Irwin Cotler
Irwin CotlerReuters

One of Canada’s leading Jewish advocacy groups has asked the Canadian government for a progress report on its pledge to combat antisemitism.

In a Wednesday letter addressed to Irwin Colter, Canada’s Special Envoy for Preserving Holocaust Remembrance and Combatting Antisemitism, B’nai Brith Canada requested an explanation on how the government is following through on its October 2021 promise to “fight antisemitism more vigorously.”

“We strongly support what our government pledged to the international community at the [Malmo International Forum on Holocaust Remembrance and Combating Antisemitism] last October,” said Marvin Rotrand, national director of B’nai Brith’s League for Human Rights. “At the time, we said the promises were robust and welcome. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau led the Canadian delegation in Malmo and articulated many of the long-standing demands of the Jewish community as government policy going forward, which had great resonance with the Jewish community.”

In the letter, B’nai Brith asked Cotler to provide a “report card,” detailing progress on the government’s Malmo pledges.

“The government has come through with the promise to make the special envoy position permanent and to ensure substantial recurring funding for the position,” B’nai Brith CEO Michael Mostyn said. “But the community would like to assess the government’s success in implementing the IHRA definition of antisemitism through the whole of government and in working with the provinces to improve the teaching of the Holocaust.”

B’nai Brith explained in a statement that it is frequently contacted by members of the Jewish community who are concerned about rising antisemitism and are looking for updates on the government’s actions to advance its Malmo promises.

The letter called for Cotler to release a publicly available report so that community members can assess the gains made and the work that remains to be done.

“Special Envoy Cotler’s post conveys the independence and impartiality to issue an honest assessment to advise and enlighten the community,” Rotrand said. “Such a report can act as a tool to guide on-going government work. It’s the best way to promote a collaboration to advance what was promised at Malmo.”