SD&SG MPP Jim McDonell In Hot Water Over Nazi Comment in Queen’s Park – Editorial by Jamie Gilcig

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.

In particular:

“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
Queen’s Park
Toronto, Ontario M7A 1A8
Tel:  416-325-2910
Fax: 416-325-2917

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.

Yours truly,

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.)



  1. Thank you Jamie for sharing your thought into print ,however,I think that this has been blown way out of proportion.I am amazed more that because of one phrase said …a religious organization is so offended,enough to write a letter stating their displeasure yet we have another province wanted power & control over ROC yet where is their letter of displeasure over something so great

  2. Why is he in hot water, that statement makes sense to me.

  3. Good reporting, Jamie. Mcdonell is clearly paralyzed by ignorance.
    It will take the ongoing actions of B’nai Brith and others to help ensure that loose comparisons to the Nazis don’t completely obliterate the horrors.

  4. Lots has been written about McDonell’s asinine words in the MSM. Most of the writers agree that he isn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer, and he certainly proved that he isn’t. Of course he won’t retract his statement or apologize. Politicians can not admit fault.

  5. McDonell is a good man..anyone who personally knows Jim and his family will agree that he is genuine..the swastica shows bad taste Jamie..his family doesn’t deserve it..Jim has had more than a few family members who fought and died for this country in WW1 and WW2..they fought against everything that Nazi Germany stood for..please consider removing the swastica.

  6. As the first person experience of Nazi madness becomes historical account, and the denyers cultivate fools, there is bound to be conflict between angst and naivity.

    And sure enough, MPP Jim McDonell is a jackass — but to be set straight by a group that instigated the “le Prenom” poster shemozzle?

    Is even Charlie Chaplin safe?

  7. I also believe Jim is a good man. But time and again we see American politicians making a mistake, and putting the matter behind them with an apology. Jim should too.

  8. ..agreed Gerry..political science 101..never correlate any event to the attrocities of Nazi Germany..leaves you open to severe scrutiny, irregardless of intention .. political opponents will jump all over it and paint a picture of a horrible event being lessened or cheapened by an unscrupulous individual..Jim’s children don’t deserve seeing their father paraded on the internet with a swastica on his forehead..they have to face classmates and friends at school..these are good people..these are my friends.

  9. Author

    Ferris I think you almost get it. Did you actually read the story? Jim’s comments triggered feelings and emotions to thousands of survivors and family members of the Holocaust. Did they need that just so a politician could make a point? Likewise the people his comment targeted have children too, no?

    When you CHOOSE to be a public figure this is part of the deal. The image simply captures the real essence of what his comments were and why he should’ve apologized before it expanded like it did. Jim and I have had a better relationship since he’s been elected. I’ve been totally professional with him and to his credit his office has been with CFN.

    It was very difficult to read his actions; but as someone who had most of his family wiped out by Nazi’s it was offensive to see him not grasp what he’d said and not do the right thing which would’ve ended it cold.

    Like they say; “A picture is a thousand words”.

  10. “I almost get it”…Jamie are you privy to information that others aren’t?..I believe I am as educated as you are..what is it I don’t get? I read the article ..I see the picture..what is it I’m missing? You must have watched “Inglorious Bastards” on Showcase last Saturday night.. r u aspiring to be Sgt. Hugo Stiglitz?

  11. ..yes, a picture is worth a thousand words Jamie..disagreement’re the one painting the picture on your own personal tapestry..this article does not reflect the character of the man that I know.

  12. A commenter imploring that the press and public go easy, remarked “..these are my friends.”

    That is always a problem in Cornwall, jackasses and outright crooks keep getting a free pass because they’re related or a neighbour or a colleague.

    The MPP needs to learn, acknowledge, and move on.

  13. ..never implored press or public to go easy…consider removing swastica..not implore or demand..consider..on another note, consider walking into Jack Delaney’s Pub in Williamstown sometime Jim a “jackass” or a “crook” in there on a Saturday night after the Rebels game.

