‘Despicable’: Man Who Wrote Hateful Graffiti on Vancouver’s Chinese Cultural Center Sentenced

At the time of the offense, the VPD had seen a 717% increase in crimes with an element of hatred, prejudice and prejudice.

A man who has pleaded guilty to mischief related to hate graffiti at the Chinese Cultural Center in Vancouver will spend an additional 79 days in jail on top of his sentence.

Yves Castonguay has been charged with two offenses – one for public incitement to hatred and one charge of mischief to property used for religious purposes, according to the Vancouver Police Department.

Castonguay, 47, pleaded guilty to mischief on October 12. The second charge was stayed.

“He disfigured the Chinese Cultural Center with his racist diatribe and this conduct was motivated by prejudice (…) and hatred towards people of Chinese ethnic origin and descent,” said the court judge. Vancouver Provincial, Harbans Dhillon, denouncing the behavior as “contemptible and hateful.” “

“The words he said were morally wrong and should shock the conscience of the community.

She said Castonguay suggested that violence be used against people because of their perceived ethnicity.

“His post was meant to be seen by the public,” the judge said.

The charges came after the vandalism of the Chinese Cultural Center in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside on April 2, 2020.

Crown attorney Mark Crisp told Dhillon that Castonguay went to the center with a permanent marker.

As Crisp recited the words Castonguay wrote, Dhillon stopped him at one point and said she did not want a specific anti-Chinese racial epithet used in court.

“Can I ask you to use ‘the c word?’ I’m not going to repeat that word, ”she said.

In a victim impact statement, center director Bill Kwok said Castonguay’s words touched the hearts of Vancouver’s Chinese community. He said the words reminded him of how “racism is alive and well in Vancouver”. He also shared his personal experiences of racism as a youth in Winnipeg.

“I had to fight because I was the wrong color of skin and my eyes were slanted,” Kwok said. “All the feelings of an unwelcome citizen returned when I read your post.”

Kwok said he hoped it was a joke. The emotional scars of Castonguay’s words “will last a lifetime,” he added.

Castonguay, meanwhile, did not appear surprised at his arrest. The crown attorney said he asked the police, “Is this about the graffiti? “

Castonguay wrote a letter of apology to the court and blamed what he heard in the community and in the media for his behavior.

Addressing the court, Castonguay said, “I am not a hateful person. I don’t hate Asians.

“I was letting off steam,” he said. “If I could take it all back, I would. “

The judge responded by saying that it “was not a spontaneous explosion”.

“He targeted a revered community institution at the heart of the historic Chinese community,” the judge said, noting that he did so at a time when the Chinese community was under attack at the start of the pandemic.

At the time of the offense, the Vancouver Police Department had seen a 717% increase in crimes involving an element of hate, prejudice and prejudice, with people of East Asian descent being the primary targets.

The crown attorney said fear created by Castonguay’s remarks led to the closure of the center, whose doors remain locked.

Castonguay was banned from the outskirts of the center.

“The Chinese community and visitors should feel safe and reclaim this space,” the judge said.

The Crown told the court that Castonguay’s criminal record includes 148 convictions, including more than 50 property crimes and 24 violent crimes.

The 79 days are in addition to the 161 days spent in pre-trial detention, for which he gets a credit of 161 days. Castonguay was also sentenced to three years of probation.

jhainsworth@glaciermedia.ca

twitter.com/jhainswo

James C. Tibbs