Politics

Liberals dump Quebec candidate after B'nai Brith, Conservatives allege anti-Semitic comments

The Liberals have dumped a candidate in Quebec after B'nai Brith Canada accused Hassan Guillet of making a number of anti-Semitic and anti-Israel statements.

'The insensitive comments made by Hassan Guillet are not aligned with the values of the Liberal Party'

Imam Hassan Guillet has been dropped as a candidate by the Liberal Party of Canada following claims he made anti-Semitic comments. (CBC)

The Liberals have dumped a candidate in Quebec after B'nai Brith Canada accused Hassan Guillet of making a number of anti-Semitic and anti-Israel statements.

"The insensitive comments made by Hassan Guillet are not aligned with the values of the Liberal Party of Canada," the party said in a media statement.

"Following a thorough internal review process that has been ongoing for a few weeks, the Liberal Party of Canada has made the decision to revoke the candidacy of Mr. Guillet for the riding of  Saint—Léonard Saint—Michel in this fall's election."

Guillet, a member of the Council of Quebec Imams, gained national attention after delivering a speech in Quebec City honouring victims of the Quebec mosque shooting.

In a statement on its website, B'nai Brith Canada said Guillett praised a Hamas-aligned activist, Raed Salah, and had a history of making anti-Semitic comments on social media. The group said it reached out to the Liberal Party more than a week ago to make it aware of their allegations against him.

Guillet responded in a Facebook post on Saturday morning, saying there was more to the story.

"This is not the whole truth and it is not the end. Certainly I will not abandon the thousands of people who have believed in me and want real change," the post begins.

"Soon the truth will be known by all. We have an appointment with history."

In a post on his Facebook account on Friday, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer called on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to "do the right thing, immediately condemn these anti-Semitic comments, and fire this candidate.

"Anti-Semitism is unfortunately all too real in Canada and threatens the safety and security of Jewish Canadians. As political leaders, we need to speak out and condemn it at every opportunity."

In a previous statement issued Thursday — before being dropped as a candidate — Guillet had apologized for some of his past comments regarding the Middle East, without repeating the comments or detailing what they were.

"If these statements could be considered offensive to some of my fellow citizens of Jewish faith, I apologize. My intention was not to offend anyone. The lack of sensitivity of these statements does not reflect my personality or my way of being," he said in French.

"Since then I have evolved. Everyone who knows me, personally or through my works, knows that I am against hate, racism, anti-Semitism and violence regardless of the identity of the perpetrators or victims."

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