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Does the Government of Canada need an “Envoy” to combat antisemitism in our country?

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If Irwin Cotler proposes actions that conflict with the Liberal government’s ”diversity and inclusion” agenda, what influence will the Envoy have on federal policy and programming? (photo: Genevasummit.org)

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Preliminary submission

The appointment of the Envoy and of Irwin Cotler raises a lot of questions.

In Canada, antisemitism whether expressed by hate crimes and other acts of hatred and intolerance has been progressively on the rise.

According to existing statistical data, the Canadian Jewish community has the regrettable distinction of being the one community, among all minority communities, which is most victimised both in absolute numbers and rates.

The way things have been going, Canada needs a full time envoy to address antisemitism. At all events, on the grounds set out below, it is too early to laud and applaud the appointment until we see genuine proof of the effectiveness of the position in fighting antisemitism in Canada.

Indeed, these grounds suggest that there is really nothing to laud and applaud. (See Part 1)

The Envoy’s domestic mandate to fight antisemitism

In announcing the creation of the position of Envoy and the appointment of Irwin Cotler to it, Trudeau stated that the Envoy would take ‘“meaningful action” to combat anti-Semitism at home…”

By way of preliminary observation, whatever the phrase “meaningful action” means, I think that having regard to the steady rise of antisemitic hate crimes and related incidents of hate and intolerance well ahead of the those against the Black and the Muslim populations sources, if an Envoy there must be, Canada needs a full-time one just to fight antisemitism in Canada.

I am puzzled by both the title and the nature of the assignment.

First, does the Government of Canada need an Envoy to combat antisemitism in Canada?

Surely, ultimately the responsibility to fight antisemitism rests first and foremost with the Government of Canada, provincial governments, who have both the constitutional authority to take the legislative and related measures to combat it and the financial resources to do that. 

Second, since the position is not a statutory one with defined independent powers and authority to carry out the mandate, precisely what are the nature and the scope of “meaningful action”?

Third, the question is in part answered by the second limb of the mandate which is a puzzling one. More specifically, the Envoy is required to “work with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth and other implicated ministers to inform Government of Canada policy and programming.

The second limb tells the story I dreaded, namely:

  • The curious absence of the Minister of Justice among the specifically named Ministers;
  • The Minister of Diversity and Inclusion which is essentially a department that promotes Trudeau’s identity politics.
  • To put it bluntly, if the proposed action and recommendation to fight antisemitism, even remotely, rubs the wrong way Trudeau’s notion of ”diversity and inclusion”, and identity politics, you can forget about the Envoy informing the Government policy and programming.

Curiously enough the mandate as a whole and the second limb in particular omits any reference to the Envoy’s role and function in relation to the provincial governments – whose jurisdiction over a large number of matters where antisemitism is a serious issue makes them an essential partner in the fight against antisemitism.

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At all events, I very much doubt that this appointment will induce the Trudeau government to adopt the following measures for starters:

1. Depoliticise the prosecution of hate crimes by removing the requirement for the Attorneys General to consent to their prosecution.

a. In the alternative, impose upon them the legal duty to publish in writing, the specific reasons for withholding consent

b. Further, and at all events, impose upon them the legal duty to publish their guidelines to the police departments and/or to the provincial prosecutors of the criteria to be used in determining whether or not they should pursue every case at hand at hand and bother to submit them for their consent.

2. Revisit and amend sections 318, 319 and 320 of the Criminal Code to remove the unwarranted loopholes that make it unnecessarily difficult to secure convictions and strengthen their deterrence dimension.

3. Where the provinces will not, the federal government assume the prosecution of

a. Clergy, who preach, teach and incite hatred against Jews and others 

b. Academics who spew antisemitism or other kinds of hate within and without classrooms and in the alternative, progressively cut the federal funding to universities and other educational institutions that are indifferent to antisemitism and for that matter to any other type of hatred and intolerance on their campus and are unwilling to take the necessary and effective measures to deal with the problem.

Where, on being put on notice to do attend and resolve these problems where one such institution fails to do so, the federal government should progressively cut whatever funding to which the institution would be otherwise entitled to receive.

4. Investigate the foreign funding of schools, universities and any other kind of institutions that propagate values, thinking and practices that are contrary to the fundamental values, rights and freedoms cherished by Canadians, and /or teach customs and behavioral codes forbidden by law including antisemitism. Where proper grounds are established, the government must prohibit such funding.

5. Forbid the entrance and establishment in Canada of any organisation that is antisemitic and/or has already been declared to be a terrorist one by countries the organisation previously operated.

6. Penalise and where necessary ban social media that disseminates antisemitism or for that matter propagates hate and intolerance against any community or individuals

7. Apply rigorously vigorously and consistently the IHRA definition of antisemitism in all matters throughout its operations.

And this is just for starters.

Until the Trudeau government engages and addresses the foregoing problems in a forthright manner with respect to the foregoing issues, the appointment of the Envoy is just another insidious cynical political ploy.

Doğan D. Akman is an independent researcher and commentator. He holds a B.Sc. in sociology, an M.A. in sociology/criminology and an LL.B in law. He held academic appointments in sociology, criminology and social policy; served as a Judge of the Provincial Court of Newfoundland and Labrador, and occupied the positions of Crown Counsel in criminal prosecutions and in civil litigation at the Federal Department of Justice. His academic work is published in peer-reviewed professional journals, while his opinion pieces and other writings are to be found in various publications and in blogs.  

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Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

We thank you for your ongoing support.

Happy reading!

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