On October 16, Canadian politician Jagmeet Singh declared that Israel’s military was sowing “the seeds of genocide” in Gaza. Singh, the leader of a small left-wing party that’s been propping up Justin Trudeau’s minority Liberal government since 2021, has a history of making this kind of unfortunate comment. Indeed, one of his unofficial roles within the progressive Canadian milieu is to confer legitimacy on dubious claims, hoaxes, fake statistics, and conspiracy theories. He’s never had to pay any significant political price for spreading this kind of misinformation, and so likely believed that his smear on Israel would be passed over in similar fashion.
But that’s not what happened. “Yes or no, do you believe Israel is committing or is about to commit genocide?” retorted Anthony Housefather, a Liberal MP. According to media reports, Singh didn’t dare answer the question directly, but instead replied defensively, “I understand there are very real emotions.” Melissa Lantsman, a member of the opposition Conservative caucus (and a descendant of Holocaust survivors), then asked Singh, again, to clarify his views. Singh reportedly refused to do so, but instead vaguely offered that, “we know there are innocent people in Gaza.”