Canadian candidate apologizes for not knowing what Auschwitz is
Sep 28 2015
Somebody has admitted to not knowing what Auschwitz was. The agency said that after meaningful conversations with her "we feel that she truly appreciates why her Facebook comments were inappropriate".
If you've been following The True North Times' "Nine Days of Scandal", you already know the name Alex Johnstone. Johnstone and her campaign officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
She accomplished the near-impossible by making her explanation even worse than the original misdeed: "Well, I didn't know what Auschwitz was, or I didn't up until today", she told the Hamilton Spectator Wednesday. She also has a master of social work from McMaster University.
"It's disappointing that you still seem to have people who are living in some cocoon of a lack of general knowledge", said Jon Goldberg, executive director of the Atlantic Jewish Council.
Benlolo said that gap is "much more difficult to swallow" given that Holocaust imagery is so prominent, not only in movies such as "Schindler's List", but also as part of Ontario's school curriculum. Moreover, the Hamilton public board has hosted survivors of the Second World War genocide as guest speakers for years.
A social worker by training, Johnstone is vice-chairwoman of the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board, having been first elected as a school trustee in 2010.
"We expect our staff and students to have an understanding of the Holocaust and believe we should model this as trustees", chair Todd White said.
Johnstone, who is running in the riding of Hamilton West-Ancaster-Dundas, stressed she was sincerely sorry for the remark. "It gives people an excuse for why they wouldn't consider her anymore".
Johnstone had earlier issued an apology on her Facebook page after her comments surfaced via a satirical web-based publication. "It expresses how the curve is normal, natural and healthy right!" she wrote.
Johnstone's opponents are Liberal Filomena Tassi, Conservative Vincent Samuel and Peter Ormond of the Greens. Johnstone, who appears to be in her thirties, claimed she had "heard about concentration camps".
As for the Hamilton Jewish Federation, "we were astonished that a federal candidate didn't know what Auschwitz is", Babij said.
The Auschwitz story took some of the spotlight away from a more substantive party announcement on employment insurance, Graefe noted. Fortunately for the NDP, Johnstone's timing couldn't have been better. However, there's little time to replace Johnstone, he added.
News of the NDP candidate's gaffe blew up just as she was making her case to voters during an all-candidates' meeting at Dundas Baptist Church Tuesday evening.
On Thursday, the candidate in the October, 19 federal election declined to comment on how the fallout was affecting her bid to represent the new riding.