Adler won’t apologize for Holocaust reference

Questionable judgement. May be valid to note in a bio but on a sign?

Conservative candidate Mark Adler is defending a reference to the Holocaust on his campaign signage, which has led to claims that he’s exploiting an atrocity to win votes in the Toronto riding of York Centre.

A photo of one of Adler’s campaign signs has been making the rounds online; the sign makes the observation that he is “the son of a Holocaust survivor.” It caught the eye of The Walrus’ editor-in-chief Jonathan Kay, who posted photos of the sign on Twitter Sunday.

“Who needs Yad Vashem when Holocaust awareness is now being promoted on partisan Conservative signage?” Kay wrote on Twitter. (paywall)

As Robyn Urback notes:

The problem is that his message still only speaks to a proportion of his constituents, and it loses all tact when it’s blown up to 30-inch text. What’s more, with the spotlight now pointed in his direction, Adler’s other claims have become the subject of scrutiny, including his long-held assertion that he is the first Canadian MP born to Holocaust survivors. According to the Canadian Jewish News, the designation actually belongs to former Liberal MP Raymonde Falco. None of this really matters, of course, except maybe to show how easily experiences are cheapened when they’re turned into mere talking points.
I have no doubt that Adler didn’t intend to trivialize the experience of the Holocaust by using it for partisan gain, but that also doesn’t really matter. In politics, perception trumps intention, and in this case, the delivery was about as tactful as listing colitis on the “about me” section of a dating profile. The fact that your parents were viciously persecuted during the Second World War isn’t exactly on the same level as a pledge to keep the “economy strong,” which is why they look so strange sharing space on a campaign billboard. Some things simply do not lend themselves to bullet points.

Were your parents chased by Nazis? Vote Tory

I never felt the fact that my maternal grandparents were killed during the Holocaust made me more or less qualified to represent the Government at the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance.

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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