OTTAWA — The federal Green party has accepted an election candidate’s resignation over a social-media post in which he mused about sending pig meat to devotees of Muhammad.
However, the party appears to be standing by another nominee who is being accused of belittling the Holocaust.
Concerns about the candidates flared Thursday as Green Leader Elizabeth May prepared to take part in an evening campaign debate in Toronto.
Erik Schomann stepped down as the party’s nominee for the Ontario riding of Simcoe North shortly after the National Council of Canadian Muslims urged the Greens to drop him.
In a statement Thursday, the party said it has zero tolerance for sexism, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, misogyny, homophobia or hate speech of any kind.
The council pointed out an old photo of Schomann, helping roast a pig, that referred to the controversy over a Danish newspaper’s 2005 publication of cartoons depicting Muhammad, the founder of Islam.
The misspelled caption of the post said: “We sent the left-overs to Denmark in support of the protestors of the Muhammed comic.”
The council stressed the importance of free speech but said “when you start promising to mail pieces of a pig carcass, you can no longer stand with the integrity and moral commitment that all those who wish to be elected must have.”
It noted a pig’s head was left at the Quebec City mosque where a deadly shooting later took place in 2017.
The Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies called Thursday for the Green party to dismiss Dale Dewar, candidate in the Saskatchewan riding of Regina-Qu’Appelle, over social-media posts.
The Canadian Jewish News reported that her past posts called Israel “practically a serial rapist” and Zionism a “made-up cult” and stated that Israelis need “mental health workers” to help with “getting over” their post-traumatic stress from the Holocaust.
In a statement this week, Dewar said she deeply believes in human rights and progressive values, which is why she chose to run for the Greens and has been critical of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.
“I still believe there are serious issues in regard to the Israeli government’s policies in the West Bank and Gaza, however, my past criticisms have gone too far,” she said. “For this I am deeply sorry.”
People and businesses in Israel “do not deserve to be punished for the actions of their state, and Israel absolutely has a right to defend itself against violence,” she added.
She also renounced likening Israel and apartheid South Africa. “My usage of that comparison was a mistake that I deeply regret.”
Dewar’s apology fails to acknowledge her posts were anti-Semitic, said Avi Benlolo, president of the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center. “There is no place in the political process for those who promote bigotry and racial hatred.”
The group has written to May calling on the party to part ways with Dewar immediately.
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