Canadian parliamentary antisemitism inquiry hears first witnesses

Canadian MP’s hear testimony about global antisemitism from internationally respected experts

(November 2nd, 2009)

The Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Antisemitism opened a series of
domestic hearings today with two panels of international parliamentarians and experts:

Panel One:

  • Rt. Hon. Dr. Denis MacShane
  • Prof. Gert Weisskirchen

Panel Two:

  • Hon. Canadian MP, Irwin Cotler
  • Dr. Charles Small Director
  • Dr. Gregg Rickman

The purpose of the inquiry is to probe into the growing problem of antisemitism both
domestically and internationally, and provide practical and uniquely Canadian
recommendations as to how to combat it. “Most people think of antisemitism in terms
of white supremacists and neo-Nazis; they infer it is a problem of the past, but
unfortunately they are mistaken,” said CPCCA Inquiry Panel Chair Mario Silva who
noted: “Antisemitism has become an increasing problem especially in Europe, and we
want to make sure that doesn’t happen here.”

The committee has invited witnesses with a variety of experiences and backgrounds;
from the international experts who appear today, to the testimony of witnesses who
have experienced antisemitism in Canada first hand. The Panel has also invited a
number of non-governmental organizations which propose mechanisms that civil
society can use to combat antisemitism.

We want Canadians to learn from the experience of other countries that are fighting to eliminate
antisemitism” said Inquiry Panel Vice-Chair Scott Reid. “The phenomenon seems once again to
be on the rise, and this panel of international experts will help us to determine to what extent
Canada is in danger of experiencing the same thing.”

In an effort to better understand the phenomenon of campus antisemitism in Canada the
Presidents of twenty five major Canadian Universities have been invited to testify before the
Inquiry Panel on the 24th of November. “We are very pleased that Ryerson University President
Dr. Sheldon Levy, former President of Concordia Fred Lowy and Université de Montréal
President Luc Vinet have agreed to appear before us,” said Silva. “We hope that the Presidents
will help us in understanding the issue and devising practical solutions.”

The committee has invited over forty individuals and organizations to appear before them during
their hearings in November and December, and has received more than 150 written submissions..
For an updated list of witnesses, dates and locations of hearings visit the Coalition’s website at
www.cpcca.ca/inquiry.

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