Jewish Liberal candidates, Singh face racist attacks during election campaign

·2 min read

OTTAWA — Liberal candidate Anthony Housefather says another 20 of his election posters were found Tuesday with swastikas drawn on them.

The posters of Housefather and Liberal candidate Rachel Bendayan, who are both Jewish and running for re-election in Montreal, have been the subject to anti-Semitic vandalism since last week.

Housefather says one of his posters was found with a picture of Hitler on it, and about 40 of his posters have been defaced with Nazi signs.

He says this kind of vandalism distracts him and his team from what he should be focusing on during the campaign as they have to replace the posters and report it to police.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh had a racist remark directed at him while campaigning on Wednesday morning in Windsor, Ont.

At a campaign event at a park a man shouted "go back home" from a passing vehicle, while Singh, who was born in Scarborough, Ont., and raised in Windsor, continued his speech undeterred.

Speaking to reporters in a later news conference, Singh says he doesn't "focus on himself" when that kind of thing happen but he is concerned about the rise of hate in Canada.

Housefather says politicians like him are used to having "thick skin," but those who have never run in an election before or are thinking of running in the future could give up on politics because of the toxicity.

He says anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, Black and Asian racism are all on the rise in Canada, noting the growth of hate on social media before it manifests itself on the streets with graffiti and racial slurs.

A survey of 2,000 Canadian residents by Abacus Data for the Canadian Race Relations Foundation in January found that 78 per cent of respondents are concerned about the spread of hate speech online and 60 per cent say the federal government should do more to prevent the spread of hateful and racist comments online.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 25, 2021.

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This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

The Canadian Press

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