A political candidate in Ontario has apologized for honoring a Nazi naval officer, but B’nai Brith Canada says the apology does not go far enough, the Toronto Sun reported Sunday.
Steve Parish, selected to run in the town of Ajax, located approximately 25 kilometers (16 miles) east of Toronto, under the New Democrat Party (NDP) banner, has been under fire for honoring a Nazi naval officer when he was mayor of Ajax.
After a pair of stories on the issue appeared in the Toronto Sun and denunciations from both B’nai Brith Canada and the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies, Parish offered comments on Saturday at his nomination meeting.
“There has been controversy over the renaming of Langsdorff Avenue in Ajax, and comments that I made at that time. I want to say clearly and unequivocally that the Nazi regime that ruled in Germany from 1933 to 1945 was the most evil regime in the history of humankind,” Parish said.
“They were responsible for the Holocaust and the death of approximately 6 million Jews in Europe. Indeed, the terms genocide and crimes against humanity come from that terrible part of our history. This caused pain to some people in the Jewish community in Ajax and beyond in Ontario, and for that, I am profoundly and completely sorry, and I offer my complete, unconditional and most sincere apology,” he added.
The statement from Parish did not include recanting his support for Hans Langsdorff, the Nazi naval officer at the heart of the controversy.
Parish, who served as mayor of Ajax from 1995 until 2018, stood by his decision to rename a street in the city after Langsdorff, a German admiral who praised Adolf Hitler’s leadership and called him a prophet who knew how to nurture Germany’s youth.
When Ajax council decided to remove the naming honor from Langsdorff in 2020 over his past, Parish defended the naming honor, noted the Toronto Sun.
Michael Mostyn, CEO of B’nai Brith Canada, said on Sunday, “This statement does not suffice for B’nai Brith Canada. While Mr. Parish appears to have quietly acknowledged that the Nazi regime was evil and committed the Holocaust at his nomination event, this was stating a non-controversial and historical fact, not an apology for his behavior.”
“Mr. Parish is on the record defending Nazi naval Capt. Hans Langsdorff, a Nazi he believed was worthy of being honored. He must let the public know whether or not he has changed his views. If he has changed his views, Canadians deserve a proper apology,” added Mostyn.