  14. What is wrong with you people!!!
    For gd sake..READ a History book….look at a newreel…the German people loved that Nazi basterd(movie ref) and thought he was god..Having our MPP say…they didn;t know…is about as offensive as comparing his opponents in the house this way.
    Jamie..i wasn’t making a movie…but forced myself to read Holocaust survivor stories to educate myself on why the State of Israel is willing to take on the World.
    Everybody looked the other way as they were slaughtered 6 million or ripped from their mothers arms and killed in front of the parents..unspeakable…
    Jim couldn’t even deliver on his election promise to take care of the old peanut line used by trail riders in South Glengarry..Now I know why..
    He’s full blown NUTS

    ps..One can only hope Jason is trying to be funny with his comment that jim bobs statement makes sense to him…
    Sorry Jay..Jimbo makes as much sense as the US politician who talked about “legitimate Rape” and women being able to kill sperm…thru thought control…another fool on the loose

  15. Jamie

    my first reaction was you had gone way over the line…NOW….after reading all the foolish statements in support of a “good man” who can’t own up to making a very cruel stupid statement maybe the shock value is needed…to wake people up

    This was one of mankinds darkest periods…my Dad fought these killers for six yrs during WWII…still have a nazi swastika flag that he brought back to remind future generations about what evil can result from blind loyalty to a murdering dictator..or anybody else including politicians and their lackeys

    Jimmy boy…try to make an apology…just make it better than the pinhead freeholder scribbler.

  16. The meaning of JDL’s motto, “Never Again,“ may not be that clear to those who do not know a lot about us. Never Again means first and foremost that Jews will never again go quietly and submissively to our deaths.

    Never Again is the motto of the post-Holocaust, truly sensible Jew, who knows that the world can be a dangerous place and that it often gets much more dangerous for Jews when we fail to assert our rights as human beings

  17. Author

    Truth I can honestly say that Mr. McDonell has impressed me since being elected. Is our relationship where it should be as the editor of the largest read media outlet in his riding and the MPP? Not quite, but he has really tried to improve things.

    The photo was not meant to slur Mr. McDonell in any fashion. It was meant to illustrate the true nature of the comments he made graphically because sometimes people just don’t get it.

  18. Jamie…..Just a question. Why is it important for people to get it? Can’t people think for themselves?

    Yes he may have INNOCENTLY said the wrong thing, does that mean he must be put in front of a firing squad? Gee, we all make mistakes and knowing the man, he wasn’t intentially trying to hurt anyone. Good Lord…..give him some slack.

  19. Author

    Stella I think I gave our MPP a TON of slack. Believe me this is akin to skating with your head down. I could’ve hit him with a full shoulder and I did not by any means. I simply allowed a photo to illustrate graphically what the impact of his words were to many people who read the news coverage of his statements.

    While I personally am not partisan any longer comparing any politician or party in Canada, even Guy Lauzon or Mr. Harper, to a Nazi just doesn’t dance.

  20. @Stellabystarlight…please don’t confuse INNOCENTLY with ignorantly. The point is simply that “Nazi” is thrown out casually in all kinds of discourse. And when it is it’s hurtful because millions of peoples’ loved ones were tortured and murdered by Nazis.

    It is likewise ludicrous to suggest one’s Canadian political opponents are Nazis. Thus, McDonell IGNORANTLY said the wrong thing and should apologize in a meaningful way.

    Remember, voters want to see what politicians are “made of.” This is an opportunity Jim should not IGNORE for a whole bunch of reasons including teaching his children a valuable lesson.

  21. Can anyone recall the last time a Canadian politician admitted he/she was wrong and apologized meaningfully?

  22. Soc….the important word is he wasn’t “INTENTIONALLY” trying to hurt anyone. Remember he is fairly new in the bigger political arena. Sometimes when debating we may make the mistake of taking extreme examples to express ourselves to prove our point and to give it more impact. It doesn’t necessarily mean he disrespects the Jewish people……..far from it. Like I said before, we all make mistakes……

  23. Stella, anyone who spouts the Nazi comparison in a debate loses the debate. That’s a basic rule that every politician at every level of government should know. A quick retraction and sincere apology is the only way to handle a blunder like that. Otherwise it could end a quite lucrative career. And rightfully so.

  24. Everyone’s assuming that these comments came from McDonell himself. Hasn’t it occured to anyong that he is merely repeating what Hudak tells him to say, the way Lauzon has to read Harper’s scripts? To me, this would be a “no-brainer” (along with our so-called representatives, McDonell and Lauzon). However… .

    What I also don’t understand is why someone from the extreme right would call a democratic, (more or less) middle-of-the-road party “Nazi”. Normally, the extreme right like to label anyone they don’t agree with or understand as “Communist”.

