The Green Party of Canada has released a statement strongly condemning comments made by former candidate Monika Schaefer, who posted a video on YouTube last month denying the Holocaust ever happened.
The party’s executive director Emily McMillan refers in the press release to Schaefer’s remarks as “outrageous and shocking” and says, “Schaefer has no standing within the Green Party of Canada, and her views are exclusively her own.”
McMillan says the party will request that a motion be put forward at its next Federal Council meeting to terminate Schaefer’s membership.
The statement includes a comment from the federal Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, who said that she is shocked by Schaefer’s “terribly misguided and untrue statements” and reiterates, “Schaefer does not represent the values of the Green Party nor our membership.”
Born in Canada to German heritage and a resident of Jasper, Alta., Schaefer was the federal Green Party candidate for the Alberta riding of Yellowhead in 2006, 2008 and 2011.
She was rejected as a candidate for the riding prior to the 2015 federal election and as a candidate for the 2014 by-election in Fort McMurray-Athabasca.
The video she posted on June 17, entitled Sorry Mom, I was wrong about the Holocaust, features Schaefer standing against a leafy backdrop explaining her realization, in 2014, that the Holocaust is “the biggest and most pernicious and persistent lie in all of history.”
She describes being bullied as a child in Canada for her German heritage and confronting her parents to ask why they did nothing to stop Hitler and the death camps.
Schaefer says she now understands her mother’s claim not to have known about the events of the Holocaust, stressing, “it is because these things did not happen.”
She says there were detention camps where prisoners were kept against their will but that “these were work camps – the prisoners of the camps were being kept as healthy and as well-fed as was possible in those terrible war years.”
Schaefer also denies the fact there were gas chambers in the camps, saying that the only gas used was to “de-louse” the prisoners.
The video, which has over 36, 000 views on YouTube, led Jasper resident Ken Kuzminski, who is president of the municipality’s local Legion, to file a complaint against Schaefer with the Alberta and Canadian Human Rights Commission.
He cited Schaefer’s denial of the Holocaust as hate speech.
The Green Party’s policy for termination of a member states a member may be expelled by a resolution of Federal Council or a General Meeting of members. The Party will request a motion be put forward to terminate Schaefer’s membership at its next Federal Council meeting.
Paul Estrin, former president of the Green Party, reacted on his Facebook page, saying: “For those who are congratulating the GPC for sending out a media release, I understand your desire to believe that this has been dealt with, and I wish I could join you, but the fight is far from over.”
Estrin, who is Jewish, has stated that he was pressured into resigning as president in 2014 after he expressed pro-Israel sentiments in a blog post.
In a statement, B’nai Brith said it regards Schaefer’s impending expulsion as a positive first step in repairing the Green Party’s troubled relationship with the Canadian Jewish community.