Vancouver Granville Green candidate wants to know why street preacher wasn't charged with hate crime

Imtiaz Popat says there needs to be a far stronger focus on antihate laws in this campaign

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      A Christian evangelical activist has pleaded guilty to one count of assault causing bodily harm in connection with a widely reported incident in Vancouver's West End.

      Now, the Green candidate in Vancouver Granville, Imtiaz Popat, wants to know why the assailant, Dorre Shepherd Love, wasn't charged with a hate crime

      On August 22, 2020, Love attacked Justin Morissette after Morissette objected to antigay tirades being issued through a loudspeaker near the corner of Burnaby and Thurlow streets.

      According to a lawsuit filed by Morissette, he asked Love to reduce the volume. When Love allegedly refused to do so, Morissette decided to do this himself.

      Morissette alleged that he suffered a broken leg after being shoved to the ground. And Love received a 12-month conditional discharge in court.

      Popat, a queer and antiracist activist, pointed to this incident to call for stronger antihate laws in Canada.

      "Why isn't the rise of hate crimes being raised in this election," Popat said in a statement. "Love has been charged with assault but not for promoting hate because our antihate laws are too weak."

      Popat accuse NDP of climate inaction

      Meanwhile, on September 16, Popat issued a statement following calls for him to step down to make it easier for NDP climate activist Anjali Appadurai to compete against Liberal Taleeb Noormohamed and Conservative Kailin Che in Vancouver Granville.

      "My response was that I would only consider supporting her [candidacy] if Jagmeet Singh commits to making proportional representation a condition of supporting a minority or coalition government," Popat declared.

      Popat noted that Singh refused to do this in the previous Parliament and has not made that commitment in this campaign. 

      "In fact, he failed to demand to scrap the TMX pipeline as a condition of supporting the Trudeau government," Popat added.

      The Green candidate also accused the NDP of "parachuting star climate activists in ridings where Greens have done well in an attempt to steal Green votes".

      "Ironically, the NDP have often accused the Greens of stealing their votes," Popat stated.

      He then went on to rip the NDP's climate plan, pointing out that it received the lowest score in an evaluation by SFU resource economist Mark Jaccard.

      "The NDP does not oppose the Coastal Gaslink LNG pipeline on traditional Wet'suwet'en lands and won't oppose fracking, which will have a significant impact on climate change and endanger the ecology," Popat said. "The NDP has not taken a position on  the recent call by the Lheidli T'enneh Nation to remove the Enbridge pipeline from their land.

      "The Green Climate Emergency plan promises to cut greenhouse [gas emissions by] 60 percent [and] eliminate all fossil-fuel pipelines and ban fracking," Popat continued. "So if the NDP wants to be Green, then they have to be able to do all that. If Jagmeet Singh agrees to do all that and ban fracking, I would gladly support Anjali Appadurai in this election. I also point out that I have not been given the opportunity or fairness to present my position."