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ESSEX, ONT. – Jagmeet Singh said the anti-Semitic comments of two of his party’s resigning candidates were “completely false” as the NDP leader tried to win over coveted Ontario ridings.

“Anti-Semitism is real,” Singh said during a campaign stop in Essex, Ont.

“We are seeing a frightening increase in anti-Semitism, and we unequivocally oppose it, and we will face it.”

The party confirmed on Wednesday that Dan Osborne, the candidate for the Cumberland-Colchester riding in Nova Scotia, and Sidney Coles, the candidate for Toronto-St. Paul’s candidate for Toronto-St. Paul’s, ended their campaigns and “agreed to learn more about anti-Semitism.”

Singh said anti-Semitism had no place in his party and the candidates made the right decision to quit.

“Plus they talk about the importance of training,” Singh said.

Coles, who has since deleted his Twitter account, reportedly posted false information that Israel was linked with missing COVID-19 vaccines.

Friends at the Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies, a nonprofit human rights organization, shared footage allegedly from Coles’ account over the weekend. Coles then apologized on social media.

Osborne reportedly tweeted to Oprah in 2019 asking if Auschwitz was a real place, referring to the Nazi-run concentration camp in Poland during WWII.

He responded to the backlash of the Twitter post over the weekend, saying he tweeted it when he was a teenager.

“I want to apologize,” Osborne tweeted on Sunday. “The role of Auschwitz and the history of the Holocaust is a role that we should never forget.

“Anti-Semitism needs to be fought and stopped. I don’t remember posting this, I was 16 then and can honestly say I didn’t mean to do any harm.”

Jaime Kirzner-Roberts, director of policy at the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies, said in a statement he had been in contact with the New Democrats. He was relieved that the candidates withdrew, he added.

“We thank NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh for his leadership in ensuring this result,” Kirzner-Roberts said.

“Amid rising hatred of Jews in this country, all political parties and leaders must send a loud and clear message that anti-Semitism will not be tolerated in any form.”

A handful of candidates from other parties also dropped out during the election.

Last week, the Conservative Party let down Lisa Robinson, a candidate for Beaches-East York in Toronto, after Islamophobic posts were posted on social media. Robinson claimed the account was bogus and she already reported it to the police.

Liberal Raj Saini resigned earlier in the campaign after facing allegations he harassed a female staff member, says he strongly denies.

Singh condemned Coles’ messages during a campaign shutdown on Tuesday, but did not demand that she resign. At the time, he said the candidate’s “unequivocal apology” was the right thing to do.

Singh did not say on Wednesday why he had not pushed for a resignation earlier, but reiterated it was the right move for the candidates.

New Democrats are filling their schedules for the last push before the election.

Singh was greeted by hundreds of people applauding and waving placards during stops in London West and Niagara Center – both of which became Liberals in the last election. He told supporters to vote with their conscience.

The NDP leader continued to reject that people should follow the idea of ​​voting strategically and stayed focused on Justin Trudeau during the final push.

“There is a cost to voting for the Liberals,” he said.

Singh will also carry his message to the Ontario ridings of Hamilton and Brampton East.

He will end this busy day with a livestream on Twitch, an online gaming site. Singh, who has embraced social media trends and videos, said it was a way to connect with potential voters.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on September 15, 2021.


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