During Wednesday’s Question Period, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau answered a question by Conservative MP Melissa Lantsman by accusing her party of standing “with people who wave swastikas.”
Lantsman, who is Jewish, is also a descendant of Holocaust survivors.
Trudeau offered no apology, even when pressed repeatedly by Lantsman herself and other Conservative party members.
Lantsman had pressured Trudeau about his use of inflammatory language to describe citizens who disagree with him, referring to a statement he had made six years ago.
“Positive, optimistic, hopeful vision for public life isn’t a naive dream…If Canadians are to trust their government, their government needs to trust Canadians,” read Lantsman, quoting Trudeau from 2015.
For comparison, Lantsman then summarized one of Trudeau’s comments from 2021.
“These people…very often misogynistic, racist…women haters, science deniers, the fringe. Same prime minister six years later.”
“When did the Prime Minister lose his way – when did it happen?” Lantsman asked.
In response to these criticisms, Trudeau continued his inaccurate claim that Conservative Party members had stood with those that flew swastikas and Confederate flags.
“Conservative Party members can stand with people who wave swastikas,” he said. “They can stand with people who wave the Confederate flag. We will choose to stand with Canadians…these illegal protests need to stop, and they will.”
Lantsman was born to a Russian-Jewish family and is a member of the LGBTQ community.
She has also been a vocal critic of any individuals flying swastikas and Confederate flags at the Ottawa freedom protests.
“It’s possible to respect the right to protest even if you disagree — while condemning the reprehensible symbols used by some who have attached themselves to this convoy. Nazi flags are wrong, always,” Lantsman tweeted on Jan. 29.
The Conservative response to Trudeau’s remarks were swift, with House speaker Anthony Rota reminding everyone – including Trudeau – not to use inflammatory language.
Lantsman replied that Trudeau’s comments were “unbecoming of a prime minister” and demanded an apology.
Trudeau offered none, even when Conservative MP Dane Lloyd – saying his great-grandfather flew 30 missions over Nazi Germany – demanded an apology three more times.
Lantsman later tweeted, “I think the Prime Minister should think long and hard about his own history before singling out a Jewish Member of Parliament and falsely accusing me of standing with a Swastika. What a disgraceful statement unbecoming of anyone in public office – he owes me an apology.”
Numerous other Conservative MP’s have strongly condemned individuals flying Nazi flags, including interim leader Candice Bergen, Michelle Rempel-Garner and leadership candidate Pierre Poilievre.
As of Wednesday evening, Trudeau had yet to offer Lantsman an apology.