Quebec news program falsely claims 8,000 Jews crossed border in 48 hours

- Canada’s federal government is refuting a claim made by a Quebec television network news program that reported “8,000 Jews” had arrived at the border to attend Passover seders in Quebec.

When asked for a comment on the report by TVA News in which Jean-Pierre Fortin, president of the customs workers union, alleged 8,000 mostly Jewish people had come through the Lacolle border post in the last 48 hours, Quebec Premier Francois Legault said he was worried about any gathering that would be taking place in upcoming days for both Passover and Easter, reported CTV News.

On Friday, TVA News created advertisements for the interview with a banner that read “8,000 Jews in 48 hours at the border.”

Condemnation on social media was swift, with comments accusing the news program of antisemitism.

CIJA-Qc, a Quebec Jewish advocacy organization, tweeted, “It is simply shameful to present false information that only stigmatizes an entire community. We should expect better from a seasoned host like Mario Dumont. And yet…”

A government spokesperson told CTV News that the information reported by TVA was inaccurate. The source said that between March 24 and 25, 7,557 travelers crossed the border into Quebec through all border points, and not just the Lacolle border crossing, with the majority of the trips made by essential workers, such as truck drivers who are exempt from the 14-day quarantine rule.

The hasidic community in Montreal retains a close relationship with the hasidic community in New York City. It’s not uncommon for members of both groups to attend holiday celebrations in the other's city.