Diversity Minister condemns CRTC for not severing ties with consultant under fire for tweets

Needed but questions remain regarding how Canadian Heritage and CRTC decisions to provide funding to the Community Media Advocacy Centre were made. Recommended by officials (“activists on a pension”) and/or pushed by the political level:

Diversity Minister Ahmed Hussen says he is “surprised and disappointed” by the federal broadcasting regulator’s decision not to ban an anti-racism organization that employs Laith Marouf, a consultant who has been widely condemned for a series of derogatory tweets about “Jewish white supremacists” and francophones.

The Minister made his comments on Friday to the Commons heritage committee, which had summoned him so he could explain how his department’s anti-racism unit had granted the organization, called the Community Media Advocacy Centre, a contract to run an anti-racism project in which Mr. Marouf was to play a key role.

CMAC has been paid over $500,000 to participate in proceedings held by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, Canada’s broadcasting regulator. Most of the money was provided by the Broadcast Participation Fund, an independent body set up by the CRTC to administer payments to public-interest groups taking part in those proceedings.

The Broadcast Participation Fund told The Globe and Mail in a statement on Friday that it was “currently reviewing the CMAC matter.” The fund is paid into by broadcasting companies, which have no influence over who receives the money.

Opinion: Ahmed Hussen demands to know how someone else let his government partner with an apparent antisemite

A spokeswoman for the CRTC said on Thursday that the regulator would not ban CMAC from its proceedings because it would be inappropriate “to establish lists of parties that may or may not participate.”

At Friday’s committee hearing, Mr. Hussen told MPs that he had been warned by Liberal MP Anthony Housefather about Mr. Marouf’s offensive tweets on July 19th or 20th – a month before the Minister spoke out publicly.

Facing sharp questioning from MPs, the Minister admitted that the Heritage Department’s vetting process failed when it decided to pay $133,000 to CMAC to run the anti-racism project.

Mr. Hussen apologized to Jewish and francophone communities, which he said Mr. Marouf has “continuously attacked with his hateful comments.”

He said it was “completely unacceptable” that “this individual fell through the cracks” and was approved to run a government-funded project. The Heritage Department, which he said approved the funding before he became Diversity and Inclusion Minister, has now cancelled the initiative and is asking CMAC for its money back.

“The antisemitic, hateful and xenophobic comments made by Laith Marouf … I condemn them in the strongest possible terms,” Mr. Hussen said. “The fact that the Community Media Advocacy Centre received federal funding while employing Mr. Marouf is unacceptable and should quite frankly never have happened.”

CMAC describes itself as a non-profit organization supporting the “self-determination of Indigenous, racialized and disabled peoples in the media through research, relationship-building, advocacy and learning.”

Mr. Marouf denies he is antisemitic or racist. He said in an interview that CMAC is currently in discussions with the Heritage Department about the contract. CMAC and Mr. Marouf had already started the project when it was terminated.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in August that the government has launched a complete review of funding for CMAC. He added that it was unacceptable “that federal dollars have gone to this organization that has demonstrated xenophobia, racism and anti-Semitism.”

Mr. Hussen told MPs that CMAC would be blocked from applying for any future funding. He said he has introduced tighter vetting procedures for such contracts, including an obligation to check social media profiles for hateful speech. And he said his department’s contracts now include a clause that allows them to be terminated if hate speech comes to light. He said he has paused all new departmental contracts until more checks are made.

Jewish groups, including the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Centre, called on the CRTC to follow the government’s lead in severing ties with Mr. Marouf and CMAC, and to ban the organization from taking part in regulatory proceedings.

“Laith Marouf’s hateful statements should have disqualified him, and CMAC, from access to any government funding, let alone to money from an anti-racism program,” said Shimon Koffler Fogel, president of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs. “It is imperative that the values promoted by the government be reflected in the orientation and work of their partners outside government.”

Conservative MP Kevin Waugh told the heritage committee that CRTC chairman Ian Scott and Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez should both be summoned to appear before the committee to explain their organizations’ links to CMAC.

Rachael Thomas, a Tory MP, and Melissa Lantsman, deputy leader of the Conservative Party, issued a statement saying “Canadians deserve answers” from Mr. Rodriguez.

Source: Diversity Minister condemns CRTC for not severing ties with consultant under fire for tweets

Ottawa improving vetting process to keep Heritage grants away from groups promoting hate: Hussen

Failure at the bureaucratic or political level, or both? Will the results of this review and the new vetting procedure be made public?

