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Monday, September 22, 2014

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Winnipegger admits to antisemitic posters

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Mayor Sam Katz was the focus of $hitler’s List posters.

WINNIPEG — A failed candidate for Winnipeg city council has admitted to local media outlets that he was behind a series of posters titled “$hitler’s List,” which many have described as antisemitic.

In the posters, which first appeared in downtown Winnipeg just before Rosh Hashanah, the writer, Gordon Warren, was critical of Winnipeg’s Jewish mayor, Sam Katz.

The flyers also included a list of names of mostly Jewish businesspeople in Manitoba’s capital who either have business ties to Katz or are connected to the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, which is under construction here and was the brainchild of the late Jewish media mogul Israel Asper.

Warren ran for office unsuccessfully in the 2010 election. In an interview he gave at the time, he said he was running to “end waste and corruption at city hall.”

He criticized Katz and city council for “entrusting our water and sewage treatment to Veolia, a French-based multinational conglomerate with an abysmal health and safety record and a notorious reputation that includes bribery of public officials, illegal political contributions, kickbacks, price-fixing and fraudulent accounting.”

He added that he was committed to working against “ethically challenged people.”

When asked if there was anything he would like to change in the city, Warren responded that “if Mayor Katz has taught Winnipeggers anything, it is that private interests must be kept separate from public interests.”

He then referred to a number of city council decisions involving agreements with private companies.

“Whether it’s Sam’s dealings with Crocus, the MTS Centre cash giveaway to Mark Chipman, Sam’s [Winnipeg] Goldeyes [baseball team] parking arrangement, the Asper stadium-mall-Bomber deal, or the more crucial secret water/waste management contract with Veolia, [city council] can’t allow private, commercial interests to compromise Winnipeg’s public interests ever again.”

In his most recent e-mail to the news media, Warren said he put out the posters – a second batch appeared a couple of weeks after the first set were posted – because he felt he had no other choice, “as justice officials weren’t willing to investigate a controversial land swap deal involving a city fire hall, and local Jewish and Zionist media” weren’t accurately reporting what was going on.

“There was no one willing to do anything about it,” Warren said.

He compiled the names of Katz’s business associates using Google. He claims he didn’t realize most of the names on the list were Jewish until after the posters started appearing in public.

He also claims to have been shocked at the response to them. In a letter he sent anonymously a couple of months ago to Winnipeg’s Jewish Post and News, he denied being antisemitic.

“$hitler’s List” was supposed to be a take off on “Schindler’s List,” he wrote, referring to the Holocaust-themed book and Hollywood film of the same name.

Police announced last month that their investigation determined the posters broke no laws.

Katz was not available to comment on Warren’s statements, but in a September interview, he said that he was “extremely saddened and disheartened” by the posters, and he had “faith the people of Winnipeg will not support such malice.”

Warren, who is currently unemployed, conceded he was “pushing the envelope” with the posters and can understand why people might be offended by them.

He also said he’s upset the posters took attention away from the issues he was trying to highlight.

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