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Ford’s apparent link of antisemitism, immigrants is ‘dumb’: minister

Immigration Minister Marc Miller says comments made by Ontario Premier Doug Ford that seemingly suggested immigrants were behind recent attacks on Jewish institutions are “dumb.”

“It’s a dumb thing to say, blaming immigrants. No one was blaming immigrants for the trucker convoy,” Miller said at a press conference in Montreal.

“People have a right to protest when they do. There are legitimate forms, and there are certainly illegitimate forms. And those illegitimate forms certainly include targeting, the deliberate targeting of Jewish institutions.”

Miller also condemned these attacks, including Jewish schools in both Toronto and Montreal being shot at this week.

“If you have issues with the Israeli government, taking on Jews in this country is not the solution. Frankly, if that’s your answer, I don’t want your vote,” Miller said.

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Click to play video: 'Doug Ford blasted for comments appearing to be aimed at immigrants'

Doug Ford blasted for comments appearing to be aimed at immigrants

Speaking at a vaccine manufacturing announcement in Toronto on Thursday alongside Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Ontario Mayor Olivia Chow, Ford accused people of bringing “problems from everywhere else in the world” to Ontario following an incident where a Toronto Jewish girls’ school was shot at on Wednesday.

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“I got an idea. Before you plan on moving to Canada, don’t come to Canada if you’re going to start terrorizing neighbourhoods like this. Simple as that,” Ford said Thursday.

“You want to come to Canada, you’re a resident of Ontario, you get along with everyone. I don’t care what background, what religion, what race you come from. You know, diversity is our number one selling tool around the world.”

In an emailed response to Global News, the Toronto Police Service (TPS) said they are still investigating the shooting and do not have suspects at this point. The TPS added they do not track the immigration or citizenship status of suspects.

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Click to play video: 'Ford says he loves ‘every single community equally’ amid fallout over remarks'

Ford says he loves ‘every single community equally’ amid fallout over remarks

On Friday, Ford stood by his remarks which have been called “racist” and “xenophobic” by provincial opposition leader Marit Styles.

Ford told Global News on Friday that he stands by the comments, and his phone has been “blowing up” with people saying he’s “bang on.”

“I stick with what I said. We’re tired of lawlessness from anyone. It doesn’t matter if you’re here, you’re new or whatever. It’s very, very clear. My phone is blowing up from every community saying, ‘You’re bang on,’” Ford said following an announcement in Brampton, Ont.

Miller is not the only federal cabinet minister decrying Ford’s comments. Diversity, Inclusion and Disabilities Minister Kamal Khera took to X to share her thoughts.

“These horrific antisemitic incidents need to stop. And baseless, xenophobic attacks on immigrants aren’t the solution,” she wrote.

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Incidents at Jewish schools, places of worship and businesses have been on the rise since the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas on Israel. According to Statistics Canada, Jews have been the most targeted religious group in police reported hate crimes, with 502 incidents in 2022.

Muslims are the second-most targeted group, with 108 police-reported hate crimes in 2022. According to a November 2023 Senate report on Islamophobia, an additional 1,723 crimes were motivated by racial or ethnic hatred involving Muslim people in 2021.

— with files from Global News’ Aaron D’Andrea. 

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