Housing, Diversity and Inclusion Minister Ahmed Hussen says the Department of Canadian Heritage will be improving its vetting process to make sure it doesn’t give money to organizations that espouse hatred — and those that do could be banned from future funding.

In an interview with CBC’s The House airing Saturday, Hussen said the federal government giving $133,000 to the Community Media Advocacy Centre to develop and run an anti-racism strategy for broadcasters indicated a failure of the vetting process.

In posts on social media, CMAC’s senior consultant Laith Marouf talked about “Jewish white supremacists,” referred to some Indigenous and Black individuals using the term “house slave” and spoke about francophones in Quebec using the slur “frogs.”

“The fact that this slipped through the cracks is a slap in the face to the Jewish community and the francophone community, and many other communities, and for that I sincerely apologize,” Hussen told host Catherine Cullen.

The Liberal government has cut funding to an outside group it hired to deliver anti-racism training after it was discovered that one of the group’s leaders made antisemitic remarks in social media posts.

“This incident reflects a failure in the vetting system that not only missed Marouf’s despicable language online but failed to reveal this information later on to correct the error.”

Hussen said department vetting processes will be strengthened and any organization found to have spread hateful views could be barred from receiving future funding.

Organizations would “not only have their [existing] funding cut, but they will be ineligible to receive any future federal dollars — they will be ineligible to apply to any programs from the Department of Canadian Heritage,” Hussen said.

He said no new federal money will be granted by Canadian Heritage until the new processes are in place.

Diversity and Inclusion Minister Ahmed Hussen talks about how the federal government ended up granting money to the Community Media Advocacy Centre and what he is doing to make sure similar mistakes can be avoided in the future.

Liberal MP criticizes initial response

Liberal MP Anthony Housefather flagged the comments to Hussen’s office in July and has said he was “disappointed” in the department’s response prior to the announcement that funding would be cut. Hussen said Saturday he quickly tasked his office with investigating and coming up with solutions, but now wishes the process had moved more quickly.

Prominent Jewish figures in the Liberal Party have been outspoken about the need for action on the funding. Former Liberal MP Michael Levitt, now president and CEO of the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Centre, said on Twitter he was “utterly disheartened” by the Marouf affair.

“Taking a stand against antisemitism should be a given and yet so few of my former Liberal colleagues have done so. This truly hurts. Jewish MPs shouldn’t be left to call this out alone,” he wrote.

Shimon Koffler Fogel, president and CEO of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, said earlier this month the tweets showed a need for revamped oversight policies at Canadian Heritage.

The Canadian Press reported last month that a lawyer acting for Marouf asked for his client’s tweets to be quoted “verbatim” and distinguished between Marouf’s “clear reference to ‘Jewish white supremacists”‘ and Jews or Jewish people in general.

Marouf does not harbour “any animus toward the Jewish faith as a collective group,” lawyer Stephen Ellis said in an email.

Source: Ottawa improving vetting process to keep Heritage grants away from groups promoting hate: Hussen

Trudeau promises complete review of funding to anti-racism group after ‘vile’ tweets

Needed. Will be interesting to see how comprehensive the review will be and the degree to which the  the findings will be public and candid:

The federal government is conducting a “complete review” of funding to an anti-racism group whose senior consultant sent a series of tweets about “Jewish white supremacists,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday.

The government has put a stop to all funding to the Community Media Advocacy Centre and is putting in place procedures “to make sure this never happens again,” he said at a press conference.

“It is absolutely unacceptable that federal dollars have gone to this organization that has demonstrated xenophobia, racism and antisemitism.”

Last week, Diversity Minister Ahmed Hussen, who was also at the press conference, cut $133,000 in government funding to the Community Media Advocacy Centre and suspended an anti-racism project it was overseeing after “reprehensible and vile” tweets posted by its senior consultant, Laith Marouf, came to light.

Trudeau’s comments come as other past funding for the organization is scrutinized.

Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Marc Miller said this week that he wants money provided to CMAC under the Canada Summer Jobs program in 2018 to be clawed back.

He said a grant application by CMAC for $2,882 under the program, which offers work experience to people aged 15-30 and is run by Employment and Social Development Canada, was reviewed at the time by his constituency office in Ville-Marie, Que.

