Last Tuesday, campaign workers for Robert Libman, Conservative Party candidate for the riding of Mount Royal, knocked on my door in order to ask whether Libman and Stephen Harper could count on my support. When I told them that I wasn't really interested, one of them proceeded to tap on the mezuzah affixed to my doorpost and said "Ok, but remember what you are."
"What you are!" What I was at that moment was so appalled that I told the campaign worker that statements like that were precisely the reason that I would not be voting for Libman.
Libman did later apologize and said his campaign worker's words were not a reflection of the campaign he is trying to run. I certainly appreciate that.
But why is it that we Jews, especially those living in ridings such as Mount Royal, are seemingly under so much pressure to vote Conservative, and since when have we become one-issue voters? There is no question in my mind that Harper is a good friend to Israel and his stand on the subject is principled and just. But it is telling that, despite the fact that the three main parties have virtually the same stance on Israel, only the Conservatives have decided to turn Israel into a partisan issue.
The Conservatives present themselves as the only pro-Israel party, which is simply not true, and worse yet, they pander to the Jewish community under the assumption that we vote en bloc based on one issue. Personally, I find this to be an insult to my intelligence.
As Jews, we are supposed to be guided by the values of tikun olam ("to repair the world"). I don't see how we would be adhering to that value by blindly voting for a party based on a single issue. I would hope that we're more socially conscious than that.
I am on board with the Conservatives' foreign policy, since I myself am staunchly pro-Israel. I also fully agree that the threat posed by terror organizations such as ISIS is real and needs to be addressed. Then again, so does the Liberal Party.
But I also have specific views on a wide range of other policy and governance issues that will inform my vote.
This election is not something I take lightly, and I was, for a time, considering not even voting at all. Ultimately, I have decided to vote for Anthony Housefather, who has been an exemplary mayor of Côte St-Luc for nearly 10 years. When Housefather came to my door a few weeks earlier, we had talked policy and he had addressed some of my serious concerns about Justin Trudeau, instead of trying to guilt me into voting for him.
What does it say about us a community if we vote for individuals who seem to be campaigning as, first and foremost, representatives of their party's pro-Israel leader, or, for that matter, for such individuals as Conservative backbencher Mark Adler in Toronto, who listed among his qualifications for office "son of Holocaust survivor"? An attempt to use the Holocaust for electoral gain is, in my opinion, the worst and most shameless kind of pandering.
I believe that we're incredibly lucky to be living in a country like Canada, where we have the right to be treated as more than a simple demographic, and I'll be going with the candidate in my riding who, in my opinion, best represents my values and the concept of tikun olam.
Michael Hollander is a Montreal lawyer. He is not a member of any party, but has volunteered for outgoing Liberal MP Irwin Cotler in the past
A few years ago, a group of concerned citizens of the Montreal borough of NDG were pressing the borough mayor, Michael Applebaum, about his activities as a real estate agent while, at the same time, wearing the hat of head of the zoning commission.
Applebaum scoffed at our group, insulted us. Called us a mere "splinter group" that did not represent anyone.
During one of those meetings, I was so disgusted with Michael Applebaum that, having turned away from the microphone, I was moved to return and say, "Mr. Applebaum. you are a very small man."
This drove Marvin Rotrand, Applebaum,'s friend on council, into a rage. Rotrand, threatened to throw us out of the public assembly and ensure that we were never allowed in again.
From the last row of the audience, Robert Libman was heard talking about me. His exact words were, "She's a loose cannon".
Clearly it was meant as an insult, but it pleases me enormously to remember this since Michael Applebaum is now awaiting charges of corruption in the City of Montreal, where he was serving as mayor.
I am beholden to no one and proud to be "a loose cannon" speaking truth without favour. I belong to no party. I refuse to give my precious vote to a lesser evil. I speak to the world. More than 214,000 people from Europe to Australia, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Russia and China have read my reports to date.
Phyllis Carter The NDG Splinters
Phyllis Carter's Journal, Building Camelot One Essay At A Time - http://phylliscartersjournal.blogspot.com.