OTTAWA – Holocaust denial will be outlawed in Canada, in a further attempt to quell growing anti-Semitism.
The federal government will consider it an offense to issue a statement denying that the Holocaust took place or to condone or downplay the killing of Jews by the Nazi regime, except in a private conversation. private.
Ministers plan to use a budget enactment bill to rapidly change the Penal Code, budget documents show.
The move to deny the outlawing of the Holocaust comes as MPs and anti-hate groups warn of the rise of extremism and anti-Semitism in Canada.
Richard Marceau, vice president of the Center for Jewish and Israeli Affairs, said: “Canadian Jews make up 1% of Canada’s population but are the target of 62% of all motivated hate crimes. religion. “We are living in a time of increasing anti-Semitism.”
Canada will join a host of European countries, including Germany, Greece, France, Belgium and the Czech Republic, who have banned Holocaust denial.
Six million Jews were systematically murdered in Nazi-occupied Europe while Hitler was in power, along with other groups, such as Rome.
“The denial and distortion of the Holocaust constitutes a ruthless attack on memory, truth and justice – an anti-religious smear that covers up the worst crime in history,” said Irwin Cotler. history – and thus a cruel and mocking rebuke to Holocaust survivors and their legacy”. Prime Minister’s Special Envoy for the Preservation of Holocaust Memorials and Combating Anti-Semitism.
The budget sets aside $5.6 million over five years to support Cotler’s office.
Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino said “there is no place for anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial in Canada.”
“That’s why we’ve committed to prohibiting the intentional promotion of anti-Semitism through tolerating, denying, or demeaning the Holocaust,” Mendicino added. “The Holocaust is one of the darkest chapters in human history. We must preserve its memory, fight against contemporary anti-Semitism and emphatically say: never again.”
The government moved to change the law after Saskatoon Tory MP Kevin Waugh introduced a bill banning Holocaust denials earlier this year.
Waugh said the government’s proposal was “word for word” like in his bill and he was surprised to see it in the budget.
But the Conservative MP said the government’s passage of the law was a “win for everyone.”
“There is no place for racism in this country,” he said.
Waugh said he would not withdraw his bill, which has a second debate at the end of April in the Commons, although a ban on Holocaust rejection would be part of the budget bill.
He said he wanted to make sure the change to the Penal Code was enacted as soon as possible.
The budget did not say what the penalty would be for a person convicted of Holocaust denial. Waugh’s bill recommends up to two years in prison.
The NDP has said it will vote on the budget, on terms of confidence and a supply pact with the Liberal Party, which means the bill will pass the Commons.
If the law were changed through the pre-budget bill, Waugh’s measure to prohibit denial of the Holocaust that occurred in the statements would be deemed redundant.
The Justice Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The budget spends more than $70 million on initiatives that benefit Canada’s Jewish community.
This includes $20 million for the relocation and expansion of the Montreal Massacre Museum and $2.5 million to support the Sarah and Chaim Neuberger Massacre Education Center in Toronto.
This Canadian Press report was first published on April 8, 2022.