The now-deleted tweet that originated from Kerry-Lynne Findlay, a long-time Conservative MP, spread possibly dangerous anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, according to anti-hate groups and Jewish associations. On Saturday, Findlay retweeted a video clip of a 2009 interview that the then Financial Times journalist Chrystia Freeland conducted with billionaire investor, George Soros.
In her tweet, Findlay stated that the closeness of the two should alarm every Canadian. Fellow Conservative finance critic Pierre Poilievre then retweeted the sentiment. The tweet was viewed by many as a far-right dog whistle. Bernie Farber, of the Canadian Anti-Hate Network, said she was retweeting one of the hard-right conspiracy theorists, who had the dark anti-Semitic images of George Soros.
The far-right groups accused Soros of trying to control the world after the 90-year-old Holocaust survivor donated billions of dollars to progressive political causes. Richard Marceau, with the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs in Ottawa, said he did not believe that Ms Findlay’s intent was anti-Semitic. However, he said it was essential to know that the effect can be anti-Semitic even without intent.
The two-minute clip reveals Soros responding to queries on the way the then-U.S. President Barack Obama could approach financial relations with China. On her Saturday post, Findlay said that Freeland, in Soros’ answer, was listening “like a student to teacher.” Farber added that any time the anti-Jewish conspiracy theories are promulgated, Jews are put at greater risk. According to Statistics Canada, Jewish people are still the most targeted group for hate crimes. There were 347 anti-Semitic hate crimes in 2018.
On Saturday in Kitchener, there was a circulating video showing two teenagers drawing a swastika, but their parents made an apology on Sunday. Findlay has also expressed regret for the tweet after deleting it on Saturday afternoon after the backlash. She wrote, “Earlier today, I thoughtlessly shared content from what I am now learning is a source that promotes hateful conspiracy theories. I apologize to anyone who thinks I would want to endorse hateful rhetoric.”
However, her apology did not point out her statement on the video itself. Even though she apologized, there would be a potential challenge by the new Conservative leader, Erin O’Toole, who promised an inclusive Conservative party in his acceptance speech a week ago. Lori Turnbull, a political science professor at Dalhousie University, said that all eyes go to the MP and say ‘What are you going to do about it’ if he/she does something that they have to apologize for.