Arthur Weinreb

Jews have no future in Ontario

Although many Canadians see their country as tending to a dictatorship under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, governments at all levels still hold elections. And Canadians are free to throw out and replace their elected representatives.

Federally, the next election must be called by October 2025. Trudeau is no friend of the Jews or Israel which was a relatively minor matter before October 7. For example he ran to a mosque when its windows were smashed in what was believed to be a hate-motivated crime. When similar acts have occurred at synagogues he remains silent unless and until someone in his office advises him to make a statement. Then he issues a statement on social media using wishy washy words like “unacceptable.” He has shown absolutely no compassion for what the Jewish Canadian community has been going through since October. When protesters take to the streets to praise Hamas to tell Jews to go back to Poland and to scream death to Zionists, Trudeau praises the mobs for being “peaceful.” A lot of the hate seen on Canada’s streets has been encouraged by the left with the PM playing a prominent role.

But for reasons having nothing to do with Israel-Gaza, the Liberals are tanking in the polls. If these polls hold the Liberals could suffer a historic defeat giving the Conservative Party of Canada a huge majority. Pierre Poilievre, the CPC leader, like many small “c” conservatives is pro-Israel and has spoken out against antisemitism unlike the other party leaders who simply mumble antisemitism is unacceptable. Poilievre’s Deputy Leader, Melissa Lantsman, is Jewish and has free reign to speak out on behalf of Canada’s Jewish community. A CPC government cannot be expected to end antisemitism or take things back to the way they were on October 6 but they can and will take action. A CPC government will not remain silent like the current government is in the face of increasing harassment and intimidation of Jews in Canada’s major cities. There is hope.

But as far as the government of the province of Ontario things will continue to worsen for Jews. Unlike the federal government no party in the Ontario Legislature is willing to do anything to fight the antisemitism and the pro-Hamas mobs that have taken over the streets. Even though the current government is allegedly “conservative” Premier Doug Ford is as silent if not more so that Trudeau.

The Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, although an elected MPP is independent of the government. Among other duties, the Speaker decides what is permissible or prohibited conduct in the legislature. Props, clothing or displays of any kind that can be construed as political are prohibited. A few days ago the Speaker, Ted Arnott, a member of the government party, ruled the wearing of a keffiyeh in the legislature was making a political statement and therefore prohibited. Arnott said he spent time studying the issue.

It was no surprise a large uproar ensued. Why it’s not political, it’s cultural. Never mind it was hardly worn by people prior to October 7. Never mind it is worn by the pro-Hamas mobs to intimidate Jews and others on the streets and in Jewish neighborhoods in Canada’s large cities. Never mind it is worn by politicians and others that have no connection to the culture of the keffiyeh. Both the leader of the Official Opposition, Marit Stiles, and the newly elected leader of the Ontario Liberal Party, Bonnie Crombie, got their knickers in a knot over the Speaker’s ruling.

Stiles introduced a motion to overturn the Speaker’s decision. The voice vote had to be unanimous to pass and there were some “nos” from members of the governing PC party. A few days later, Stiles introduced the same motion and obtained the same results.

But what was surprising, or perhaps not, was that Premier Doug Ford agreed with the other party leaders that the Speaker’s ruling should be overturned. Like the others, it’s cultural he moaned. Unlike the Speaker who studied the matter it is doubtful the high school dropout premier really thought about let alone studied it.  Ford, unlike the federal CPC party, has remained relatively quiet since the Jew-hate became prominent in his province. Like his BFFs in Ottawa, Justin Trudeau and Chrystia Freeland he makes the occasional “antisemitism is unacceptable” comment but like the federal government he really doesn’t care what happens to Jews.

His reaction to antisemitism really comes as no surprise. Years ago, Ford was asked about Jews and in the words of a true antisemite he announced he liked the Jews because he had Jewish doctor and a Jewish dentist and a Jewish lawyer and a Jewish accountant, etc. As if that wasn’t enough he added his wife Karla was Jewish. Something never spoken about before or after making it extremely doubtful even though she probably had a Jewish ancestor somewhere down the line. Karla, who usually remains in the background got into the act saying she was in fact Jewish although she never practiced “Judism” [sic].

Ford unfortunately bought the line of the pro-Hamas crowd that the wearing of a keffiyeh is a cultural thing, nothing else. Consistent with his thinking the fact it is worn to intimidate and harass Jews isn’t important. He is no different than all the provincial party leaders in Ontario.

All that really needs to be said about the NDP is the Official Opposition has always been regarded as a party composed of a lot of antisemites. As indicated earlier, leader Marit Stiles introduced a motion to overturn the Speaker’s ruling and when that failed she introduced it again and watched it fail again. People in Ontario, like elsewhere, are suffering from the effects of inflation making the cost of food unaffordable for many and forcing them to choose between heat and eat. Rents are unaffordable for many and mortgage rates resulted in some losing their homes. The province’s health care is in a mess with many not able to obtain a family doctor and with increasing wait times for necessary medical procedures. Yet Stiles seems obsessed with the keffiyeh. The good news is the Liberals will probably rebound and Stiles will never become premier and will unlikely to be opposition leader after the next election.

Bonnie Crombie, the newly-elected leader of the Ontario Liberal Party, like most Canadian politicians has remained relatively silent about post-October 7 antisemitism. Prior to winning the Liberal leadership she was mayor of Mississauga which has a huge Muslim population so there is no way she is going to deviate from the general position of the Trudeau Liberals. Except perhaps to be worse.

A by-election was called and will be held this week in Milton. The Liberal keffiyeh-wearing candidate Galen Naidoo Harris posted a video online, since deleted. In it Harris states supporting Israel is wrong and when (if) elected he will do everything he can to help the people of Gaza. In other words the hell with his constituents who have serious problems with matters in Ontario’s jurisdiction, helping Gazans including Hamas members and supporters is the most important issue in Ontario. The fact Harris, who only recently discovered the keffiyeh was part of his culture, is still a candidate tells you everything you need to know about Crombie. She obviously has no problem with his seeing Israel as the major problem in his Ontario riding.

Federally, barring major unforeseen circumstances, the CPC will form the next government and will not be oblivious to the mobs and the open displays of antisemitism. There is hope. But in Ontario there is no major political party to attempt to protect the province’s Jewish population. There is no hope things will get better.

“Democracy is the worst form of government – except for all the others that have been tried”

Winston Churchill

To paraphrase Sir Winston, “The PC party is the worst in Ontario except for all the others.”

The future of the province does not look promising for Ontario Jews.

About the Author
Arthur is a former columnist for Canada Free Press and its predecessor Toronto Free Press. He began writing for these publications in 1996 and was Associate Editor between 1999 and 2020.. In addition, he is the co-author of "The Criminal Lawyers' Guide to Immigration and Citizenship Law." (Canada Law Book, 1996). He has also written news for other Internet sites and my work has been linked to such news sites as the Drudge Report and Newsmax.
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