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PC candidates accuse NDP of ignoring anti-Semitism within the party

Last Updated May 25, 2018 at 11:58 am EDT

Two Progressive Conservative candidates in the upcoming provincial election claim Andrea Horwath is ignoring anti-Semitism within the NDP.

Speaking to the media on Friday, Todd Smith and Gila Martow claim that Scarborough-Agincourt NDP candidate Tasleem Riaz has openly shared pro-Nazi memes on social media and praised Adolf Hitler online.

“We all know that you don’t post this kind of thing by accident. You don’t post Nazi messages on social media by mistake,” Martow said.

“It goes without saying that having Ms. Riaz on the ballot is offensive to every Jewish person in Ontario and it’s offensive to every race and nationality who were murdered by Ms. Riaz’s apparent hero.”

As well, Smith said Riaz has previously accused Canadian soldiers of war crimes.

“Before being recruited as an NDP candidate, Ms. Riaz had an active presence on social media. For instance, she accused the brave men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces of war crimes saying that they were ‘slaughtering innocent men, women and children in Afghanistan.'” Smith said.

“I’m sorry Ms. Riaz, our troops are not war criminals. They’re heroes in the eyes of most Ontarians.”

In a statement released to the media shortly after the allegations were made, Riaz said she was “horrified” about the meme appearing on her Facebook page.

“I am horrified that an inappropriate meme was on my Facebook page. I don’t recall sharing it in 2013 – and at no point in my life would I have done so intentionally,” her statement read.

“I am an interfaith advocate, and I have devoted my life to interfaith religious tolerance and freedom. I work closely with the Jewish, Hindu, Christian, Sikh and Muslim communities in my neighbourhood. In every way, I find Hitler, the hate he spewed, and the genocide he committed to be abhorrent.

“I live and work, day to day, to advocate for all people to love and respect others of all faiths. I can’t understand how this happened, and I’m devastated that it has.”

Both Martow and Smith say the NDP has had a history of courting anti-Semitic candidates and when confronted about it they claim Horwath doesn’t take the issue seriously.

“Over the past several days we have been shining a bright light on the kinds of people Andrea Horwath has recruited as NDP candidates,” Smith said.

“Ms. Horwath may try to laugh it off, claim that she’ll put her MPPs through a training program, but the fact is that behind closed doors her NDP have recruited extreme and radical candidates far outside the Canadian mainstream.”

The allegations are coming on the same day a new poll found the NDP are headed for a majority government in Ontario.