CMAC was approved to receive that amount, but ultimately only got $795, according to a spokesman for Marci Ien, the minister for women, gender equality and youth, who publicly launched the program this year.

“Not a single cent of government money should go to organizations that harbour anti-Semitic views,” Miller said on Twitter. He said he has never met Marouf, whose views he called “despicable.”

A spokeswoman for Miller’s federal department said “clearly, this organization should not receive additional funding.”

“After funding had been allocated, Laith Marouf made antisemitic comments that are reprehensible and inconsistent with the objectives of the Canada Summer Jobs program,” Miller’s office added.

Shimon Koffler Fogel, the CEO of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, said his organization appreciates Miller’s “clear and unambiguous statement regarding the importance of government funding not going to groups harbouring and espousing antisemitic views.”

“We call on the ministries involved to be transparent and provide details about their investigations into the systemic failures that led to this inappropriate funding in a timely fashion,” he added.

Opposition MPs are calling for a full audit of funding to CMAC from government departments and through federal programs, including for its involvement in proceedings run by Canada’s federal broadcasting regulator.

CMAC describes itself on its website as a non-profit organization supporting the “self-determination of Indigenous, racialized and disabled peoples in the media through research, relationship-building, advocacy and learning.”

The Twitter account for Marouf, a consultant for the organization, is private. But a screenshot posted online shows a number of tweets with his photo and name.

One tweet said: “You know all those loud mouthed bags of human feces, aka the Jewish White Supremacists; when we liberate Palestine and they have to go back to where they come from, they will return to being low voiced bitches of (their) Christian/Secular White Supremacist Masters.”

Stephen Ellis, a lawyer for Marouf, distinguished between Marouf’s “clear reference to ‘Jewish white supremacists”‘ and Jews or Jewish people in general.

Marouf does not harbour “any animus toward the Jewish faith as a collective group,” Ellis said in an email.

“While not the most artfully expressed, the tweets reflect a frustration with the reality of Israeli apartheid and a Canadian government which collaborates with it,” Ellis said.

Public records show that CMAC has received about $500,000 in funding since 2016 to act as a public interest group in proceedings run by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission.

The money came from the Broadcast Participation Fund, an independent body that was stood up by the CRTC to pay for public interest groups’ participation in CRTC matters.

In 2021, CMAC also took part in CRTC consultations on regulations amending the accessibility reporting requirements for broadcasters and telecommunications companies.

According to publicly available documents detailing payments, Marouf and his wife, Gretchen King, whose name also appears on CMAC company filings, were both paid for taking part in the proceedings.

They were paid using money from a deferral account held by Bell, which the company agreed to have the CRTC distribute to public interest groups on its behalf. Bell declined a request for comment.

CMAC did not respond to requests for comment.

But Ellis, Marouf’s lawyer, said the centre’s work had been valuable and contributed greatly to the proceedings.

The lawyer said what “is very clear from CMAC’s filing and the CRTC decision is that if it were not for CMAC’s efforts, Indigenous, racialized and women disabilities groups would have been absent from the proceedings to rewrite CRTC policies to comply with the Accessible Canada Act and its clauses reaffirming the intersectionality of oppressions.”

Peter Julian, the NDP heritage critic, is calling for Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez and CRTC officials to appear at the House of Commons heritage committee when Parliament returns to discuss an apparent lack of “due diligence” before paying CMAC.

“It is obvious there was no vetting at all, and that raises a bunch of disturbing questions,” he said.

John Nater, the Conservative critic for Canadian heritage, also said the minister should answer questions before the committee. “We believe it imperative that the minister provide answers at committee and explain how this was allowed to happen.”

Fellow Tory MP Melissa Lantsman said she will present a petition from her constituents to the House of Commons asking for a public inquiry. She said an independent body should examine all historical funding to CMAC.

She criticized Rodriguez for not speaking out about the tweets. “The most vile thing about this is the silence,” she said.

Rodriguez declined to comment.

Tory MP Dan Albas, who sits on the Commons finance committee, said the government needs to examine all funding of CMAC.

“There has been radio silence over what they are going to do to get to the bottom of it,” he said.

Source: Trudeau promises complete review of funding to anti-racism group after ‘vile’ tweets

Canadian Jewish community expectations:

“What I know is that the minister now has all the information, appreciated the challenge it poses, and has publicly committed to a series of remedies. We will judge him on what flows from that commitment over the coming days.”

