Some 10 months ago, a group of some 125 legislators from nearly 40 countries met in London for the inaugural conference of the Inter-parliamentary Committee for Combating Antisemitism. Eleven Canadian Members of Parliament attended that conference. Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney and Liberal MP Irwin Cotler were instrumental in forging Canadian participation in London.
After the delegation returned to Canada, it was sufficiently motivated by the presentations they heard in London and by the urgency of the need to deal with resurgent anti-Semitism, to form the very next month, in March, the Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Antisemitism (CPCCA).
CPCCA comprises 22 parliamentarians from all parties in the House of Commons. The coalition has two committees: an inquiry panel, chaired by Liberal MP Mario Silva and a steering committee chaired by Conservative MP Scott Reid. As its website explains, the group exists “for the stated purpose of confronting and combating antisemitism in Canada today.” The coalition zealously guards its independence and explicitly states that it is “not affiliated with the government of Canada, any NGO, or any advocacy group.”
The coalition began its work on June 2 with a call for written submissions. In response it received nearly 200. Four months later, on Nov. 2, it began public hearings with a plan to complete them after eight sessions. Last week, three more days of witness sessions were scheduled in the new year in order to hear from Canadian university presidents and law enforcement officials. (Please see the related story on page 3.) The committee has promised to submit a report to the government of Canada on its findings.
In his column last week, Prof. Gil Troy, wrote about the work of the CPCCA. (Troy also testified before the coalition last week.)
He expressed the hope that the hearings will help Canadians “understand the historical pathology of anti-Semitism” as well as learn from its “modern mutation,” anti-Zionism.
The coalition has marshalled the prestige and the resources of a non-partisan, all-party committee to oppose the bias and the bigotry that attempts to pass – fraudulently – as mere criticism of the Jewish state but which in truth transfers age-old calumny and hatred of the individual Jew to the state of the Jews.
The coalition began its work by pronouncing that “Anti-Semitism by its nature is fundamentally opposed to the multicultural identity of Canada and to the Canadian values of human rights and human dignity.”
The work of CPCCA, therefore, not only aims to root out anti-Semitism from within our midst. It strives also to protect the integrity of Canadian society.
“Canada deserves praise for launching these important hearings,” Troy wrote in The CJN. We agree.