Former Canada Green Party candidate accused of hate speech for denying Holocaust

Former Green Party of Canada candidate Monika Shaefer

Human rights complaints have been filed against a former candidate for Canada’s Green Party after she posted online videos in which she denied the Holocaust occurred.

The complaints were launched recently after two videos surfaced of Monika Schaefer, who ran for the party in Alberta. In one titled “Sorry Mom, I was wrong about the Holocaust,” the Canadian-born Schaefer talked about being teased as a child of German immigrants.

She said she now understands her mother’s claim of not knowing about the mass murders of Jews “because these things did not happen.”

Schaefer, a resident of Jasper, Alberta, described the Holocaust as “the most persistent lie in all of history”; claimed that prisoners at Nazi death camps “were kept as healthy and as well-fed as was possible”; and asserted “there were no gas chambers” in the camps.

Schaefer appeared in a second video produced by a group called Committee for Open Debate on the Holocaust.

“If the evidence supported the Holocaust,” she said on the video, “they wouldn’t need laws prohibiting debate. They would show us the evidence. Only lies need to be protected by laws. The truth stands on its own.”

Her statements led fellow Jasper resident Ken Kuzminski to file complaints against Schaefer with the Alberta Human Rights Commission and the Canadian Human Rights Commission, alleging her remarks constitute hate speech.

Schaefer was the federal Green Party candidate in an Alberta electoral district in 2006, 2008 and 2011. She was rejected as a candidate for the district prior to the 2015 federal election and in a 2014 by-election.

Green Party Executive Director Emily McMillan in a statement called Schaefer’s comments “outrageous and shocking,” adding that Schaefer “has no standing within the Green Party of Canada, and her views are exclusively her own.”

In response to the video, Tal Toubiana, the director of community relations and communications for the Jewish Federation of Edmonton, was hesitant to give Schaefer any further attention.

“Any media coverage inadvertently gives her a larger audience and platform,” he told CBC News.

Despite that, he is quoted as saying: “I find it curious that a woman who allegedly faced bullying based on her country of origin would rather continue a cycle of irreflexive hate than reflect deeply on the wounded history and trauma the Holocaust did create.

“The Holocaust is a historical event that is not only undeniable in regards to the facts and documentation of its existence, but in the collective trauma it created. Ms. Schaefer is a product of the very trauma she claims does not exist.

“Genocide sadly has not stopped at the Holocaust and lives continue to be lost all over the world. Perhaps we should shift our conversation away from those who choose to put on blinders rather than face pain, and discuss how we can combat hate and indifference in our world.”

The Green Party has announced its plans to terminate Schaefer’s membership. “In light of Ms. Schaefer’s untrue statements made in a recent online video, we will be initiating the process to terminate her membership with the Green Party of Canada at the earliest possible opportunity,” Ms. McMillan said.

The Green Party’s policy for termination of a member states a member may be expelled by a resolution of Federal Council or a General Meeting of members. The Party will request a motion be put forward to terminate Ms. Schaefer’s membership at its next Federal Council meeting.

“I am shocked by comments made by Ms. Schaefer and I condemn her terribly misguided and untrue statements,” said Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada (MP, Saanich-Gulf Islands). “Ms. Schaefer does not represent the values of the Green Party nor of our membership.”

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