Liberal MP Housefather’s appointment to position combating antisemitism delayed by issues about caucus divisions

A proposal to nominate Liberal MP Anthony Housefather to a brand new position combating antisemitism — which has been within the works for weeks — has been held up by issues about divisions within the authorities caucus over the Israel-Hamas conflict, CBC Information has realized.

And sources who spoke to CBC Information — together with one caucus member — are asking how Housefather’s position would differ from the work of Deborah Lyons, the particular envoy on preserving Holocaust remembrance and combating antisemitism.

The proposed appointment got here after Housefather, a Montreal MP, publicly mentioned leaving the Liberal Social gathering in March. He spent weeks mulling his future with the occasion after nearly your complete caucus helped to move an NDP movement criticizing Israel’s conduct in its battle with Hamas. He in the end determined to remain in caucus.

The federal government has been accused by Jewish teams of not being supportive sufficient of Israel, although it has seen its assist erode amongst each Jews and Muslims.

Housefather declined to remark when reached by CBC Information. A spokesperson for the Prime Minister’s Workplace additionally declined to remark.

A senior authorities official — who requested to not be named as a result of they weren’t licensed to remark publicly — stated an announcement concerning the appointment will not be made at this time. 

The official stated coping with the rise in antisemitism and violence directed in opposition to Jewish communities throughout Canada is a precedence for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

The official additionally acknowledged the federal government must determine how the place would work with caucus and with Lyons’s duties. The official stated the federal government is dedicated to combating Islamophobia as effectively.

Information of the doable announcement unfold internally amongst Liberal MPs late Thursday.

Shafqat Ali, a Liberal MP for Brampton-Centre, instructed CBC Information in textual content messages that he believes Housefather just isn’t the appropriate particular person for the job.

“I believe his appointment will not be useful in addressing antisemitism or Islamophobia as a result of he lacks in judgment and has contributed extra in dividing Canadians within the final eight months,” he wrote.

“Ben Carr or Julie Dabrusin, or anybody who has a balanced method, would do a greater job,” he added, referring to the Liberal MPs from Winnipeg South Centre and Toronto–Danforth.

WATCH | Determination to remain in Liberal caucus ‘was not a simple one,’ says MP Housefather  

Determination to remain in Liberal caucus ‘was not a simple one,’ says MP Housefather

‘If I depart, the place are the pro-Israel voices within the Liberal Social gathering?’ MP Anthony Housefather stated in an interview with Energy & Politics after he introduced that he might be staying in caucus regardless of issues about his authorities’s response to the Israel-Hamas conflict.

In a telephone interview, Ali stated he is undecided what Housefather would do within the place that would not duplicate Lyons’s work.

“I do not know if [this job is] along with the posts we have already got, to strengthen them, to assist them, or if there may be no confidence in them,” Ali stated.

Phrase of Housefather’s potential appointment comes at a time when Jewish advocacy teams comparable to B’nai Brith Canada are reporting a file spike in antisemitic acts.

It additionally comes a number of days earlier than the Liberals attempt to maintain the federal using of Toronto-St-Paul’s in a hotly contested byelection. Jewish voters make up roughly 11 per cent of the citizens within the using, in line with Elections Canada information from 2019.

Ali stated he doubts there’s a reference to the pending vote.

“Individuals could have made up their minds so as to solid their votes,” he stated. “I do not know if it will have play in an election.”

The unnamed authorities official additionally disputed the suggestion that the appointment was meant to coincide with the byelection. 

Within the movement handed in March, the Home of Commons referred to as on the federal authorities to work towards the institution of a Palestinian state by way of a negotiated two-state resolution, and stop the additional switch of arms to Israel.

Solely three Liberal MPs voted in opposition to it. One in every of them was Housefather, who then stated publicly he was contemplating whether or not he may keep on with the Liberals.

On April 5, he introduced he would keep. He additionally stated in a media assertion he had “lengthy and necessary conversations with the prime minister … during the last couple of days.”

“We’ve mentioned policing, secure zones between demonstrations and group briefings, college campuses, antisemitism training, the implementation of the Worldwide Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition [of antisemitism] and a lot extra,” he stated.

In an interview with CBC’s Energy & Politics, Housefather stated these conversations with Trudeau helped him determine to stick with the occasion.

“He stated, ‘Come work with me, come work with Deborah Lyons, play a management position on this file and we are going to repair it,'” he instructed host David Cochrane.

On Wednesday, the Conservative Social gathering introduced that Neil Oberman might be its candidate within the using of Mount Royal, which Housefather has represented since 2015.

Oberman is a lawyer who not too long ago represented college students who filed an injunction request in opposition to the pro-Palestinian encampment on McGill College’s campus.

The Liberals have held Mount Royal since 1940.

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