
Urban ghettos where racialized people are conglomerated are characterized by poverty, drugs and crime. Young men, members of street gangs, often enter into armed conflict over income from illegal activities. Resigned Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders estimates that there are more than 100 criminal gangs in his city.
Recently a gang war caused the death of a 12 year old boy. The dispute in which three other people were also shot appears to be linked to the murder of Jamaican rapper Jahvante Smart, 21, aka Smoke Dawg from Regent Park. It is a poor neighborhood inhabited by visible minorities, refugees, immigrants and aboriginals. It experiences a high rate of violence, crime and drug addiction. So far in 2020, the neighborhood has been the scene of 82 shootings.
In connection with Smart’s murder, Toronto police have issued a Wanted Notice against fellow rapper Rowen Atkins aka Rolexx Homi. He is criticized for having instigated his Instagram followers to shoot any residents of Regent Park they come across, an area controlled by an opposing gang. His “gangsta rap” video was titled AvengersK or Avengers Killers (avenging killers).
At least five Toronto rappers were shot dead between December 2019 and May 2020. Could this be the result of prohibited cultural appropriations between rival gangs? “Gangsta rap” is a hip-hop musical genre, whose themes are drugs, hatred of the police, prostitution and money. It is sung that the royal road to wealth and notoriety passes through drug trafficking, pimping and sponsored murders.
Toronto is a racially stratified city. The Pr David Hulchanski of the University of Toronto and his team have shown in a study the discriminatory character of the growing income inequality in the city based on racial origin. Using the 2016 census, he and his team calculated that 48% of Toronto’s census tracts are in low-income neighborhoods. 68% and more of the residents of these neighborhoods belong to visible minorities.
At least 73% of the residents of wealthy neighborhoods are white, although they now constitute less than half of the city’s population. Only 3% of residents in high-income neighborhoods are black. Over 200,000 people in Toronto identify as Black, including over 150,000 Jamaicans.
This is the portrait of the city that the media and the lesson-givers of English Canada would like Montreal to emulate.