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Ottawa taking legal action to recoup anti-racism funds from Laith Marouf: bureaucrat

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OTTAWA -

The deputy minister for Canadian Heritage says her department has taken legal action in order to recoup funds it doled out to a consultant accused of antisemitism.

The federal government terminated a contract last year with the Community Media Advocacy Centre after it granted the group more than $122,000 for projects to help combat anti-racism.

Ottawa demanded the money back after Laith Marouf, a senior consultant with the centre, was accused of posting antisemitic content on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Deputy minister Isabelle Mondou told a committee this morning that the matter is now before the court, and the department has also hired a collection agency and enlisted the help of the Canada Revenue Agency to help get the money back.

Marouf could not be immediately reached for comment, but when his contract was terminated, his lawyer said at the time that there was a distinction between his client's posts about people he called "Jewish white supremacists" and Jews in general, and Marouf harbours no animus toward the Jewish faith as a collective group.

The department made changes to how it vets funding requests for community and anti-racism projects, and was newly requiring contractors to put into writing that they won't discriminate or espouse hate.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2023.

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