During a press conference on Aug. 29, Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino (Eglinton—Lawrence, Ont.) announced that the Heritage Department will conduct an extensive review of the funding being distributed through Ottawa’s anti-racism strategy to ensure no additional funds are directed to organizations or individuals who promote hateful content.

Fogel said the review will need to determine what deficiencies in the department’s decision-making process led to a grant being awarded to the CMAC. He added that CIJA will judge Hussen and the Liberal government based on the outcome of that review.

Shimon Koffler Fogel, president and CEO of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, says his organization will be satisfied if Housing and Diversity Minister Ahmed Hussen’s ‘actions support his undertaking and commitment’ regarding the CMAC funding scandal. Photograph courtesy of the CIJA

“If, over the coming days, [Hussen’s] actions support his undertaking and commitment, I think we would be quite satisfied with his management of the issue. But there are many moving pieces,” said Fogel in the email.

On Aug. 23, Liberal MP Anthony Housefather (Mount Royal, Que.) told the National Post thathe alerted Hussen about Marouf’s anti-Semitic social media posts before the issue was reported on widely, and argued action could have been taken more quickly.

Fogel suggested that an appearance by Hussen before the House Heritage Committee would provide a valuable opportunity to address the issues in an open and accountable way.

“There are many dimensions of the issue regarding which there is conflicting information, including when the minister became aware of the problem and what steps were taken to address it,” wrote Fogel. “I cannot speak to the timeline regarding when [Hussen] was first made aware of this specific issue. However, there are many possible explanations for the absence of visible action for a number of weeks. He may have referred it to the department. He may have required legal advice, since a legal contract had to be considered.”

Fogel said the federal government’s response to this funding scandal must include full disclosure about how the grant was awarded to CMAC, and a new protocol regarding future grants that shows the government “has translated its learning into a better way forward.”

“The goal should be not just the identification of where the process went wrong—and in this case, it went very wrong—but more importantly, what generic procedures should be put into place that will ensure such things do not happen in the future,” said Fogel in the email.

The Hill Times reached out to Hussen to ask about Housefather’s claim that swifter action could have been taken in regards to suspending the CMAC funding. A spokesperson for the minister responded that anti-Semitism, hate, and racism in all its forms have no place in Canada, and that Hussen’s office is leaving no stone unturned in this matter.

“We thank MP Housefather for bringing this individual to our attention, as our government does not tolerate this hatred, and we have informed CMAC that their funding was cut and their project was suspended,” read the emailed statement. “We have also instructed the department of Canadian Heritage to identify how CMAC was able to access funding in the first place, and to look for immediate solutions when it comes to properly vetting funding applicants, including any individuals they employ or partner with. Minister Hussen is working with his colleagues to ensure that programs that are both within and outside of his purview are assessed with strong processes, in order to ensure nothing like this ever happens again.”

The Hill Times contacted Canadian Heritage to ask about the vetting process in awarding government grants for organizations, and about how the process might be refined going forward, but did not receive a response by deadline.

Conservative MP Melissa Lantsman (Thornhill, Ont.), who is Jewish, told The Hill Times that the funding scandal is indicative of a systemic issue.

“Anti-racism in this government doesn’t seem to include anti-Semistism,” said Lantsman. “There is a trust issue now here.”

Lantsman said that she favours a full review of Heritage, the vetting process behind awarding grants, and the timeline of when Hussen was made aware of Marouf’s social media posts.

“There’s a culpability of the government trying to take what they think is quick, corrective action to sweep this under the rug while not addressing the actual problem,” said Lantsman. “I want to be clear. The government has not addressed this as a wider issue, [other] than to cut funding after more than a month after they’ve been caught.”

NDP MP Matthew Green (Hamilton Centre, Ont.), his party’s ethics critic and a member of the Parliamentary Black Caucus, told The Hill Times it would be strange for anyone to pin the blame for the funding scandal specifically onto Hussen, given the decision was made before Hussen assumed responsibility for the diversity portfolio that falls within the Department of Heritage. Hussen was sworn in as minister of housing and diversity on Oct. 26, 2021.

Green said it is the Liberal government’s responsibility to “take meaningful action beyond individual people.”

“What I’m looking for out of this government is not about individual actors within the government, but an actual commitment that they’re going to follow through on the outcomes around anti-racism,” said Green. “This goes well beyond Minister Hussen, who, in the right moments, has said the right things, and I think has supported the right initiatives.”

