CFN – Pretty strong image huh? We apologize to anyone that’s offended by it. It’s being used not to tar our MPP, but to illustrate that using a symbol to paint an opponent in the manner that he did really isn’t Fair Dinkum.
MPP for Stormont, Dundas, & South Glengarry, Jim McDonell is under fire for comments he made at Queen’s Park.
“It’s 73 years ago today that Canada declared war on another tyrant… The people of Nazi Germany didn’t know what was going on, and over my time here I find it hard to believe how hard it is to find out what’s going on and how easy it is for the government to hide things”
Mr. McDonell has never been thought of to be an above average orator. He certainly wouldn’t be the first politician to spout in the heat of the moment.
Nobody is suggesting that he himself is some racist or bigot and while even I find this photo offensive the point being is that nobody should be labelled with one of the biggest nightmares in human history in the manner that he did. Not even in the heat of the moment.
I was asked why I waited so long to write this piece and frankly there were a few key reasons. First off I’m Jewish. Although not practicing, my family was devastated in the Holocaust, (and yes it really did happen) however I had family who fought against the Nazi’s including a great uncle who not only was a guerrilla fighter, but also fought in every Israeli conflict until the 1973 war after which he retired as a Colonel. I also had family right here in Canada who fought for our great country.
I’m also the creator of something that was nominated for an Oscar that was set during the Nazi era. (2003 Prisoner of Paradise) A project that had me read thousands of pages of the history of this period.
No, Mr. McDonell’s crime is that he didn’t get ahead of this story and do the right thing and make an earnest apology. He didn’t have to pander and it was beyond partisan politics. It’s about leadership. If our elected officials can’t “do the right thing” when they make a mistake what message does that send to the public and our children?
Likewise because Mr. McDonell failed to do so it’s attracted a bunch of negative publicity to himself and this riding.
Mr. McDonell was contacted by the B’Nai Brith with the following letter.
Room 343, Main Legislative Building
Toronto, Ontario M7A 1A8
Dear Mr. McDonell,
We are writing this letter to you today to address an issue which was recently brought to our attention by many members of the Jewish community.
On Monday September 10th 2012, you rose in the legislature and stated:
“As one of my colleagues was saying, it’s 73 years ago today that Canada declared war on another tyrant, and that’s what we’re seeing here. The people of Nazi Germany didn’t know what was going on, and over my time here I find it hard to believe how hard it is to find out what’s going on and how easy it is for the government to hide things.”
Comparing the government of Ontario to the Nazi regime that unleashed a wave of terror that led to one of the most tragic episodes of human history is unfortunate to say the least. In your attempt to express displeasure with the current government, you used such a highly inappropriate comparison. There is no place in Ontario for comparisons of the racism, hatred and violence that characterized Adolf Hitler’s Nazi regime. Such a comparison is outrageous and insulting to all Ontarians, especially to the Jewish community and the survivors and their families within it.
In response to criticism from a colleague on the ‘other side’, you rose in the House yesterday to issue an apology. In that statement, you said that ‘you were merely incorporating the anniversary of Canada’s declaration of War on Germany in your comments’: however you were far further than that.
It is strongly felt that your original statement still stands and the suggestion that others have ‘misinterpreted’ your comments, and that is solely why they are offended, is entirely false and does not constitute an apology.
We would look forward to speaking with you regarding this issue and assisting you in understanding why and how you need to issue an apology that is timely and appropriate. We have been attempting to contact your office without success all day and urge you to contact us before 4:00pm, as otherwise we will have to go ahead and issue a release to the community before the end of the day.
Frank Dimant, CEO B’nai Brith Canada
cc: Tim Hudak, MPP
Yesterday I contacted his office first thing in the morning. I waited for his call or email the full day, but sadly it seems he was busy… Likewise Sam Eskenasi confirmed to me that Mr. McDonell had not contacted B’nai Brith yesterday as well. He also confirmed that B’nai Brith was not calling for his resignation. Sometimes you just have to communicate in ways that don’t leave people as open to misunderstandings…
Again, in politics you always get ahead of a story. MPP. McDonell gets a fail on this account. Can something good come of this event? Maybe some awareness? Maybe the MPP would be interested to learn about some of the Jewish Culture that was in this riding and has literally disappeared? But mostly and hopefully Mr. McDonell will learn that it’s ok to man up and make your mistakes right and usually ends up with a lot less news stories written about you.
Jamie Gilcig – Editor – The Cornwall Free News
(Comments and opinions of Editorials, Letters to the Editor, and comments from readers are purely their own and don’t necessarily reflect those of the owners of this site, their staff, or sponsors.)