Skip to main content
Open this photo in gallery:

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks to reporters as he arrives to a caucus meeting in Ottawa on Nov. 8.Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press

The Prime Minister has sharply condemned a “terrifying” rise in antisemitism – including the targeting of Jewish daycares – as well as growing Islamophobia, saying expressions of hate in Canada need to stop.

Justin Trudeau said political leaders need to do everything they can to bring Canadians back together. “This is not who we are as Canadians,” he told reporters in Parliament Wednesday.

“Canadians are scared in our own streets right now,” he said.

His remarks came after Jewish groups reported a steep rise in antisemitism since the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks on Israel.

In Montreal, police are investigating a suspected arson attack on a synagogue and Jewish community centre after the remnants of a Molotov cocktail were found on Tuesday morning. They found pieces of a glass bottle and charred marks on the front door of the synagogue, where a small fire had burned.

“We’re seeing right now a rise in antisemitism that is terrifying: Molotov cocktails thrown at synagogues, horrific threats of violence targeting Jewish businesses, targeting Jewish daycares with hate, this needs to stop,” Mr. Trudeau told reporters in Parliament. “This is not who we are as Canadians. This is something that is not acceptable in Canada, period.”

Ottawa under pressure to publish online safety bill to tackle rising antisemitism

Senators call for federal hate-crime hotline to address rising Islamophobia

Conservative MP Marty Morantz told reporters in Parliament that he had “never thought in my lifetime I’d see antisemitism like this on our streets.”

“The Jewish community is rightfully scared,” he said. “In a country like Canada, this just should not be happening.”

A report by the Senate human-rights committee last week reported a sharp rise in Islamophobia, such as the abuse of Syrian refugee children in Ontario and attacks on Muslim women in Edmonton, including at knifepoint.

Mr. Trudeau also told reporters that “expressions of hate against Muslims, against Palestinians, against anyone waving a Palestinian flag – this is unacceptable. This is not who we are as Canadians. And if Canada can’t figure this out, tell me what corner of the world is going to figure this out.”

“We need to make sure that Canadians are doing what we do best, which is listening to our neighbours, understanding and acknowledging our neighbours’ pain, even though it may be diametrically opposed in its cause to the same pain that we are feeling,” the Prime Minister added.

Conservative deputy leader Melissa Lantsman said Jewish Canadians are “increasingly feeling threatened because of rising antisemitism, as well as certain protests which have glorified terrorism and promoted hatred against the Jewish people.”

Canadian business leaders call for increased safety efforts in wake of rising antisemitism, Islamophobia

Yves-François Blanchet, the Leader of the Bloc Québécois, challenged the Prime Minister in the Commons about whether Montreal Imam Adil Charkaoui committed a hate crime after calling for the extermination of “Zionist aggressors” during a pro-Palestinian demonstration last month.

Mr. Trudeau said his words were “unacceptable and antisemitic.” He said it was up to the police and relevant authorities to decide whether the preacher had committed a crime.

Winnipeg Liberal MP Ben Carr said MPs are seriously concerned about “an escalation in hate and that goes for people in a variety of different communities.”

“We saw this in a very, very real and scary way yesterday with what happened at a synagogue in Montreal,” he told reporters. Mr. Carr said Jewish constituents in his riding have been disproportionately targeted, with swastikas daubed on walls, and threats levelled at community members.

“There was a window shot out at the home of someone two minutes from where I live last week,” he said. “We have people that are taking their mezuzahs, their religious symbol that identifies a Jewish home, off of their doors.”

Follow related authors and topics

Authors and topics you follow will be added to your personal news feed in Following.

Interact with The Globe