    Labelling people or groups as Nazi or Communist merely trivialises the whole issue. It’s hard to get away with calling a person or group “Nazi” in a totally out of context manner like McDonell/Hudak have, because there are enough people to take them to task, both Canadians in general and Jewish people in particular. However, who even raises an eyebrow when people are called, quite unjustifiably, “Communist”?

    Today is September 17, the 73rd anniversary of the Russian invasion of Poland in 1939. Will McDonell/Hudak stand up and label the Liberals Communist today? Let’s not forget that the Russians murdered at least as many civilians as the Nazis (and probably more), but the Communist murder spree continued until around 1989, when they were finally brought down by a Polish Pope and a Polish trade union. At least, mercifully, Nazi power came to an end in 1945.

  25. “Conservatives are not necessarily stupid, but most stupid people are conservative” – John Stuart Mill (1806-1873)

  26. Fascism is creeping it’s way into Canada. Political correctness is silence. Silence is death. Twenty Six million people of the first nations killed by Europeans can’t be all wrong.

  27. STELLA STELLA….weren’t you on an episode of Seinfeld??
    Elaine gets loopy on painkillers
    You stella…would have fit right in during this “german problem”
    Look the other way..ignore what the man said…its all no big deal he didn’t mean to hurt anybody.but HE DID
    Canada did just what your suggesting..look the other way…and a boat load of Jewish refugees were turned away from our great Land…they later perished in the Holocaust
    Why did this happen…The PUBLIC believed the hate directed at Jews..because NOBODY stood up and said…This is Wrong!!!!!!
    Guess using your logic…..
    We should forgive Adolf H as well…

    We all make mistakes!!!

    but decent people….Apologize….take a lesson Jimbo…and freeholder scribbler

  28. Jamie

    I will take you at your word about McDonell

    My stance…he ran on a platform that included stopping clubs using peanut line..he didn;t come thru

    I stopped voting

    Never learning from History…back in the day I voted for Kilger for MP based on name recognition..shame on ME

    Then he was elected..turns out he denies Women the right to look after their own abortion

    If they did that to a Man…all hell would break loose

    I stopped voting…despite the fact my late father said it was a crime . He was a decorated WWII Veteran…who fought for my rights

    I choose not to vote…until…a better group of candidates show up..not people who say one thing and do another

  29. Truth, I am not saying look the other way and ignore it. What he said is inappropriate. Do we protest and have face a firing squad….my goodness. We all make mistakes. What Hitler did was no mistake, he was a dictator who knew what he wanted and was going to get his way no matter what. Combining what Hitler did and what the MPP said is a no brainer……no comparison whatsoever.

  30. Stella
    Finally..we arrive at the point…”What he said is inappropriate”

    Politicians never learn..the coverup…or refusal to correct the worse that saying the German people didn’t know

    Tricky Dick Nixon..and now Mutt Romney…are examples…..Watergate…and Libya embassy comments.

    At what point do you stop cutting these politicians slack!!!! Especially when they are foolishly DON”T correct the record!!!!!!!

    PS..Ferris: your comment slanders the good people of Williamstown…some of my best friends are “Towners”
    your words

    ” consider walking into Jack Delaney’s Pub in Williamstown sometime Jim a “jackass” or a “crook” in there on a Saturday night after the Rebels game.

    Think the place has changed hands…but if voicing your opinion destroys your Rights..and gets you a beating…Shame on U
    You make Canadas Oldest Fair people look right red-neck hillbillies

  31. @Stella, listen to Truth if to no one else. Mr. Mc isn’t in front of a firing squad unless he chooses to stand there and invite continued criticism because he remains dumb.

    Yes, we all make mistakes. Precisely. And when we do, it’s right to say “I’m sorry.” I believe you agree with that.

    After the harm, that’s all this discussion is about.

    If you don’t understand the “hurt” he caused, well, maybe in time you’ll have a similar reaction to someone who offends you and stands there going, “Whaaaa?”

  32. Sure would like to hear Pastor Tom weigh in on this “real life” issue, not to mention Mr. self-described Political Veteran, Carter Edwards, or Ms. Spirit Matters.

  33. Good Lord, Soc! Do you really want to read more bible quotes?
    Sadly for Mr. McDonell, he has waited way too long to properly address his blunder. He will be remembered for this for the rest of his probably shortened political career.
    @ Richard Komorowski. Do you really think Mr. Smirk wrote McDonell’s Nazi script? I don’t think so. He’s stupid, but not that stupid.

