Like many of you, I’m a shareholder of several widely-held companies.  Whether it be directly, or indirectly via a pension plan or ETF, the Canadian public owns a huge share of the TSX 60 equity box. 

If you spent any time over the past three weeks reviewing the websites of these or other publicly-listed firms, you’ll find a plethora of corporate press releases, colour photographs and donations regarding matters of high-profile public concern.  You can probably guess which topics are most commonplace, but I’ll save you the effort:

  • Anti-Black Racism
  • Anti-Asian Hate
  • Climate Change
  • Diversity
  • Inclusive Economic Opportunity
  • Mental Health
  • Truth & Reconciliation

Something seems to be missing from that list.

In the wake of the Hamas terror attack, several dozen U.S. and global companies “took a workplace pledge to fight antisemitism” at the encouragement of the ADL. Accenture, adidas, AEG, Google, New York Life, the NBA, etc, all signed up.  A few days ago, a local initiative saw 80 Canadian business and community leaders sign a joint letter asking all levels of government “to ramp up safety efforts for citizens in response to the rise of antisemitism and other forms of hate over the past several weeks.”  If you looked through the list of 80 names, you’d be encouraged that it represented a wide variety of religious faiths and backgrounds.

This was a great initiative, but it’s just a start.

Corporate Canada needs to take anti-Semitism as seriously as it’s been taking many other difficult issues over the last decade.

  It should not have to fall to Brent Belzberg, David Ossip, Heather Reisman, Dani Reiss and Gerry Schwartz to speak up on this topic on behalf of the millions of Canadians who either work for, or own the shares of, the TSX 60.

This is not to second-guess the rationale of the firms that took public positions on any number of high profile matters, such as anti-Black racism, Climate Change, Indigenous reconciliation / career advancement or LGBTQ rights.  It was the right thing to do for your many stakeholders. I’d hope that it has become clear now, sadly, that it’s high time to add anti-Semitism to your list of corporate social causes. Publicly.  Particularly if you’re a Christian, as a majority of us still are in this country.

Over the past thirty-six hours, we’ve witnessed many high-profile displays of anti-Semitism around the world: at airports, universities, a B.C. Rabbi’s residence. Your kid’s big concern so far this week was their Hallowe’en costume, but 20 Jewish schools in Paris had to be evacuated due to a series of bomb threats.  Closer to home, a “Pro Palestinian Rally” on Sunday in Milton, Ontario featured chants that included “destroy the Zionists.”  I’d be surprised if the stories of despair, fear, pain and anger that CEOs heard from many within their team and client base in the wake of George Floyd’s death in May 2020 weren’t echoed over the past three weeks by their Jewish staff and customers. I’m certainly hearing it on a daily basis.

Many firms were quick to announce sanitized corporate donations to support humanitarian and relief support overseas following Oct. 7th, just as they’d do following a forest fire, earthquake, or tsunami.  Given what is going on in our streets, I’m concerned that this traditional corporate PR reaction is going to be seen as sufficient. Red Cross donations won’t address the widespread displays of anti-Semitism that we are witnessing in real time in too many Canadian cities.

I’m not telling Corporate Canada to do anything that isn’t consistent with their existing approach to matters of important public and social interest (see prior post “Be either consistent, or silent — there can be no middle ground” Oct 19-23).  But the days continue to pass, and if you’ve been vocal on other social / political topics, your staff, customers and shareholders must wonder what the silence is all about.     

Canadians need to publicly tackle this new wave of anti-Semitism.  We can’t be shy about it, even if you’re not prepared to call-out the worst excesses (see prior post “My Canada does not include the Hamas flag” Oct 15-23).  The TSX60 must urgently use its corporate voice to tackle the shocking, omnipresent, and daily scourge of anti-Semitism in our communities. 

If not us, then who? If not now, what more will it take?


(this post, like all blogs, is an Opinion Piece)

Mark McQueen: Funder of growth companies + public service roles. Pearl Jammer. Opinions are my own; Not investment advice. Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Check out my Substack at