Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee
Objections to Prime Minister Harper’s Statements on Public Radio

Hon. Bob Rae (Toronto Centre, Lib.):  

Mr. Speaker, I really do regret that the minister has missed an opportunity here to take advantage of what was a very practical approach to what I think most people would see as a problem.

However, I would like to ask the minister another question on another subject having to do with the comments that were made yesterday by the Prime Minister on the radio in Toronto.

The Prime Minister is quoted as saying that "anti-Israeli sentiment, really just as a thinly disguised veil for good old-fashioned anti-Semitism". He then went on to say, "I am disturbed that there are some elements in our political system, there are even some members of Parliament… that were willing to cater to that kind of opinion".

Perhaps the minister will understand the sensitivity that all of us feel as members of Parliament. Could he perhaps tell us who exactly the anti-Semites are that the Prime Minister is talking about?

Hon. Peter Van Loan (Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform, CPC):   

Mr. Speaker, I know the member for Toronto Centre takes these issues seriously and supports strongly, as does this government, the right of the state of Israel to exist and the right of that state to coexist in peaceful security with its neighbours. We know that we have to stay vigilant in that support of Israel.

I know the member himself has, in his own leadership campaign, experienced the kind of anti-Semitism, of which the Prime Minister spoke, and the damage and corrosive impact that it can have. He knows full well that does continue to exist as a force in our society and it is something that we must fight against at every opportunity.