  34. my 40 years of living in the village of Wiliiamstown, I never once heard of us being referred to as “Towners”…….Redneck fact, Williamstown has 2 senior mens hockey teams called you guessed it.. the “Rednecks” and the “Hillbillies”..I don’t know what neck of the woods your from Simon…but calling a man a jackass or a crook may in fact get you a beat down in Williamstown..screw your rights to voice your opinion.

  35. Ferris

    You miss the joke…Towners..example…small towners…who resort to threats of violence ..fueled up with booze from the pub…i suppose…SAD

    You remind me of Gadaffi and other thugs…and we all know…what happened to him…
    Despite his threats against others.

    I do believe he ended up strapped to the hood of a jeep and driven around town…Till they Killed him..

    When im passing thru Hooterville….will have unpleasant thoughts about you and Jimbo

  36. time you leave Candyland on your moped…be sure to stop at Jack’s in Williamstown..tell us all about your rights Truth…

  37. @Ed, LOL! No it’s not the bible quotes I long for it’s peoples’ opinions…with or without the back up they wish to use,

    I know I shoot my mouth off plenty but I want to hear what others have to say.

    Seems to me this issue, with its prejudices etc. is MADE for the religious and political reporters who publish on CFN.

    Where are they on this one?

  38. OK enough of the threats and insults. Our MPP represents all of Stormont Dundas and South Glengarry and not just Williamstown, or at least he is supposed to. He made an error trivializing the Holocaust and then another error not apologizing.

    If he wants to use an example of a secretive government he should have used our current federal government or perhaps the government of Mr. Diefenbaker.

  39. Let me guess..your a former employee of the cheese shop that shutdown..u spend your days at the pub..or playing hockey.
    you got a hair trigger temper and figure hockey fights are the best way to solve life’s problems.

    Your having a hard time realizing that Canada has a charter of rights and Freedoms. You think Jimbo has nothing to apologize for but thats have a good life living in your parents basement.

    Williamstown is a very small place which goes along with your
    very small mind… You park your black (slow as heck Harley) at the side of the pub. See u careful what u wish for Hog Rider!!!

  40. there u go spouting off again Truth..never said he had nothing to apologize for..just didn’t care for the get on your moped and come on down to Williamstown..don’t forget your Charter of Rights and know, the one that allows you to call someone a jackass or a crook without getting your ass kicked.

  41. ok..who keeps giving me thumbs up all the time..Jim?

  42. It appears again we misquote a man’s words. Is it because we do not share his opinion or are we that small minded we need to stir controversy for the sake of controversy.

    He merely stated that we went to war against a tyrant. Tyranny or a tyrant incites an arbitrary or unrestrained exercise of power; despotic abuse of authority. Do we ourselves not accuse our government of that on a regular basis? The very same thing we all accuse Harper of.

    What this appears to be is supporting the liberal government only because it stirs controversy. How small our minds have grown

  43. Hailey, there was no misquote here. It was a poor and inappropriate analogy and a refusal to admit an error in judgement.

  44. When putsch comes to shove… the art of rhetoric falls quite quickly to rancor it seems.

    Our MPP’s sin has been summed up as one of, “invoking the racism, hatred and violence that characterized Adolf Hitler’s Nazi regime to pursue a political agenda.”

    And although the MPP reportedly, “withdrew the comment and apologized”, the quality of the apology is suspect, and B’nai Brith is demanding that he apologize “properly”, and that “blaming others for misinterpreting his words does not constitute an apology.”

  45. @Haley, you write: …again we misquote a man’s words.

    Again? Forget that. There’s a fact more important. Nothing was misquoted. What are you talking about?

    In fact it is you who misquote by saying: “he ‘merely’ stated we went to war against a tyrant.”

    You are hilariously flagrant in your barefaced denial…a spinmeister if I’ve ever heard one.

  46. Simon for goodness sake……an apology is an apology to say the quality of the apology is suspect,… ridiculous. He did not “intentionally” want to harm or hurt anyone. The MPP is not that type of a man. To compare him to Hitler (to paraphrase your comment) is invoking hatred and violence.

  47. That is despicable Tom… what’s your point?

  48. The Williamstown chapter of the LGBT society will be hold a benefit social at Delaneys Pub (Saturday October 13th at 8 pm) night in support of our dear member Ferris, who was assaulted during our recent club event. This horrible act has led to injuries that have hurt his senior mens hockey career.
    We hope all right minded people will come out and show support to our brother
    deepest thanks

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