Green said he supports a review of Heritage Canada, and any government department that deals with “the procurement of outside organizations who may be engaged in harmful behaviours.”

“What we have found within the Liberal government [is] that they speak the language of equity, diversity and inclusion, but it’s often the case that they fail to have the corresponding outcomes in their actual governing, and that is certainly not constricted to Minister Hussen,” said Green. “I think it speaks to the culture of the seriousness of the issue. My hope is that [the Liberals] would hold a high standard of scrutiny and due diligence on funding for all agencies, in all departments, that are government funded … and learn from this situation, and move forward.”

Source: Diversity Minister Hussen will be judged based on result of review into CMAC funding, says Jewish advocacy group

‘Powerful tools of White Supremacy’: Embattled anti-racism group speaks out to supporters

Their website is certainly on the extreme woke side, with no information on the board of directors or consultants (which may have been scrubbed following the justified criticism of its orientation and tweets of Marouf).

Hard to understand how their public website info didn’t raise any flags, even if Marouf’s racist tweets were not known:

The organization embroiled in a scandal after receiving a $133,000 government contract for an anti-racism project, even though one of its founders had sent a slew of bigoted tweets, has finally spoken out, issuing an email to supporters that says “online and mainstream media are powerful tools of White Supremacy.”

In the email, the Community Media Advocacy Centre (CMAC) says it received a letter from the Department of Canadian Heritage suspending the anti-racism project for the broadcasting sector they had been working on.

It marks the first time CMAC has spoken publicly about the scandal.

The scandal first broke last week when The Canadian Press reported on a series of anti-Semitic tweets from Laith Marouf, a senior consultant with CMAC. At the time, Ahmed Hussen, the minister of diversity, inclusion and youth, said the government would “look closely at the situation involving disturbing comments made by the individual in question.”

Still, months earlier, in April 2022, when the project was announced, Hussen praised it in a press release: “In Canada, diversity is a fact, but inclusion is a choice. Our government is proud to contribute to the initiative,” Hussen said.

While Marouf’s tweets are private, The Canadian Press reported on screenshots. One such tweet said: “You know all those loud mouthed bags of human feces, aka the Jewish White Supremacists; when we liberate Palestine and they have to go back to where they come from, they will return to being low voiced bitches of thier Christian/Secular White Supremacist Masters.”

Marouf’s lawyer, Stephen Ellis, asked that The Canadian Press quote Marouf’s tweets “verbatim,” and said there was a difference between Marouf’s “clear reference to ‘Jewish white supremacists,’” and Jews or Jewish people in general.

Marouf does not harbour “any animus toward the Jewish faith as a collective group,” The Canadian Press reported.

By Monday, Hussen announced the government had cut funding to the CMAC project.

“The antisemitic statements made by Laith Marouf are reprehensible and vile,” Hussen said in a statement posted to Twitter. “We call on CMAC, an organization claiming to fight racism and hate in Canada, to answer to how they came to hire Laith Marouf, and how they plan on rectifying the situation given the nature of his antisemitic and xenophobic statements.”

Then, Anthony Housefather, a Liberal member of Parliament, said he had warned Hussen about Marouf’s statements prior to the media catching wind of them.

“I said the contract had to be cancelled. I alerted him and I persistently communicated with the minister in his office, from the day I learned about it, until today, and aggressively demanded that action be taken,” Housefather told the National Post. “Action could have been taken more quickly.”

Housefather also said there needs to be a “thorough review in the department of Heritage as to how this happened” and processes need to be put in place to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Friday’s statement does not address the questions raised by Housefather or Hussen.

“From Turtle Island to Palestine, CMAC continues to see the need for an anti-racism strategy for broadcasting that disrupts settler-colonialism and oppression in the media,” it said.

The email also urges patience on the part of organizers for events across Canada, and said it would be suspending events for the time being while it considers how to respond to Canadian Heritage.

Marouf has a long history of edgy tweets: He has claimed Israel was the creation of “White Jews who adopted Nazism,” and said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is the head of an “Apartheid” colony.

Irwin Cotler — a Jewish-Canadian and former Liberal justice minister — was called the “Grand Wizard of Zionism” and a man who “looks like a d–k without makeup.” In 2021, Marouf said “Jewish White Supremacists” deserve only a “bullet to the head.”

