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Statement: Annual B'nai Brith Canada‎ Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents

Honourable senators, last week B'nai Brith Canada released its annual audit of anti-Semitic incidents. The audit found that 2016 ". . . was a record-setting year for anti-Semitism . . .." Unfortunately, almost every year in the last decade has been a record setting one.

There is cause to be deeply concerned. Anti-Semitic incidents in Canada rose by 26 per cent this year over last, and were higher than the previous high set in 2014.

Holocaust denial, having accounted for only 5 per cent of documented anti-Semitic cases in 2015, jumped to over 20 per cent of cases in 2016.

A total of 1,728 anti-Semitic incidents were reported across the country last year. That's about five per day.

Colleagues, these trends are alarming. It is important as we, as senators and as leaders in our communities, continue to work to counteract these hateful forces. As Canadians, we cannot be complacent. As peaceful and tolerant as our country may be, it is important that we always denounce hatred in all its forms.

I want to express appreciation to B'nai Brith Canada for their ongoing vigilance, documenting and exposing the growth of anti-Semitism in Canada.

Additionally, I support the organization's call for the vigorous enforcement of Canada's hate-crime laws in those instances where exhortations for the destruction of the Jewish people are made in public spaces or in places of worship. In that vein, I would like to commend B'nai Brith and the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs for their efforts to amend the Criminal Code to make the vandalism of religious buildings a hate crime with Bill C-305. I look forward to being the critic of this legislation when it is debated in the Senate.

Meanwhile, let us make it known that here in Parliament, all people of goodwill stand with the Jewish community against prejudice, intolerance and hate.

Thank you.

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