EDMONTON (Feb. 20)
The president of the 15,000-member Alberta Chamber of Commerce, Duncan McKillop, who recently created a stir by saying that he questioned “the extent of the Holocaust,” has been replaced as spokesman for the group.
He will, however, continue to serve out his term as president until May, when the new president, Bill Smith, will take over. Last week, the executive of the Chamber voted to dissociate itself from McKillop’s remarks but he was allowed to retain his title. Smith will act as spokesman in the interim.
McKillop, who made the comments in a recent interview with the Edmonton Journal, said he had “doubts about the numbers in the Holocaust and who they were but not to the point of believing it never happened. There were many Jews killed.” He added: “Everytime you turn on the TV set, there’s something about the “Holocaust. How long do you carry this on?”
McKillop first gained notoriety in co-handling the defense of Jim Keegstra, the Eckville (Alberta) high school teacher who taught that the Holocaust was a hoax. Keegstra’s trial on charges of willfully promoting hatred against Jews begins in April. McKillop blamed the uproar over his comments on “guilt by association” with Keegstra.
CONTINUES TO STICK TO HIS COMMENTS
Alberta Chamber of Commerce general manager Bringham Day said his organization “reiterates its position that the Holocaust is not a Chamber matter” and that it “divorces itself from all comments made by Mr.McKillop.” Day added that McKillop had apologized to Abe Silverman, head of the local chapter of the Canada-Israel Chamber of Commerce. Silverman had threatened to pull his 100-member chapter out of the Alberta Chamber but changed his mind after Day’s statement.
“I think we can put this behind us now,” said Silverman, who is also president of the Edmonton Jewish Federation.
However, even after McKillop was disciplined, he stuck to his comments. He told reporters he has “no idea” how many Jews were killed by the Nazis and that even “various members of the Jewish community will provide you with different figures. I’ve heard as high as 13 million.”