I’m an Orthodox rabbi, I voted Conservative, and I’m happy that Justin Trudeau is our new prime minister.
Since the October 19 federal election, I have heard many panicked comments from Conservative Party supporters in the Jewish community describing the ‘evil and destruction’ that Trudeau is about to inflict on Canada, on Israel and on the Canadian Jewish community.
Much of this rhetoric reminds me of the exaggerations and vilifications that were made about Stephen Harper in the final weeks of the campaign by some left wing voters, so much of which was inaccurate and unfounded. Such fear-mongering and exaggerations are unwelcome elements of the Jewish Canadian political dialogue.
So, if I voted Conservative, why am I happy with our new prime minister? Here are four reasons why I am confident in Trudeau’s leadership:
1. He has a fantastic team of advisers and staff (many of whom are Jewish), who understand that the Jewish community reflects the very best of Canada (innovation, hard work, commitment to social justice) and who understand the profound shared values between Canada and Israel.
2. He has a number of MPs in his caucus who are proudly Jewish and supportive of Israel.
3. The Liberal party has been only supportive of Israel in the past and has not yet done or said anything to indicate a weakening of that support. Justin Trudeau himself has spoken repeatedly in support of Israel and against the BDS movement.
4. The Canadian Jewish community has a strong voice in Canadian politics and, if we use our voice constructively, we can encourage political support for the causes we hold dear. But, if we slander our new prime minister, there is a risk he will be less inclined to support our causes, which could become a self-fulfilling prophecy. I would prefer to embrace our new leader, build up the trust and respect between Trudeau and the Jewish community, and use that trust and respect as a means of having our voices heard and supported by our new federal government.
Harper served as our prime minister with great distinction, courage and wisdom; and I would have liked to have seen him continue in that post. But, just because the name of our new prime minister isn’t Harper, it doesn’t mean that Canadian Jewry is entering into an era of darkness and despair. Our new leader, Justin Trudeau, has expressed his unwavering support of Israel time and again, and his staff, advisers and caucus members are attuned to the needs and interests of the Jewish community.
Let’s embrace this new leader, let’s appreciate the stance he has taken in support of Israel, and let’s continue to strengthen the relationship between Canadian Jewry and the prime minister of Canada.
For more commentary on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau:
From the Editor by Michael Regenstreif – Canada’s strong friendship with Israel will endure under Trudeau
Ideas and Impressions by Jason Moscovitz – Justin Trudeau was the ‘Wayne Gretzky’ of the election campaign
My Israel by Barbara Crook – Trudeau can’t go back to classic Liberal ways when it comes to Israel