Wednesday, November 7, 2018


  While the Jewish people have enjoyed a long and meaningful history in Canada, we have not always been welcome in this country — especially in our darkest hour. In the days leading up to the Second World War, more than 900 Jewish refugees aboard the MS St. Louis were given a rare opportunity to find safe harbour in Canada — but were ultimately refused by the Liberal government of McKenzie King. Over a quarter of them subsequently perished at the hands of the Nazis.
   Even after the Holocaust, discrimination against Jews continued with quotas in academia, restrictive covenants against the purchase of land and common exclusion from various public and private forums, all examples of ingrained societal anti-Semitism in Canada. My father still vividly recalls seeing signs that appeared on Canadian beachfronts, screaming, “No dogs or Jews allowed.”
   On Wednesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will apologize for the MS St. Louis. While the past cannot be changed, a sincere apology could be meaningful if Trudeau not only recognizes the widespread anti-Semitism of Canada’s past but also speaks to how our government plans to deal with anti-Semitism today.

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