Justin Trudeau denounced the antisemitic vandalization of the campaign signs of two Liberal candidates in Montreal on Wednesday, calling the incident “completely unacceptable.”
The prime minister and Liberal leader, who is re-running in the 2021 Canadian federal election, released a statement saying he is “disgusted and angry” that candidates Rachel Bendayan and Anthony Housefather had their Montreal campaign posters defaced with swastikas earlier this week.
“I stand with the entire Jewish community against this type of hatred,” Trudeau wrote.
Other major party candidates equally spoke out against the incident.
NDP leader Jagmeet Singh wrote “This is not okay. Acts of Anti-Semitism glorify one of the most hateful ideologies in human history.” Erin O’Toole from the Conservatives said “Antisemitism and racism have no place in Canada, and I condemn these heinous acts.”
The Green Party’s Annamie Paul said she was saddened to see the hateful graffiti, and that “unfortunately, antisemitism remains a constant companion for Jewish candidates on the campaign trail,” adding that “silence emboldens hate.”
As for the Bloc Québécois, its head Yves-François Blanchet didn’t personally comment on the incident, but his party released a statement saying the Bloc denounces all manifestations of hate during the campaign. The People’s Party of Canada, as well as its leader Maxime Bernier, did not put out any comment.
On Tuesday, both MPs and Liberal candidates who are re-running in Montreal tweeted photos showing their campaign signs in their electoral districts defaced with swastikas over their face and body.
Bendayan and Housefather are campaigning in their ridings of Outremont and Mount Royal respectively — areas home to Montreal Jewish communities.
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“Pretty sad to see #antisemitism hitting the campaign on day 3,” Housefather wrote. “I can assure whoever did this that no swastika is going to scare me or stop me from speaking up for Jewish Canadians.”
Several Jewish advocacy organizations, including CIJA, B’nai Brith Canada and the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies (FSWC) released statements condemning the hate crime graffiti depicting the symbol of antisemitism and genocide, calling it “sickening and vile.”
“Stay vigilant and report hate incidents immediately to police and to us,” B’nai Brith Canada said.
In an interview with Global News, Bendayan said she thinks it’s important to keep an eye on these incidents, “not because it represents the views of the majority, certainly this is a very small minority of people that are spreading hateful messages, but if we don’t take the time to call out hate for what it is, then it spreads,” she said.
Montreal police have been made aware of the incident but have not provided Global News with a comment.
It is unclear when exactly the campaign signs were vandalized.