Source: ‘Powerful tools of White Supremacy’: Embattled anti-racism group speaks out to supporters 

Urback: Ahmed Hussen demands to know how someone else let his government partner with an apparent antisemite

Fair comment and good advice as to how the Minister should have handled it “A reasonable response from Mr. Hussen would be for him to come out and explain that the Heritage Ministry did not do its due diligence in this case, but that it is developing specific protocols, which will soon be publicly disclosed, to vet grant recipients.”

Screw-ups happen, but bureaucratic and political-level vetting needs to improve.

Non-accountabilities, as non-apologies, that shift the blame to others undermine trust and credibility:

Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion, is demanding accountability: How could someone else have let his government pair up with a guy who spews noxious, hateful views on Twitter for an anti-racism project? What will someone else do to make it better? And how can someone else ensure that this sort of thing never happens again?

Last year, a group called the Community Media Advocacy Centre (CMAC) received a grant of $133,800 from the Department of Canadian Heritage to develop an anti-racism strategy for Canadian broadcasting. Laith Marouf, a senior consultant with CMAC, was spearheading the project according to a news release from April, though he still found time to tweet about “loud mouthed bags of human feces aka the Jewish White Supremacists,” and why they deserve “a bullet to the head.” In other tweets, Mr. Marouf also called former justice minister Irwin Cotler the “Grand Wizard of Zionism” and former U.S. secretary of state Colin Powell a “Jamaican house-slave.”

A lawyer acting for Mr. Marouf told CBC that while his client’s tweets target “Jewish White Supremacists,” the consultant does not harbour any animus toward Jews in general – which is true only if you ignore tweets such as the one where Mr. Marouf explained why he “stopped sharing the works of Jewish White people, even if anti-Zionist/anti-Imperialist.” Perhaps he’s one of those “do as I say, not as I do” diversity and inclusion lecturers.

Canadian tech blogger Mark Goldberg had been writing about Mr. Marouf’s zany interpretation of anti-racist activism for at least a year, but it wasn’t until his observations were amplified by Quillette editor and former National Post columnist Jonathan Kay that thousands of Canadians became aware of the person the Canadian government had contracted to teach others about prejudice. Yet it still took more than a week – and one false start with a vague statement from Mr. Hussen about his ministry looking to “rectify” the matter – before the government announced that CMAC’s funding would be cut and its project suspended.

In that announcement, Mr. Hussen was adamant that there would be accountability: Not from his ministry or from Canadian Heritage to explain how they vet grant recipients and/or what they will do to make sure this sort of thing doesn’t happen again, but from CMAC, “to explain how they came to hire Laith Marouf, and how they plan on rectifying the situation given the nature of his anti-Semitic and xenophobic statements.”

“We look forward to a proper response on their next steps and clear accountability regarding this matter,” Mr. Hussen’s statement concluded, affirming that with this government, the buck stops elsewhere. “I want to assure Canadians that our government has and will continue to fight anti-Semitism and hate in all its forms.”

By this government’s telling, then, the feeble Ministry of Heritage – with its billion-dollar budget and more than 1,800 employees – was hoodwinked by an organization harbouring an antisemite right there on its public list of consultants. Maybe Google was down for the many months Mr. Marouf was working with the Heritage department, thus preventing anyone from searching his name. Or maybe they just thought Mr. Marouf’s Twitter persona was an elaborate bit because no anti-racism lecturer with any knowledge of right-wing white supremacy would seriously use the phrase “Jewish White Supremacists,” since bona fide white supremacists obviously do not consider Jewish people to be white.

For a government that has made self-flagellation a matter of routine – that declared itself complicit in Indigenous genocide and rarely shies away from an opportunity to apologize for a past injustice – its cabinet ministers seem awfully shy to take responsibility now. Perhaps that’s because this is not something that can be blamed on Canada generally, but on this government specifically – a government that accidentally gave an apparent frothing antisemite permission to lecture Canadian broadcasters on racism.

The expectations for this government are not high. A reasonable response from Mr. Hussen would be for him to come out and explain that the Heritage Ministry did not do its due diligence in this case, but that it is developing specific protocols, which will soon be publicly disclosed, to vet grant recipients. But such a response could only be expected of a government actually interested in accountability. This government is only keen on the appearance thereof – that and foisting the blame on an organization that apparently hoodwinked an entire ministry.

Source: Ahmed Hussen demands to know how someone else let his government partner with an apparent antisemite

Liberal government cuts funding, suspends anti-racism group’s project after tweets

Should never have happened.

