WARNING: Video below contains offensive material
It’s not something anyone hopes or expects to see while driving down the highway.
Earlier this week some GTA drivers were in for an unpleasant surprise when a vehicle covered in hateful messaging was making its way down the 401.
Where the vehicles journey started and ended is unclear but one witness posted video and images of the shocking graffiti to Instagram on Monday.
View this post on Instagram
Anne Marie Morrison was heading home to Ajax from Scarborough around noon when she spotted the vehicle travelling eastbound down the highway near Westney Road.
She says she noticed the black SUV was being towed and it had something scrawled on the back window in white writing. When she got close enough to see the words she was in disbelief.
“I saw the writing at the back and it didn’t register at the same time,” said Morrison. “It said ‘white power.'”
When her husband pulled up alongside the vehicle the couple noticed other slurs scrawled on the side of the vehicle that were directed toward racial groups and women.
“For a diverse country like Canada, we are for diversity and inclusion. It didn’t seem real to me.”
Morrison says she thinks the gall to vandalize property with hateful messages stems from the rise of divisive politics south of the border. She believes people are more empowered to show their true colours.
“It’s always been here but it’s never been so blatant,” she says. “It was all over the vehicle. That tells me the person must have had quite some time on their hands and felt so comfortable to do that to somebody else.”
According to Statistics Canada, the number of reported hate crimes in the GTA spiked in 2017 and have stayed high in years since compared to years prior.
The number hovered just over five per 100,000 in 2014, 2015 and 2016. It jumped to 9.2 per 100,000 in 2017 and remained over seven in 2018 and 2019.
Morrison came to Canada a little over six years ago and says what she saw on the highway this week makes her sad.
“This is not what we know of Canada,” she said.
Durham Regional Police could not provide any information on an incident connected with the vehicle. Toronto Police confirmed there hasn’t been a hate crime involving a vehicle reported in the city in the last seven days.