Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee

Statement by the Prime Minister of Canada on Hanukkah

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, on December 7, 2023, issued the following statement on Hanukkah:

“At sunset today, Jewish communities in Canada and around the world will celebrate the first night of Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights.

“Hanukkah, which takes place over eight nights, is an enduring reminder of the power of light, hope, and determination, even in the face of darkness and tremendous adversity. During this time, friends and families gather to light the candles of the Hanukkiah one by one, pray, and practice traditions that have been a part of Jewish life for generations. It’s also a time to reflect on the strength and perseverance of the Jewish people.

“In the wake of Hamas’ terrorist attacks against Israel earlier this fall and a disturbing increase in antisemitism around the world, including in our own communities, the values of strength, resilience, and perseverance at the heart of Hanukkah are more important than ever. These acts of antisemitism are completely unacceptable and have no place in Canada or anywhere in the world. Each of us, Jewish and non-Jewish Canadians alike, must stand together against this hate.

“The Government of Canada remains steadfast in its commitment to combatting antisemitism and hate in all its forms. Earlier this fall, we appointed Deborah Lyons as Canada’s new Special Envoy on Preserving Holocaust Remembrance and Combatting Antisemitism. Ms. Lyons will lead our ongoing efforts to combat antisemitism and will work with partners to preserve the memory of the Holocaust so that younger generations know the truth about what happened – and how antisemitism continues today. Through measures such as the expanded Security Infrastructure Program, we are helping protect community centres, day schools, and places of worship – because no one in Canada should feel unsafe to practise their religion.

“Hanukkah is also an opportunity to recognize the immense contributions that Jewish Canadians have made – and continue to make – to Canada. The lit Hanukkiah by the window is a tradition to share and spread light. A tradition that reaffirms the freedom to express and practise the Jewish faith but also to share the light with others. This is what it means to be Jewish – this is what it means to be Canadian.

“The Government of Canada will always stand with the Jewish community, and we will continue to work to ensure that Canada is always a country where Jewish Canadians can proudly and openly live Jewish lives. Together, we will build a safer, more inclusive future for everyone.

“On behalf of all Canadians, I wish everyone celebrating a happy, blessed, and peaceful Hanukkah.

“Chag Hanukkah Sameach.”