Officials need to do a better job in G&C applications vetting, including social media of the organization and key staff to reduce future risks:

The Liberal government has cut funding for an anti-racism group and suspended work on a project it was running after a member of the group made antisemitic remarks in a social media post.

“Antisemitism has no place in this country. The antisemitic comments made by Laith Marouf are reprehensible and vile,” Housing, Diversity and Inclusion Minister Ahmed Hussen said in a statement posted on Twitter Monday.

“We have provided notice to the Community Media Advocacy Centre (CMAC) that their funding has been cut and their project has been suspended.”

Marouf, a senior consultant on an anti-racism project that received $133,000 from the federal government, posted the controversial remarks on his Twitter account. The account is private but a screenshot of the post showed a number of tweets with his photo and name.

One tweet said: “You know all those loud mouthed bags of human feces, aka the Jewish White Supremacists; when we liberate Palestine and they have to go back to where they come from, they will return to being low voiced bitches of [their] Christian/Secular White Supremacist Masters.”

Last year, the Community Media Advocacy Centre (CMAC) received a $133,800 Department of Canadian Heritage grant to build an anti-racism strategy for Canadian broadcasting.

The Liberal government has cut funding to an outside group it hired to deliver anti-racism training after it was discovered that one of the group’s leaders made antisemitic remarks in social media posts.

Marouf is listed as a senior consultant on CMAC’s website and is quoted saying that CMAC is “excited to launch” the “Building an Anti-Racism Strategy for Canadian Broadcasting: Conversation & Convergence Initiative” with funding support from Heritage’s anti-racism action program.

He expressed gratitude to “Canadian Heritage for their partnership and trust imposed on us,” saying that CMAC commits to “ensuring the successful and responsible execution of the project.”

Marouf is not antisemitic, says lawyer

In Hussen’s statement, he called on CMAC to explain how it came to hire Marouf and how it plans to rectify the damage caused by his “antisemitic and xenophobic statements.”

“We look forward to a proper response on their next steps and clear accountability regarding this matter,” he said.

The Canadian Press reported last week that a lawyer acting for Marouf asked for his client’s tweets to be quoted “verbatim” and distinguished between Marouf’s “clear reference to ‘Jewish white supremacists”‘ and Jews or Jewish people in general.

Marouf does not harbour “any animus toward the Jewish faith as a collective group,” lawyer Stephen Ellis said in an email.

Source: Liberal government cuts funding, suspends anti-racism group’s project after tweets

Lilley of the Toronto Sun:

At noon Monday, Diversity Minister Ahmed Hussen tweeted out that he was cutting the funding from the Community Media Advocacy Centre.

The Montreal based group received a $133,822 grant last September for a program called Building an Anti-Racism Strategy for Canadian Broadcasting. It had already held workshops in Vancouver, Montreal and Halifax with events still scheduled for Calgary, Winnipeg and Ottawa.

A major problem, though, were the comments from the man leading these sessions, Laith Marouf. He has called “Jewish White Supremacists” “bags of human feces,” said that French is an ugly language, and that “Frogs have much less IQ.” He once called Colin Powell the “Jamaican house slave of the Empire.”

Marouf’s lawyer said that Marouf does not have “any animus toward the Jewish faith as a collective group” and said his tweets made a clear distinction between “Jewish White Supremacists” and Jews in general.  But that explanation is difficult to accept.

That’s not the kind of person who should be lecturing another human being on racism.

“The anti-Semitic comments made by Laith Marouf are reprehensible and vile,” Hussen said in a statement.

“We have provided notice to the Community Media Advocacy Centre (CMAC) that their funding has been cut and their project has been suspended.”

Hussen called on CMAC to explain how they came to hire Marouf, given that the group is supposed to be about fighting racism and hate while Marouf’s comments were “anti-Semitic and xenophobic.” The minister should be pushing CMAC to answer those questions, but he has to answer many himself.

How did this group and Marouf get funding in the first place?

How could Hussen end up being quoted in an April press release with Marouf when a simple search would have turned up many of his vile comments?

Will anyone be held accountable for this?

We used to have ministerial accountability in our government; ministers would resign when their departments messed up. There’s no doubt that the government did mess up, not just Hussen’s department, but also Canadian Heritage which approved the grant.

Speaking to government insiders to get a sense of how this came to be shows a series of missteps across four different ministers, two departments and many months. The grant was approved last September as Canada was in the middle of a federal election.

