Ahead of Monday’s election, several Jewish organizations in Canada have published transcripts of interviews with Paul Martin, Stephen Harper, and Jack Layton (with Gilles Duceppe to follow). They have also summarized interviews with MP candidates from each party in the Toronto and Montreal areas, and a report on a candidates meeting in Vancouver:
The Canadian Council for Israel and Jewish Advocacy (CIJA), the Canadian Council for Israel and Jewish Advocacy Public Affairs Committee (CIJA-PAC), Canadian Jewish Congress (CJC), the Canada-Israel Committee (CIC), and the Quebec-Israel Committee (QIC) have conducted interviews with the party leaders and selected local candidates on a number of issues including Israel, antisemitism, terrorism and community security.
In general, I’m uncomfortable with anyone who purports to speak for an entire community. But to their credit, these groups have not so much as issued an endorsement; they have asked questions that they think might be of interest to many Canadian Jews, and posted the answers, leaving it up to readers to make up their own minds and draw their own conclusions (for the most part).
This is not going as far as the Canadian Islamic Congress, which has openly been calling on all Canadian Muslims to vote NDP – or strategically Liberal, has published such articles as the one entitled ten reasons not to vote Conservative, and has issued its now-infamous grading of Federal MPs, which seems to rank MPs mainly by their stance on Israel. I, for one, find it extremely insulting that the CIC assumes that Canadian Muslims are incapable of making up their own minds on the issues.
But whether Muslim, Jewish, or any other religion, none of us are party members in a parliament without free votes. No, we are all individual citizens, fully capable of evaluating the candidates and issues, and drawing our own conclusions. Bloc voting may sometimes work inside the House of Commons, but outside it, we are all more than just a label. Not all Jews must vote the same way, any more than all Muslims must vote the same way.
So with all those disclaimers, I’ve posted the transcripts anyway… read them and draw your own conclusions.