16:40 GMT26 January 2021
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    This is the second time this year that a member of the opposition Conservative Party faces accusations of anti-Semitism over mentioning George Soros in the context of his alleged ties to the Canadian finance minister.

    A party whip in Canada's Conservative Party, John Brassard, has dismissed allegations of anti-Semitism against him after a member of Parliament from the governing Liberal Party, Omar Alghabra, accused him of peddling hateful conspiracy theories.

    Alghabra claimed that it was Brassard who yelled "George Soros" in the middle of a speech by Canadian Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland on 8 December as she was being grilled by the opposition on her plan to restore the economy after the pandemic. The Liberal lawmaker claims the outburst was referring to a conspiracy theory about Freeland purportedly cooperating with the billionaire in secret. Soros, in turn, is routinely featured in various anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.

      People demonstrate, outside the office of the ruling party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski, holding banners with the images of from left, financier George Soros ,President of the European Council Donald Tusk and First Vice-President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans, during a protest, in Warsaw, Poland, Wednesday, July 26, 2017
    © AP Photo / Czarek Sokolowski
    People demonstrate, outside the office of the ruling party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski, holding banners with the images of from left, financier George Soros ,President of the European Council Donald Tusk and First Vice-President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans, during a protest, in Warsaw, Poland, Wednesday, July 26, 2017

    Brassard, however, strongly rejects accusations of anti-Semitism, while stopping short of denying that the comment in question was made by him.

    "There was nothing in what I said that was in any way anti-Semitic. I’m not going to sit here and take what they’re doing in this situation lightly", Brassard said.

    His comment came in response to Alghabra calling on him to apologise for the Soros comment with which, according to the Liberal lawmaker, Brassard had "peddled" a hateful conspiracy theory. Alghabra reminded Brassard that one of his fellow party members, Kerri-Lynne Findlay, had also recently ended up in hot water over bringing up Soros in relation to Freeland and later apologised.

    In August 2020, Findlay retweeted a Twitter post that featured a video of Findlay having an interview with Soros during her time as a journalist, with the original tweet made by an account reportedly engaged in spreading conspiracy theories. In the caption to the retweet, the Conservative lawmaker expressed concern over the "closeness" between Soros and Freeland, who was purportedly "listening carefully to him like student to teacher". Findlay, however, took down the tweet hours later, apologising for sharing content from "a source that promotes hateful conspiracy theories" and denying accusations of trying to endorse "hateful rhetoric".

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    lawmaker, accusations, Anti-Semitism, Canada
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