Who are the pro-Israel candidates in the 2019 Canadian election?

Canadian polling station entrance (Flickr)
Canadian polling station entrance (Flickr)

The Canadian federal election is coming up very soon, on Monday to be exact. A lot is at stake for Canada and of course its foreign policy, such as its relationship with Israel. There are known pro-Israel candidates from every party, even if it is just one or two candidates.

Let’s begin with the Conservative Party of Canada. The Tories have been known for their prominent support of Israel, which gained a lot of support from the Jewish community, especially during the tenure of Stephen Harper, who was arguably the most pro-Israel world leader before Donald Trump.

The candidates to look out for in the Conservative Party include long-time MPs Peter Kent, Erin O’Toole, and David Sweet. All three have been supporters of Israel and the Jewish community throughout their tenures as MPs and I do not imagine they will stop their much-appreciated advocacy. All have made very positive statements regarding Israel, whenever there is a time that Israel is in some sort of conflict.

Additionally, Garnett Genuis has just served his first term as an MP, however, he also has been outspoken about his support for Israel and the need for peace in the Middle East as a whole. A brand new candidate to keep an eye out on is David Tordjman, who is running in Mount Royal. While he has no experience in federal political office (he does at the municipal level), he too understands the issues facing Israel and the Jewish community.

Onto the Liberal Party. The Liberal Party once had the majority of support for pro-Israel and Jewish voters, though since the Harper years it has shifted to the Conservatives. Nonetheless, multiple Jewish candidates are running for re-election, with two candidates with specific outspoken support for Israel. Unlike the Tories, the Liberals have not promised to move the Canadian Embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem or freeze funding to UNRWA.

Those two Liberal candidates are Michael Levitt and Anthony Housefather. Michael Levitt is the chair of the Canada-Israel Interparliamentary Friendship Group and has heavily advocated for Israel and the Jewish for the government’s side during his term as MP and as chair of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development. The same thing goes for Anthony Housefather, also a member of the Canada-Israel Interparliamentary Friendship Group, and as a chair Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, which has studied online hate with great detail.

The Liberals dropped a candidate (Hassan Guillet) in Montreal due to past statements that were deemed antisemitic by the party. Despite this, there is still another anti-Israel candidate running in the Montreal area. Sameer Zuberi is on the ballot in Pierrefonds-Dollard even though he led an initiative to defund his campus’ Hillel and was at the centre of an anti-Israel riot in 2002.

The newly-established People’s Party of Canada (PPC), also has a few pro-Israel candidates on its ballot, such as Salim Mansur and Tahir Gora. Both Gora and Mansur are Muslim reformists and while they are not Jewish, they two are supporters of the State of Israel. It should be known that one of Maxime Bernier’s advisors, Martin Masse, has had a past history of anti-Israel statements.

The New Democratic Party (NDP) is Canada’s most prominent party with socialist ideals.  They frequently run anti-Israel and antisemitic candidates. In some cases they drop candidates, in and in some cases they do not drop candidates over comments made regarding Israel.

With that in mind, there still is an incumbent NDP in BC, by the name of Randall Garrison who is one of the vice-chairs of the Canada-Israel Interparliamentary Friendship Group. Garrison is the best-known NDP caucus member who has supported Israel’s right to exist, even though he does critique the current government of Israel.

The last party that will be mentioned is the Green Party of Canada. The Greens initially adopted BDS, only to overturn the adoption four months later. There is a candidate in Thornhill who is Jewish and supports Israel by the name of Josh Rachlis. While he does not have any political experience, he does give a minor pro-Israel voice to the Green Party.

There are many more pro-Israel candidates that could be listed for each party, however, the ones listed are the most prominent.

Despite the likely results of the Canadian election, which seems to be heading for a minority government, there is very likely going to be pro-Israel representation across party lines.

About the Author
Jakob is a pro-Israel activist and researcher. His focus is on ensuring that the hidden aspects of antisemitism and anti-Zionism bring discussion to the table. Jakob currently studies at Ryerson University, and is also a columnist at The Post Millennial.
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