Anti-hate groups and Jewish associations say a now-deleted tweet from long-time Conservative MP Kerry-Lynne Findlay spread potentially dangerous anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.
Over the weekend Findlay retweeted a video clip of a 2009 interview that then-journalist Chrystia Freeland conducted with billionaire investor, George Soros, for the Financial Times.
Findlay commented in her retweet that “the closeness of these two should alarm every Canadian,” a sentiment that was then retweeted by fellow Conservative finance critic Pierre Poilievre.
The tweet was seen by many as a far-right dog whistle.
“She was actually retweeting one of the hard-right conspiracy theorists, who has these dark anti-Semitic images of George Soros,” Bernie Farber, of the Canadian Anti-Hate Network, explained to CTV News.
Soros, a Holocaust survivor, has donated billions of dollars to progressive political causes, a gesture twisted by far right groups making accusations that the 90 year old is trying to control the world.
“I do not believe that Ms. Findlay’s intent was anti-Semitic, but it’s important also to know that even without intent, the affect can be anti-Semitic,” Richard Marceau, with the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs in Ottawa, told CTV News.
The two-minute clip shows Soros answering a question on how then-U.S. President Barack Obama should approach financial relations with China.
Findlay commented in her Saturday post that Freeland, during Soros’ answer, was listening “like student to teacher.”
“Any time these anti-Jewish conspiracy theories are promulgated, they put Jews at greater risk,” Farber said.
Jewish people are still the most targeted group for hate crimes according to Statistics Canada. In 2018, there were 347 anti-Semitic hate crimes.
Just yesterday in Kitchener, two teenagers were captured on video drawing a swastika, something their parents apologized for on Sunday.
Findlay has also apologized for the tweet. She deleted it Saturday afternoon after the backlash.
“Earlier today, I thoughtlessly shared content from what I am now learning is a source that promotes hateful conspiracy theories,” she wrote. She added that she apologized to “anyone who thinks I would want to endorse hateful rhetoric.”
The apology did not address her own comment on the video itself.
Although she’s apologized, it’s a potential challenge for new Conservative leader, Erin O’Toole, who, in his acceptance speech a week ago, promised an inclusive Conservative party.
“If an MP does something that they have to apologize for, then all eyes go to the leader and say ‘What are you going to do about it?'” Lori Turnbull, a political science professor at Dalhousie University, pointed out to CTV News.
So far, O’Toole has remained silent, not making himself available Sunday for interviews. His spokesperson says he had nothing more to add.