The grant had been making its way through the system at Heritage Canada which was then overseen by then-minister Steven Guilbeault. While the grant was funded by Heritage, it was handed out by the Minister of Diversity, Inclusion and Youth which at that time was Bardish Chagger.

By the time the government got around to actually handing out the money and making and making an announcement, Pablo Rodriguez was the minister at Heritage and Hussen had taken over the diversity file. It appears that the vetting process wasn’t fully followed because the people in charge assumed others had or would do the vetting required.

On the one hand, I am tempted to cut the government some slack because their contract was with CMAC, not Larouf, but he’s been with them for years. This was not a new hire; he’s featured on their website and was likely central to their application.

According to government sources, had the contract been directly with Marouf, he could have been fired immediately. Since the contract was with CMAC, the government had legal advice they had to follow before the contract could be terminated.

There is now an internal review to see how this happened, and the government is looking at their options, including whether any funding can be recovered from the group.

They should be reviewing the entire anti-racism training industry they are supporting. As I’ve written previously, it appears to a sham.

It took the Trudeau government longer than it should have to fix their mistake, but at least they are fixing it.

Source: LILLEY: Firing anti-racism group took too long given trainer’s racist comments

Feds probe ‘disturbing’ tweets by consultant on government-funded anti-racism project

One of the things I learned when working under the Conservative government was to ensure we checked social media posts of those in leadership positions in groups applying for G&C funding. We learned this the hard way when political staffers would flag particularly egregious or overly ideological postings, thus removing the proposal from being considered.

And of course, this needs to be applied broadly and consistently across organizations and funding requests:

The federal diversity minister says he’s taking action over “disturbing” tweets by a senior consultant on an anti-racism project that received $133,000 from his department.

Ahmed Hussen has asked Canadian Heritage to “look closely at the situation” after what he called “unacceptable behaviour” by Laith Marouf, a senior consultant involved in the government-funded project to combat racism in broadcasting.

Marouf’s Twitter account is private but a screenshot posted online shows a number of tweets with his photo and name.

One tweet said: “You know all those loud mouthed bags of human feces, aka the Jewish White Supremacists; when we liberate Palestine and they have to go back to where they come from, they will return to being low voiced bitches of thier (sic) Christian/Secular White Supremacist Masters.”

Marouf declined requests for comment, but when asked about the tweet, a lawyer acting for Marouf asked for his client’s tweets to be quoted “verbatim” and distinguished between Marouf’s “clear reference to ‘Jewish white supremacists,’” and Jews or Jewish people in general.

Marouf does not harbour “any animus toward the Jewish faith as a collective group,” lawyer Stephen Ellis said in an email.

Last year, the Community Media Advocacy Centre received a $133,800 Heritage Department grant to build an anti-racism strategy for Canadian broadcasting.

Marouf is listed as a senior consultant on CMAC’s website and is quoted saying that CMAC is “excited to launch” the “Building an Anti-Racism Strategy for Canadian Broadcasting: Conversation & Convergence Initiative” with funding support from Heritage’s anti-racism action program.

He expressed gratitude to “Canadian Heritage for their partnership and trust imposed on us,” saying that CMAC commits to “ensuring the successful and responsible execution of the project.”

Hussen, who is based in the Heritage Department, said in a statement: “We condemn this unacceptable behaviour by an individual working in an organization dedicated to fighting racism and discrimination.”

“Our position is clear — antisemitism and any form of hate have no place in Canada. That is why I have asked Canadian Heritage to look closely at the situation involving disturbing comments made by the individual in question. We will address this with the organization accordingly, as this clearly goes against our government’s values,” Hussen added.

CMAC did not respond to a request for comment.

Irwin Cotler, a former Liberal justice minister who was appointed as Canada’s special envoy on antisemitism by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, said Marouf’s tweet referring to “loud mouthed bags of human feces” was “beyond the pale.”

Cotler said he plans to speak to officials working in the Heritage department on combating racism about the issue.

Shimon Koffler Fogel, president and CEO of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, said Canadians “should be appalled” by his tweets.

“Canadian Heritage must review its oversight policies to ensure Canadian taxpayer dollars are provided to groups committed to cherished Canadian values and to combating racism, hate, and discrimination,” he said.

Source: Feds probe ‘disturbing’ tweets by consultant on government-funded anti-racism project