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Accusations of anti-Semitism fly from floor of legislature on final day of fall sitting

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Accusations flew across the floor of the legislature on the final day of the fall sitting as the government accused the NDP of being anti-Semitic, leading to an MLA being expelled from the legislature.

“The NDP and the Canadian left in general has a serious and obvious antisemitism problem,” said Jeremy Harrison, the government house leader.

It goes back to an incident last month where a group of protestors chanted a phrase that Jewish groups call anti-Semitic. The government accused the NDP of having helped orchestrate the protest.

“The rioters were introduced by the NDP, given passes to the building by the NDP,” Harrison said.

The NDP denied playing a role in the November protest that had briefly disrupted house proceedings.

“Mr. Speaker, I’m not going to go into too much detail addressing the offensive slander we’ve just heard from the government house leader,” said NDP MLA Meara Conway.

The speaker asked both sides to apologize for being disrespectful to each other.

“I will not withdraw and apologize to the government house leader,” Conway replied.

Conway was kicked out of the house for the day. Harrison apologized but repeated his accusations before the media.

“This government is deeply concerned about the rise of antisemitism and what we are seeing across the country, around the world and here in our own jurisdiction, right here in this chamber,” he said.

Conway stood her ground that the chant used by protestors was not meant to be anti-Semitic.

To them when they use the slogan, it’s a call for peace, for human rights. It’s a contested slogan,” she said.

Her leader disapproves of the phrase, “from the river to the sea.”

“There’s absolutely no doubt that the term is deeply, deeply offensive,” NDP Leader Carla Beck said.

The government will consider measures to ensure that another protest never occurs inside the legislative building.

The number of visitors in public galleries was restricted to 20 for a week following the protest. The NDP hope it doesn’t lead to future restrictions on public access or limitation on free speech.

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