More than 20 large swastikas and other hate messages lining a walkthrough pathway next to the De La Concorde train station in Laval were cleaned up last week (December 23, 2016) by Corey Fleischer of Provincial Powerwashing, who removes hate graffiti free of charge, in the latest string of antisemitic graffiti to hit the city north of Montreal.
Fleischer was notified of the swastikas after a Muslim resident of Rosemere, Ali Alias, posted footage of the hate messages on Facebook, tagging the city of Laval and various media outlets.
Alias, who regularly takes the train on the St Jerome line to attend University, noticed a line of swastikas in green and red near the corner of Ampere and Royan as he rode the train. “As a fellow citizen, and as a Muslim, I take this offence at heart, as it represents a lack of respect and a serious misconduct towards a specific religious and ethnocultural group,” wrote Alias. “These acts should not be tolerated, and should be reprimanded.”
“I hope that the city is already aware of this offence, and, if not, I would appreciate if you have a look into this matter,” he continued. “I hope you take this offence seriously because it represents a breach in safety and respect that our Jewish community is entitled to. With the hope that you will be able to address this issue in a timely and serious manner, especially in light of current trends of hate speech arising in many parts of our country.”
Responding to the post, The City of Laval said that the police had been notified of the hate graffiti and promised to follow up on the situation.
However, several days later the graffiti was still along the pathway. Corey Fleischer of Provincial Powerwashing arrived to remove the hate messages free of charge, and was shocked at its scope. “This may have been the largest job I’ve faced,” he said on a live video feed where he took down over 20 hate messages, most between three to six feet tall.
Ironically, some of the graffiti targeted Muslims, with the message “stop Islam” painted through a stencil in several locations. Another stenciled messages read “only the white matter.” Aside from swastikas, there was also an SS Nazi symbol.
The city of Laval has had several strings of swastika attacks. In July 2015 the Lachapelle bridge area was targeted with antisemitic graffiti on the same night that security footage captured a clear image of a vandal scrawling a large swastika on a Jewish business in Ville St Laurent. And last April over 30 large swastikas and antisemitic messages were discovered in and around Parc de Cluny. No suspects were found or arrested for past graffiti attacks, and in each instance Fleischer was the one who eventually took down the hate messages.
In an interview with CTV, Fleischer blasted the city of Laval for failing to act quickly and find those responsible for the hate messages. “This should have been acted upon by the city literally right away,” he said. “The city of Laval is absolutely abysmal when it comes to hate crimes of these sorts.”
Speaking to Zvi Hershcovich of the Bill613 Facebook blog, Fleischer called the latest graffiti “an attack against every minority, anyone who isn’t purely white.” He promised to “keep on erasing this filth.”