Liberal MP Mario Silva continues to chair the Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Anti-Semitism (CPCCA) inquiry into anti-Semitic acts in this country. The inquiry heard from more witnesses today, and I spoke to Silva after Question Period today about the hearings.
Q: How have the inquiry hearings been going?
A: We had some very good witnesses today, where everybody from Reverend El Shafie, who’s president of One Free World, we had Father John Walsh, Rabbi Dr. Reuven Bulka and Peter Ferreira from the Canadian Ethnocultural Council. So we had some very interesting people. As well, there was a part two session with individuals such as Shelly Faintuch from the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg, Avi Benlolo from the Holocaust Studies, and Ruth Klein, National Director of the League for Human Rights, B’nai Brith. It was all very interesting information they had to give us. We had certainly at the beginning of the discussion, especially with Reverend El Shafie, Father Walsh and Rabbi Bulka the whole idea of the need for people of faith to work together and the need for tolerance and importance of tolerance, and the dangers of when different faiths speak of act that are anti-Semitic, or of historical acts of anti-Semitism and don’t address it, and how it needs to be addressed. The faith community has to do their part and needs to work together to combat this evil of anti-Semitism. We thought it was very important. Peter Ferreira talked from the perspective of the Ethnocultural Council of different communities and the need for special funding to make sure that there are programmes to combat anti-Semitism and racism in this country, and we had in the part two session of the panel, certainly members from Avi and Ruth Klein from B’nai Brith who talked about what’s happening on the ground in terms of anti-Semitic acts and incidents throughout the country, and was a very good presentation, but disturbing at the same time to hear about some of the acts of vandalism and verbal attacks against Canadians of Jewish heritage.
Q: How many weeks to go?
A: We still have another hearing tomorrow and another two next week, and then we probably won’t sit until late January or early February. After that, we’ll have the report that will forward, hopefully by the end of March or April.