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New signs along waterway aimed at preventing racially motivated attacks, harassment of anglers

Posted By SARAH DEETH Examiner Police Writer

City police, Parks Canada and Crime Stoppers are teaming up to put a stop to a problem before it starts.

Representatives from the three groups unveiled new signage, aimed at preventing racially movitated attacks on anglers, at the Peterborough Lift Lock yesterday, along with Mike Ma, from the Community Race Relations Committee.



The sign reads “Fishing without Fear” in English, French and Chinese, and has the number for Crime Stoppers at the bottom. There are 11 signs in total.

Eight of the signs will eventually be posted along the Trent-Severn Waterway between Lock 19 at Lansdowne St. and Lock 26 in Lakefield, said Jack Alexander, director of operations for the waterway, and the three others will be posted at popular fishing spots such as the Little Lake marina and the Lakefield marina.

Alexander said police approached him and asked if he would be involved in the project.

“I said ‘absolutely, I’d love to participate.’”

Alexander said he wasn’t aware of any racially-motivated attacks against anglers on the Trent-Severn Waterway, but the signs are meant to be proactive.

The project began in April, and was led by city police Sgt. Dan MacLean.

MacLean said police were well aware of the report by the Ontario Human Rights Commission, detailing attacks on Asian-Canadian anglers.

The force looked at what it could do, he said, and decided to take this approach.

Each sign costs about $35, he said. Though fishing season is almost over, there will be people who skate along the canal this winter who will see the signs.

Crime Stoppers is featured on the signs as a way of encouraging witnesses, or even possible victims, to come forward, MacLean said.

“Some victims of this are embarrassed about being racially discriminated against,” MacLean said.

Ma said the idea of posting signs emerged as early as 2007, when racially motivated attacks against Asian-Canadian anglers became a problem in the Lake Simcoe and Kawartha Lakes area.

There was a lot of discussion about what would be appropriate, he said, and whether the signs would be directed at victims or attackers.

The idea got lost in the shuffle, he said, and fell on the back burner as the city and county grappled with other issues.

“You really have to applaud the police service for this,” Ma said.

The words on the signs, “Fishing without fear,” are taken from the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s report, issued in April, on harassment and attacks against Asian-Canadian anglers in central and eastern Ontario, he said.

Click here to view the article on the Peterborough Examiner website