Linda Frum resigns from Senate to focus on antisemitism

Linda Frum

Conservative Linda Frum has announced her retirement from Canada’s Senate to focus on combating antisemitism.

In an announcement posted to social media on Aug. 6, Frum said she will step down on Aug. 27, the 12th anniversary of her appointment to the upper chamber by former prime minister Stephen Harper.

Frum said she has “done my utmost to champion important causes, including protecting the integrity of Canadian elections from the threat of foreign influence, denouncing human rights abuses by the malign regime in Iran, and combating the surge of antisemitism at home and abroad.”

Frum currently serves as the chair of the board of the UJA Federation of Greater Toronto. She told the Toronto Star in an interview that she feels compelled to focus her attention on antisemitism.

“It’s the one hatred that remains socially acceptable still,” Frum said. “I want to drop everything and work on that problem.”

She told the Star her decision has nothing to do with the possibility of an upcoming election and how the Conservatives are polling.

She said she informed Conservative party leader Erin O’Toole a year ago that she intended to leave at the end of this summer.

“This is really only about me, and my life, and nothing to do with the leader,” she was quoted as saying.

Frum turned down an interview request from The CJN.

Of late, Frum asked pointed questions of the government leader in the Senate about Canada’s funding of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).

In June, she lashed out at the appointment to the Senate of Hassan Yussuff, former leader of the Canadian Labour Congress, charging that he was an “Israel-hating BDS supporter.”

She said with the naming of Yussuff, the Senate had become “a place where Jew-hatred is becoming normalized and loathing of a democratic ally, Israel, is becoming mainstreamed.”

Along with former Liberal MP Michael Levitt, Frum introduced the Canadian Jewish Heritage Month Act, which made each May a month of recognition for Jewish Canadians.

In her statement announcing her retirement, she said she’s looking forward to returning to Jewish communal work.

In her role as chair of UJA Federation of Greater Toronto, “I will devote my energies to our organization, meeting the needs of our most vulnerable members and ensuring the resilience of our Jewish communal institutions in the wake of the pandemic.”

Frum, 58, is a past chair of the Women’s Division of the United Jewish Appeal and a former board member of the Canada-Israel Committee.

In a tweet, retiring Thornhill MP and fellow Conservative Peter Kent said the “increasingly dysfunctional Upper Chamber (Trudeau’s folly) is losing an articulate champion of reason, common sense + integrity. A force, as well, in unifying Canada’s previously fragmented Conservative movement. Best wishes to Linda in her undoubtedly worthy new ventures.”