Heritage minister condemns ‘disgusting’ tweets from anti-racism group consultant

Click to play video: 'Ottawa pulls funding to Montreal-based nonprofit over tweets by consultant'
Ottawa pulls funding to Montreal-based nonprofit over tweets by consultant
Warning: This story contains language that may be offensive. Canadian heritage has pulled funding for thousands of dollars to a Montreal-based nonprofit building an anti-racism strategy for media. This comes after several people and organizations discovered one of the consultants employed by the nonprofit was publishing what they call antisemitic and hateful tweets. Global's Gloria Henriquez has the story. – Aug 22, 2022

Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez broke his silence on Wednesday over his department’s funding of an agency whose senior consultant posted a series of tweets about “Jewish white supremacists,” more than a week after the government cut off the money.

“Racism in any form has no place in Canada. I condemn the disgusting anti-Semitic comments made by Laith Marouf,” Rodriguez said in a written statement to The Canadian Press.

“I have no tolerance for this.”

Read more: Trudeau vows ‘complete review’ of anti-racism group funding after consultant’s tweets

Read next: Ottawa directing DND to drop appeal of sexual misconduct class action extension

Rodriguez also said the Community Media Advocacy Centre, which Marouf works for as a consultant, should never have received “a cent of taxpayer dollars” and the Liberal government is reviewing the vetting process to ensure it does not happen again.

Story continues below advertisement

His remarks mirror those of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who on Tuesday said he was launching a complete government review of funding to CMAC.

“It is absolutely unacceptable that federal dollars have gone to this organization that has demonstrated xenophobia, racism and antisemitism,” Trudeau said.

Last week, Diversity Minister Ahmed Hussen cut $133,000 in Heritage Department funding to the CMAC and suspended an anti-racism project it was overseeing after “reprehensible and vile” tweets posted by Marouf came to light.

On Monday, Liberal MP Anthony Housefather, who is Jewish, posted a tweet urging all 338 members of Parliament to condemn antisemitism, after which a significant number of Liberal MPs began speaking up about the issue.

Rodriguez had not commented until the statement sent Wednesday.

Click to play video: 'Trudeau calls statements from consultant hired by anti-racism group funded by Ottawa ‘reprehensible’'
Trudeau calls statements from consultant hired by anti-racism group funded by Ottawa ‘reprehensible’

Conservative MP Melissa Lantsman, who is also Jewish, had criticized Rodriguez for not speaking out about the tweets.

Story continues below advertisement

“The most vile thing about this is the silence,” she said.

Marouf’s Twitter account is private, but a screenshot posted online showed a number of tweets with his photo and name.

One tweet said: “You know all those loud mouthed bags of human feces, a.k.a. the Jewish White Supremacists; when we liberate Palestine and they have to go back to where they come from, they will return to being low voiced bitches of thier (sic) Christian/Secular White Supremacist Masters.”

CMAC has not responded to requests for comment. A lawyer acting for Marouf asked for his client’s tweets to be quoted “verbatim” and distinguished between Marouf’s “clear reference to ‘Jewish white supremacists”’ and Jews or Jewish people in general.

Marouf does not harbour “any animus toward the Jewish faith as a collective group,” lawyer Stephen Ellis said in an email to The Canadian Press.

“While not the most artfully expressed, the tweets reflect a frustration with the reality of Israeli apartheid and a Canadian government which collaborates with it,” Ellis added.

Sponsored content