Ontario parliament
Ontario parliament iStock

The mayor of North Bay, Ontario was honored on Tuesday at a ceremony by B’nai Brith Canada for his efforts in combating antisemitism in his city.

North Bay Mayor Al McDonald was presented with a Certificate of Merit by B’nai Brith Canada CEO Michael Mostyn and national director of B’nai Brith’s League for Human Rights Marvin Rotrand for his timely response to an incident in which students were recorded shouting antisemitic abuse and performing Nazi salutes on a local school field.

McDonald quickly condemned the incident, with the school and police launching an investigation.

The Certificate from B’nai Brith includes a quote from the mayor: “Hate and racism has no home here. It is everyone’s responsibility to speak up against racism & hate when it appears.”

“We’ve been pleased to see North Bay leadership, particularly Mayor McDonald, Police Chief Scott Tod and Deputy Police Chief Michael Daze, treating antisemitism and hate with the seriousness they deserve,” Mostyn said. “We are also gratified that we are in North Bay during its inaugural Jewish Heritage Month, and we thank the mayor and council for their endorsements of something this important to our community.”

Earlier this month, McDonald marked the first annual Jewish Heritage Month in North Bay, noting the Jewish community’s many contributions to the country, while overcoming great adversity.

“Mayor McDonald and North Bay’s reaction to antisemitism are examples that all of Canada should emulate,” Rotrand said. “The mayor, the council, the police department, the school board and the community sent a very positive message that hate in any form would not be tolerated in the city. Last September, North Bay made headlines from coast to coast for the wrong reasons. The city is making headlines for all the right reasons now.”