Aug. 17, 2015

    Vote For Me Because My Father Survived The Holocaust, Says Toronto MP

    Conservative MP Mark Adler has sparked controversy by running election posters that tout himself as the son of a Holocaust survivor.

    Mark Adler, the Conservative MP for York Centre, is asking people to vote for him in part because his father survived the Holocaust.

    Mark Adler MP. Looking out for and representing the diverse community that is York Centre.

    Election signs posted around his riding list reasons to vote for Adler. One is "Son of Holocaust Survivor." The signs also tout his "strong support for Israel."

    Over 21,000 of the 113,000 people in Adler's riding identify as Jewish, according to Statistics Canada.

    And who needs Yad Vashem when holocaust awareness is now being promoted on partisan Conservative signage?

    Adler's father Abram lived through the Lodz ghetto as a child, and was transferred to Auschwitz at the end of the war.

    Adler has frequently raised this history. He wrote an op-ed in the Jewish Tribune that begins "As the only Member of Parliament who is also a Holocaust Survivor..." He's also spoken about it in the House of Commons.

    But his approach and his claims are causing controversy. The second line of Adler's online bio says "He is the first child of a Holocaust survivor to ever be elected as an MP." It looks like this is not true.

    The Canadian Jewish News debunked this claim. The first son of a Holocaust survivor to become a member of Parliament appears to be former Montreal Liberal MP Raymonde Folco.

    Folco told the Canadian Jewish News she thought Adler's signs were "disgusting" and said he was using the Holocaust for personal ends.

    Adler has been criticized for his politicking before. In 2014 he was caught on camera pleading with a PMO staffer to get into a photo op with Stephen Harper at the Western Wall in Jerusalem.


    "Jeremy, can I get in?" Adler is heard saying to staffer Jeremy Hunt.

    When Hunt says no, Adler replies "It's the re-election! This is the million dollar shot."

    After Hunt rebuffs him a second time, Adler asks "Can you get him over here later to shake hands or something?"

    Adler also caught heat for banning a fellow Jewish MP, Liberal Irwin Cotler, from an event in Israel. Adler later ducked questions from reporters on the story by claiming to take a call from a constituent. The resulting bizarre video can be seen here.

    Israel is, as always, a touchy subject for all political parties. Just a week ago the NDP turfed Nova Scotia candidate Morgan Wheeldon when his criticism of Israel in an old Facebook post was unearthed.

    BuzzFeed Canada reached out to Adler for comment but has not yet heard back. A campaign worker named Matt said Adler would call us back if he finds some free time. We'll update this story if he does so.

    Paul McLeod is a politics reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, DC.

    Contact Paul McLeod at

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