Thursday, November 19, 2009

Are Canada's Liberals Afraid of Losing the Jewish Vote?

The Liberal Party of Canada is fuming.

They are angry about pamphlets sent by several Conservative MPs to constituencies with significant Jewish populations (three in Montreal, one in Toronto and one in Winnipeg) comparing the records of the Harper Conservative government and the Chretien/Martin Liberal governments with regard to their support for the State of Israel. The Liberals accuse the Tories of labeling them anti-Semitic although Frank Dimant of B'nai Brith Canada disagrees. Here's an article I wrote in October 2006 about Jewish Liberals turning to the Conservative Party after a number of prominent Liberals, including Ignatieff, had criticized Israel during its war with Hezbollah in Lebanon that summer.

I think the real reason the Liberal Party is angry is because they are afraid they will lose those seats to the Conservatives in the next federal election. In a poll conducted earlier this month, the Tories have nearly a double digit lead over the Liberals (38% to 28.5%). The same poll also gives Stephen Harper a two to one advantage over Liberal Party leader Michael Ignatieff as to whom Canadian think would make the best Prime Minister (34.8% to 17.7%). Those are not good numbers for Ignatieff. Of course, polls can change swiftly but so far it appears Ignatieff's leadership of the Liberal Party has been as much of a debacle as his predecessor Stephane Dion.

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