The extent to which Canada has become an abyss of antisemitism has been amply demonstrated in the wake of the Hamas attack on Israel on October 7, 2023.  The open antisemitism displayed by the Palestinian protesters is a disgrace to our country. Antisemitism is no more acceptable in Canada than is Islamophobia or Christophobia. Yet, the Trudeau government remains deafeningly silent about the alarming rise in antisemitism

Principles Upon Which Canada is Based

Canada’s foundational constitutional document, the Constitution Act (BNA Act, 1867) is imbued with the governing principles on which Canada is based. Three of those principles are PEACE, ORDER and GOOD GOVERNMENT (commonly referred to as the POGG Clause in our constitution). In recent months, however, these foundational principles have been turned upside down. There is no PEACE in Canada when polarization and division set us apart; there is no ORDER when our laws are ignored; and there is no GOOD GOVERNMENT, when our laws are not enforced. A corrosive environment has been created and is being allowed to fester because we are ignoring our founding principles. This has resulted in the stifling of our inalienable rights of freedom of speech, religion, responsible self-government, and their accompanying values. These ignored principles are necessary for the safety, security and stability of Canada, and therefore, must be restored.

Why This is Happening

One of the major causes of this current social unrest is due to Pro-Palestinian demonstrations which are taking place on streets in front of buildings in our cities and at our universities.

These demonstrations are not spontaneous, but are carefully organized, targeting specific places, using prepared signs and slogans. Who is funding and organizing these protests? These demonstrations began in the aftermath of October 7, 2023, when Hamas invaded Israel, murdering Israeli citizens and taking hostages.  Pro-Palestinian protests have continued since then in Canada, in the United States, and in Europe.

Demonstrations in Canada

Freedoms of expression and peaceful assembly are two important tenets of a free and democratic society. Both of these freedoms are acknowledged in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms as being FUNDAMENTAL.  Moreover, both freedoms are reflective of the core Canadian value of accountable Responsible Government.  Over the years, there have been many examples of Canadians peacefully assembling to express their concerns and show support for what they believe.  For example, in September 2023, Muslim Canadians organized the Million March 4 Children to express their concerns about the homosexual indoctrination taking place in the schools.  This March was joined by many non-Muslim Canadians who share the same concerns.  Similarly, the annual March for Life in Ottawa isn’t just a “Catholic” event as it attracts thousands of Canadians of all faiths, or no faith, who share a common belief that the unborn have a fundamental right to life.  Even the 2022 Ottawa Freedom Convoy was, although an inconvenience to some Ottawa residents, a peaceful assembly that did not warrant the imposition of the Emergencies Act, as the Federal Court of Canada has recently ruled.

Canadian Approach to Peaceful Assembly

Until recently, the Canadian approach to peaceful assembly has been marked by civility and a positive message. Unfortunately, the pro-Palestine demonstrations post-October 7th lack both civility and anything approaching a positive message. Indeed, with their intimidation, harassment, and threatening tone, these protests are completely antithetical to Canada’s political and social discourse. The blocking of streets, shouting hateful antisemitic slogans, and interrupting official government functions are efforts at mob rule.

These mobs would be unfortunate enough if they were taking place outside the Israeli Embassy or Israeli Consulates. However, they are occurring at Jewish synagogues, hospitals, and institutions, such as the Holocaust Museum in Montreal. Why are Jewish businesses in Toronto vandalized, with attempts being made to set them on fire? Why were gun shots heard at a Jewish elementary school in Montreal? Why was a Jewish theatre closed because it was “unsafe” for Jews to attend the performances there? Why was a Toronto highway overpass near a predominantly Jewish neighbourhood continually picketed?  The obvious answer to these questions is simple: first, to intimidate Jews and second, as a warning to the rest of us.

Early in 2024, British Columbia NDP Minister of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills, Selina Robinson, was hounded out of office by Muslims  because she made a careless remark about land prior to Israel’s formation as a country in 1948. According to CBC News, “representatives from more than a dozen B.C. mosques and Islamic associations” wrote to BC Premier, David Eby, calling for Ms. Robinson’s removal. They also stated that, if Ms. Robinson were not removed from the cabinet, NDP MLA candidates in the next provincial election would be banned from their mosques. Premier Eby chose, to his shame, to dismiss the Minister in accordance with the mob’s directions, rather than defending her right of free speech. The ugly truth is that because of Ms. Robinson’s Jewish faith, she was dismissed from the BC cabinet because of Muslim intimidation.  Similarly, in February of this year, over 300 Muslim organizations wrote to federal Liberal MPs demanding changes in government policy, which, if not met, would result in Liberals being banned from mosques during Ramadan for “meeting and greeting” opportunities.  Soon after, Trudeau’s government adopted a more “flexible” approach on its Palestine file. In sharp contrast, Conservative leader, Pierre Poilievre spoke at a pro-Israel rally in downtown Toronto and at a synagogue as it was the decent and right thing to do. It certainly wasn’t for political considerations as Canadians of Jewish faith make up less than 1% of the Canadian population.

In summary, some Muslim organizations in Canada are using harassment, intimidation, and humiliation tactics against Canadians of the Jewish faith in an effort to further the cause of the Hamas terrorists.  These organizations are also flexing their collective electoral power, sensing that the Liberal government is more concerned with votes than with doing the right thing.

