CIJA committed to political neutrality: a message from our general counsel

Oct 7, 2019 | CIJA Publications

CIJA has always been deeply committed to fostering participation in the political discussion in Canada. We believe that when our community participates in democratic life, our collective voice is heard, and that makes Canada a better place for our community and for all Canadians.

While CIJA encourages all members of our community – including our own leadership – to be fully engaged in the political process, we cannot and do not sanction any partisan activity undertaken in the name of the organization. For legal reasons, and as a point of principle, CIJA is staunchly non-partisan and adopts a strictly neutral stance on all issues related to partisan preferences. As the advocacy agent of JFC-UIA and Jewish Federations across Canada, we are bound by many legal obligations including guidelines clearly outlined by Canada Revenue Agency.

Yesterday, it came to our attention that campaign material prepared for a candidate included endorsements from a variety of prominent individuals within the Jewish community, including one of CIJA’s lay leaders. Because the individual was identified as a CIJA leader, the comments may have reasonably been construed as an endorsement by the organization. This is not the case. The inclusion of organizational affiliation in this testimonial was neither intended nor authorized.

We contacted the relevant campaign and alerted them to the situation. The candidate in question immediately volunteered to withdraw the pamphlet from circulation and conveyed unqualified regret for the misunderstanding. Moreover, we have contacted all political parties to re-affirm our neutrality and asked that they ensure no campaign material they produce includes any partisan endorsement by CIJA of candidates or political parties. CIJA cannot and will not sanction any partisan activity undertaken in the name of the organization.

Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

G’Mar hatima tova,

Richard Marceau, LLB, BCL
Vice President, External Affairs and General Counsel

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