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It Matters Whose in Power 


by Avrum Rosensweig

Now that the elections are upon us issues within our community having to do with political leadership will  begin to heat up.  People just seem to care more nowadays about whose in power. Here are some of the things to watch.

While we hear little from those community members who are supportive of the left wing parties in our parliament they are out there – the ‘quiet minority’.  One question we have to ask ourselves is, why do they feel a need to keep their voices low or more so, why are their opinions muted by the louder majority, those supportive of the Conservative party?  This question speaks to the general minimization of the expression of divergent schools of thoughts.  Inevitably we have to consider too, if the NDP wins as pollsters are saying, will the left do their best to squelch the views of the right?

Another question we are faced with is, it enough that the Harper government is supportive of Israel in his particular way, to garner our vote?  Or is it true, as some political pundits say that the aggressive move to the right within the Jewish community is not only predicated on the PM’s ostensive love of Israel but in fact,  we’ve gotten older and like they always said, have become conservative in nature?

If indeed the mainstream Jewish community will vote Conservative (and there is no reason to think otherwise), how then does this block of community members come to grips with Harper’s immigration and refugee policy which has affectively closed our doors to the ‘stranger’?  How does that group, many fof whom remember the war years and the establishment of the State of Israel, justify laws on our books  criminalizing the exodus of a group of people from their ‘dangerous’ home, and the docking of their boat on our shores?  What do Jewish Harper supporters do with the legislation forbidding most medical care for refugee claimants including asthma puffers for children and pregnancy care for woman in trouble?

On the flip side, how will Liberal/NDP/Green Party supporters deal with our doors swinging open to individuals from stridently anti-Semitic environments and show their hateful colors at anti-Israel rallies?  We only have to go back one-year to Operation Protective Edge to remember the hordes of fundamentalist Muslims and their supporters, in downtown Toronto carrying plack cards such as: “Jewish children to the ovens”. Unfortunately this was not a slight deviation from traditional Canadian and Jewish values of love and caring.  How will the left handle an influx of hateful individuals through a more generous refugee and immigration policy?

The Harper government has successfully changed the complexion of Canada and how this election will play out.  Whereas we used to be peacekeepers, we are now the soldiers.  Whereas we used to except the judiciary as a crucial way of ensuring democracy remained in check, that is now in question.

Whereas we used to extend a particular brand of Canadian compassion to the vulnerable, including those imprisoned, we are now stricter, more punitive.  Whereas debate in parliament was held high above our heads in its importance like a groom at a wedding, it is now limited.

This election and the time leading up to it is different than in previous years. Its temperature represents the new Canada. It is a passionate time and rooted in ideology and issues. The Jewish community, like the rest of Canada, will take sides, and never again will we say, ‘it just doesn’t matter whose in power’.

avrum.rosensweig@veahavta.org

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This entry was posted on August 20, 2015 by in Uncategorized.
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