Pro-Palestine Protests Becoming More Radical

The Trudeau government has avoided any leadership role in attempting to stop these Palestine demonstrations, despite the fact the demonstrators are violating the Criminal Code and mobilizing hatred, intimidation, and harassment across this country. This failure has led to the demonstrations becoming even more radical, disrupting Canadians’ lives by preventing them from going about their business peacefully and safely.

Examples of the increased radicalism occurred when screaming protesters interrupted routine school board meetings, such as the Peel District School Board, overwhelming security, and demanding the Board pass a motion that Israel was guilty of genocide. City Councils, including those in Surrey, New Westminster, and Port Moody in B.C., and Brantford, Ontario, have been subjected to demonstrators making demands that they pass motions in support of Hamas. The City Council meeting in Surrey was shut down while demonstrators demanded the council adopt pro-Hamas/Palestine motions. The Surrey mayor was forced to ban the public from its meetings in order to carry out its responsibilities. City councils in Canada have specific local responsibilities, such as regulating traffic within their boundaries, maintenance of roads, parks, and public buildings, such as local libraries etc., but they have absolutely no responsibility for matters relating to foreign affairs.

Further, Canadian universities, such as McGill, Concordia, the University of Toronto, UBC, McMaster (Hamilton), Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly called Ryerson University), and York University have become centres of anti-Jewish aggression. For example, prior to the Easter weekend, on March 28 and 29, 2024, McGill University in Montreal endured widespread class cancellations and building closures due to a campus group called “Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights” staging anti-Israeli protests. Previously, this group had openly celebrated the Hamas taking of Israeli hostages as “heroic”. In February 2024, the group also caused a shutdown of a building on the campus named after a Jewish philanthropist who had generously funded it.

On Thursday, March 28, 2024, a rally organized by the Canadian Palestinian Social Association (CPSA) in London, Ontario, a group that has made no secret of its loyalties in the current war between Israel and Hamas, was held at the University of Western Ontario.  One of the speakers was Bara Banat, Board Member of CPSA and President of the Palestinian Cultural Club (PCC) at Western, who shamed-named three specific Jewish students and alumni, urging attendees to report them to campus authorities for alleged Islamophobia and “Palestinian racism”.

The increasing radicalization of university campuses existed before October 7.  In 2021, the Muslim Students’ Association at the University of Western Ontario issued a statement demanding, among other things, the removal of “all pro-Zionist narrative from campus” and that the university “cut off any professional or financial ties to any individuals or companies or organizations that fund or support Israeli Defense Forces or are situated on occupied Palestinian land.”

Police as Bystanders

During these disturbances, the police have typically, since October 7, 2023, played an observer role only. This has allowed the demonstrators to continue their activism and has encouraged them to become more radical and to increase their demands. The police stand down has also encouraged protestors’ promotion of hatred, intimidation, and harassment. The protestors shout out chants, such as “from the river to the sea, Palestine shall be free”. They promote the 1988 Hamas Charter that provides for the eradication of Israel and the Jewish people, despite the fact that the promotion of genocide is a specific offence in the Criminal Code. The protestors also ignore the fact that Jews have an historical, if not moral, claim to the land having lived in Israel for over 5000 years, well before the birth of Christ. The Palestinians arrived by sea approximately 2000 years ago, but never actually governed themselves beyond tribal matters as the territory was overseen by others, such as the Persian, the Roman, and the Ottoman Empires (from the early 14th century to 1917).

The continuous demonstrations have become so radical and full of hate against Israel and the Jewish people that the police have at last begun to apply the laws on demonstrations. This finally occurred in Toronto on March 30, 2024, when demonstrators assaulted a police officer by throwing horse manure at him, a female demonstrator used a flagpole to try to spear another police officer, and another demonstrator struck a police horse. This outrageous behaviour is far from peaceful demonstration. The police laid four charges in this incident.

The Problem with Mob Rule

For as long as human beings have lived in civil society, there have been concerns over mob rule. By its nature, mob rule is capricious and irrational, and dangerous to peace, order and good government.  Mob rule has no place in a free and democratic society. It is unacceptable that reasoned discourse and political compromise are replaced by violence and intimidation.

Whatever else it may be, mob rule is antithetical to Responsible Government. Appeasing the mob, as demonstrated by BC Premier Eby dismissing cabinet minister Selina Robinson or Justin Trudeau’s Hamas appeasement policy, only signals a willingness to surrender fundamental rights and freedoms for perceived political gain (re-election). By appeasing special interest groups rather than securing the rights and safety of Canadians, both Eby and Trudeau have surrendered their own moral authority to govern.

Canadians Must Lead

Canadians must raise objections to this mob rule that is increasingly encroaching on our streets and invading our institutions. We must voice our condemnation, which must also include the voices of Canadian Muslims, who need to denounce the antisemitism which has no place in the country they have chosen to call home.  All Canadians have an obligation to speak out against the rampant antisemitism which is causing so much fear in the lives of our fellow, Jewish Canadians.  In the absence of leadership from the Trudeau government, ordinary Canadians of goodwill must make their voices heard.