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The Exchange: Time to Get On Board

Dec 1, 2015 | Uncategorized

This post is a part of The ExchangeThe opinions expressed by contributors shared on The Exchange do not necessarily reflect the policies or the positions of CIJA, its staff, and its board of directors.


It is no secret that the Conservative Party of Canada under Stephen Harper was typically seen as the party for which Jewish people should vote. To those who know me, it is also no secret that I would never – and did not ever – cast a vote for any candidate put forward by the Conservative Party of Canada under Stephen Harper. I was a Conservative at one time, but that ended when Peter McKay was defeated in the leadership run that saw Stephen Harper take the helm. After that fateful day, I took leadership positions with the Green Party of Canada and later as an active volunteer with the Liberal Party of Canada. I found each had something to offer me that was better than the Conservative Party of Canada.

For years, I have had to defend my support for parties other than “the Tories,” even though, in my mind, “Tory” has become a historical term and – due to its merger with the Reform Party and Canadian Alliance – no longer one that should be used to describe the Conservative Party of Canada. I recognized that Harper was a strong leader and good to Israel, but I knew that the support for Israel was not a Conservative value or foreign policy, but a Canadian one. Nevertheless, people always reverted to the mantra of “Harper is a friend of Israel, and all the other leaders will be Israel’s enemy.”

Hogwash, I say!

And recent votes by Justin Trudeau at the United Nations prove it to be just that. Here is text from the Canadian Jewish News on November 26, 2015:

In the first test of its support for Israel in international forums, the new Liberal government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has voted against a raft of Arab-sponsored United Nations resolutions targeting the Jewish state.

Moreover, the article continues to state that:

Canada’s votes were unchanged from last year, continuing a more Israel-friendly shift at the UN that began with former Liberal Prime Minister Paul Martin and continued under former Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

I think we have just dispelled the myth that only the Conservative Party of Canada can stand up for Israel and be a friend to Israel.

There are strong Pro-Israel Members of Parliament in our Parliament. They are scattered on both sides of the aisle in the House of Commons and the Senate. It is our job as Canadians to interact with our MPs to make sure that they truly, truly, truly represent us in the way that we want. So, get to know your MP. Whether you voted for him or her, or not, it doesn’t matter….you need to get on board and make sure that Canada moves forward as a nation and doesn’t regress.

I understand that many are still unhappy with the result of the election. I feel for you. I had to live for a long time with a government that I didn’t like. But I nevertheless stayed active and worked as well as possible with my MP…a Member for whom I did not vote.

Now you need to do the same.‎

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