Ottawa, ON – August 22, 2022 – Last week, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) questioned and called for Canadian Heritage to review their funding of an Anti-Racism Action Plan project by the Community Media Advocacy Centre (CMAC), which employed Laith Marouf – an individual with a 20-plus-year history of making outrageous and hateful statements against Jews, Blacks, Quebecers, and others – to lead anti-racism training across the country.
Today, after in-depth consultation with CIJA, Canadian Heritage announced that they have cut funding to CMAC and demanded that CMAC conduct an internal investigation. Minister Hussen also confirmed to CIJA President and CEO Shimon Koffler Fogel earlier today that Canadian Heritage is committed to undertaking a comprehensive review of all procedures related to program funding and to establishing a new set of protocols that will ensure this situation is not repeated.
In response, CIJA’s President and CEO, Shimon Koffler Fogel, issued the following statement:
“We were disturbed that Canadian Heritage approved Anti-Racism Action Program funding to CMAC, an advocacy organization that employs an individual with a more-than-20-year history of making outrageous and hateful statements – against Jews, Blacks, Quebecers, and others. Anti-racism training is fundamental to eradicating hate. To be effective – and not counter-productive – education against racism, hate, and discrimination must be done properly. No organization that employs or gives a platform to individuals with a history of racist, misogynistic, anti-LGBTQ2+, or violent beliefs should receive funding from the Canadian government.
“Unfortunately, the situation with respect to CMAC funding is not unique. Canadian Heritage also provided funding to the Muslim Association of Canada (MAC), which featured speakers at their annual conference who had proselytized misogynistic, anti-LGBTQ2+, antisemitic, and often violent beliefs – ideologies we believe most Muslim Canadians reject.
"We are gratified that Minister Hussen has cut the funding for CMAC and suspended the program and look forward to results of the investigation into how the funds were allocated in the first place and how they plan to avoid such errors in future."
Jon Kay’s tweets alerting CIJA to Laith Marouf’s work with CMAC:
- According to the Government of Canada’s Proactive Disclosure, Canadian Heritage is providing $133,822 to CMAC for a project “Building an Anti-Racism Strategy for Canadian Broadcasting: Conversation & Convergence” in order to advance “the mandate of Canadian Heritage with a range of activities designed to help address barriers preventing full and equitable access/participation among racialized communities, religious minorities and Indigenous peoples to employment, justice and social participation.” The project is taking place September 2021 – March 2023.
Community Media Advocacy Centre (CMAC):
- According to its website, CMAC’s mission is to “disrupt settler colonialism and oppression in the media.”
- Under “Latest News,” CMAC states that it is “organizing a regional and national event series happening in 2022 called: “Building an Anti-Racism Strategy for Canadian Broadcasting: Conversation & Convergence” and links to a dedicated webpage for the project antiracism.media.
- According to the antiracism.media website, Laith Marouf spoke at the Montreal event on April 30, 2022; the Vancouver event on May 14, 2022; the Halifax event on June 11, 2022; and is scheduled to participate in the Calgary event on September 17, 2022; Winnipeg on September 29, 2022, and Ottawa on November 18-19, 2022.
- According to his Linkedin, Laith Marouf is “a long-time multimedia consultant and producer and currently serves as Senior Consultant at the Community Media Advocacy Centre (cmacentre.org).” He has served in this role for 7 years.
- Jonathan Kay’s tweet includes screenshots of Marouf tweets that condone violence against “Jewish White supremacists” and “Zionists.”
About the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs
The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) is the advocacy agent of Jewish Federations across Canada. CIJA is a national, non-partisan, non-profit organization whose mission is to preserve and protect Jewish life in Canada through advocacy and to advance the public policy interests of Canada’s organized Jewish community.
Stay In the Know!
Get all the latest information from our newsletter, "This Week in Canadian Jewish Advocacy."