This week was busy for all working in Jewish advocacy. CIJA fielded requests for comment from across Canada and around the world regarding the Parliament Hill debacle where a Ukrainian veteran who fought with the Nazis was invited by the Speaker and unwittingly welcomed by Members during President Zelensky’s visit. As Ontario begins its first year of mandated Holocaust education for sixth-grade students across the province, two CIJA staffers explore the necessity – and pitfalls – of Holocaust education. In Quebec, CIJA’s Community Impact Statement in court regarding the actions of a neo-Nazi informed the judge’s relatively severe sentencing decision. For more on this and on our upcoming Antisemitism: Face It, Fight It conference, read on.
The CIJA Team
The Speaker's apology and resignation demonstrates his acceptance of responsibility for the egregious error of inviting a Ukrainian veteran of the infamous 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the Nazi SS to Parliament. Resigning was the right thing to do.
We echoed the Globe and Mail editorial, that noted "Now it falls to Mr. Trudeau's government to deal with the fall-out. The first step in that process must be an apology from the Prime Minister...In the eyes of the world, this is Canada’s error, and a grievous one at that."
We appreciate the apology from Prime Minister Trudeau recognizing the egregious error of the Ukrainian veteran of the infamous 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the Nazi SS being acknowledged in Parliament.
The Jewish community reiterates and echoes the call for increased Holocaust education and to fighting rising antisemitism in Canada and globally.
As we've said, now would be an appropriate time to task Canada’s War Crimes Program to review and consider any new evidence that has come to light from the release of archival material that further implicates those who committed war time atrocities who are now living in Canada.
CIJA Vice President (GTA) Jaime Kirzner-Roberts on the pressing need for better Holocaust education and ensuring Canada does not harbour those who participated in genocide. Canadians must learn an important lesson and use this experience as a starting point to confront the dangers of Holocaust distortion and minimization.
The 2023/2024 school year marks the first year of mandating Holocaust education for all sixth-grade classes across Ontario. We join Ontario's Jewish community in applauding this remarkable and precedent-setting achievement for the province.
But the antisemitism that motivated the Holocaust did not end with the Holocaust. In this thoughtful opinion piece published in The Globe and Mail, Tia Sacks, CIJA research assistant and a Master of Journalism Student at The University of British Columbia, explains why, amid the rising levels of antisemitism, racism, and xenophobia that plague the globe, Holocaust Education should also include the lived experiences of modern-day Jews.
CIJA has, for some time, closely engaged in and monitored developments in the case of neo-Nazi Gabriel Sohier-Chaput. In July, at the request of the Crown, we provided a Community Impact Statement (CIS) to the court. Last week, a Quebec judge sentenced Sohier-Chaput to 15 months in prison – an unexpected and exemplary outcome. In delivering the sentence, the judge cited our CIS several times as part of his rationale for rejecting the initially proposed three-month sentence and imposing a more consequential penalty.
CIJA representatives, including Eta Yudin, Vice President (Quebec), attended the sentencing hearing after which she shared the Jewish community’s perspective with journalists, including our call for the Quebec government to train a cohort of prosecutors on antisemitism and hate. Our full statement is available here.
CIJA Vice President (Pacific Region) Nico Slobinsky and Tikva Housing Society Executive Director Anat Gogo address the severity of the housing crisis in British Columbia for racialized and ethnocultural communities and discuss how, by exempting non-profit housing providers and communities working on creating affordable housing from B.C.’s Property Transfer Tax, the province can assist those most in need.
If you have registered for Antisemitism: Face It, Fight It, we look forward to seeing you in less than three weeks! If you have not yet signed up, you should know that, in addition to our incredible line-up of 30+ experts, thought leaders, and influencers from across the globe, we will also hear from everyday Canadians turned community advocates and activists, who will share their stories of how they didn’t just face antisemitism but fought it. From students to CEOs, the panel will share their experiences that led to their becoming activists.
CIJA in the News
September 29-October 6 | Sukkot
October 6-7 | Shemini Atzeret
October 7-8 | Simchat Torah
October 16-17 | Antisemitism: Face It, Fight It
Stay In the Know!
Get all the latest information from our newsletter, "This Week in Canadian Jewish Advocacy."