Canadian Jews Praise PM Trudeau’s Announcement That Special Envoy on Antisemitism Will Be Permanent Role
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Wednesday that the role of special envoy to combat antisemitism created during his first term in government would be made permanent.
Trudeau made the announcement in a video address to a high-level international forum in the Swedish city of Malmo on antisemitism and commemorating the Holocaust.
Trudeau said the commitment was in line with “Canada’s commitment to promote and defend pluralism, inclusion and human rights.”
The current incumbent of the post, Irwin Cotler — a former Canadian Minister of Justice and prominent human rights advocate — was appointed in Nov. 2020. Trudeau’s announcement means that the antisemitism envoy, up until now an unfunded position, will have a budget and dedicated staff.
Trudeau remarked that antisemitism “isn’t a problem for the Jewish community to solve alone. It’s everyone’s challenge to take on, especially governments.” He pledged to “develop and implement a national action plan on combating hate, working in concert with Jewish communities and our special envoy.”
Canadian Jewish groups gave a warm welcome to Trudeau’s announcement.
“One person can only do so much, and this was an unfunded position,” commented Michael Mostyn, CEO of B’nai Brith Canada. “Professor Cotler needs a staff to get the job done to combat antisemitism in a systemic way.”
Mostyn said his group was pleased that Canada was showing a commitment to fighting the “scourge” of antisemitism.
Shimon Koffler Fogel — president of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) — said Trudeau’s announcement represented “a milestone for the Jewish community and Jewish federations across Canada who have been advocating for making the role of special envoy permanent, with dedicated resources.”
Michael Levitt, president of the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies (FSWC), said that Trudeau’s participation “in this meaningful international forum to combat antisemitism and promote Holocaust awareness is very important and sends a strong message that the country stands united with its Jewish community and is serious about taking action.”