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Canadian elites are calling on the political leaders to increase funding to academic and civil society groups to “confront hate” and bridge the divide between Canadians.

In an open letter published Tuesday in the Globe and Mail, the signatories call their message a “clarion call for our collective future.” The letter advocates for further funding and partnerships with academic and civil society to “research the causes, scale and impact of issue-driven tensions and conflict in Canada.”

The letter calls on political leaders to “address the rise of incivility, public aggression, and overt hatred undermining the peace and security of Canadian life.”

Among the over 50 signatories of the letter are former Toronto mayor John Tory; Bernie Farber, the former chair of the Canadian Anti-Hate Network; former Quebec premier Jean Charest; and former federal finance minister Bill Morneau.

“Canadians appear increasingly unwilling, unable or ill-equipped to talk to or live peaceably alongside those with divergent views of complex and divisive issues, including, as in the current instance, those with significant geopolitical overtones and implications,” the letter says.

The open letter attributes the divide to a growing number of Canadians who no longer consider working alongside those with opposing views to be a Canadian value.

When reached by True North, former Toronto mayor and Liberal Art Eggleton said he would only do an interview about why he signed the letter after reviewing True North’s content. He later declined to speak.

“I have also checked out the (True North) website. I have nothing to add to what I said in the Globe and Mail,” he wrote. “It has the best expression of my views.”

The letter highlights an increasing divide among Canadians and references violence committed in Canada in the wake of tensions surrounding Israel’s war with Hamas.

Despite claiming to defend every Canadian’s right to hold strong and unpopular views, the signatories advocate for a review of current hate speech laws and their sufficiency as well as a more consistent enforcement of harassment and intimidation laws.

The federal government has tabled legislation that would reinstate a previously-repealed provision of the federal human rights code banning what the government views as online hate speech.

The letter called for further funding towards developing school curricula to foster “greater intercultural competency, increase community-level empathy and encourage a commitment to bridging differences at home and abroad.”

They call on the government to “jointly support national and local initiatives to confront hate and reaffirm the commitment of Canadians to mutual respect and peaceful engagement.”

The signatories ask politicians to commit to reaffirming the value of working together any chance they can.

None of the signatories contacted by True North responded by the time of publication.