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The Conservative MP Has Stood for the Jewish Community on Many Issues

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Erin O’Toole is one of four Conservative leadership hopefuls

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Although Justin Trudeau has said he “has Israel’s back,” Canada’s UN voting pattern towards the Jewish State over the past five years has been inconsistent. The Liberals have re-funded UNRWA to the tune of $50 million, and there continues to be suspicions about that group’s use of some money for anti-Semitic indoctrination.

Centrist to conservative Jews have voiced their concern through social media, community representatives and political dialog, with many expressing their nostalgia for Stephen Harper’s no-nonsense principled stands.

In seeking the Conservative Party leadership nomination for the second time, Erin O’Toole is sounding a lot like what we used to hear during those years.

O’Toole is a 47 year-old Member of Parliament for Durham, first elected in 2012 in a by-election. Prior to that, O’Toole had a distinguished military career with the air force, obtaining the rank of Captain. He went on to work in Bay Street as a lawyer, before jumping into politics in 2012.  

In 2015, O’Toole was Harper’s Minister of Veteran Affairs, and currently serves as the party’s critic for foreign affairs, a post he has held since 2017.  In 2017, he finished third behind Andrew Scheer and Maxime Bernier in the party leadership race. O’Toole now looks to carry that momentum to victory this time around.

I had the recent opportunity to listen and watch O’Toole on a Zoom call in May, as he spoke to Ontario Conservative Party members.

O’Toole affirmed to the callers that if you liked Harper’s policies on Israel, then you should expect more of the same with him. He mentioned he was a “pioneer within the party,” in the call to move the Canadian embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, and vocal about it ever since US president Donald Trump moved the US embassy.

O’Toole says that he worked to make the embassy position part of official party policy at the Conservative convention, in Halifax in 2018. He contrasted that with leadership rival Peter MacKay, who he called a waffler on the issue. (MacKay first said no, and then changed his mind on the embassy.)

Furthermore, he believes that “Canada is in no position to dictate, to tell an ally (Israel), where its capital is,” and, like Harper, aligns with the two-state solution idea.

In terms of the United Nations, O’Toole stated that on his watch, Canada will work to protect that body from the “political tower of Babel” that it has become; in other words, serving varying political interests, and hostile to Israel.  

With regards to anti-Semitism and security of Jewish Canadians, O’Toole mentioned that he has stood for the community in parliament on many resolutions and occasions.  

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In an October 2017 speech in support of an Act to recognize Jewish Heritage Month in Canada, O’Toole invoked the many Jewish influences that touched his life, in explaining why he, “an Irish Catholic MP from Ontario,” was so passionate to speak on the issue.

What struck me, beyond the myriad of Jewish politicians he mentioned – from Deputy Prime Minister Herb Gray to David Lewis (one of the key architects of the NDP) – was the part on his Jewish uncle, Paul Goodman.  

Erin O’Toole put this graphic on his Twitter page soon after pledging he would move the Canadian embassy in Israel | Photo: Twitter

Goodman, O’Toole said, had introduced him to Jewish traditions, “allowing me to join them (Goodman and his aunt Jane) for Passover, and a number of special celebrations in the community.”

Beyond that, Goodman had been “my first relative to really challenge me to think about the world and Canada’s place in it.” With this, he implied this family link is what explains why he is passionate about the Jewish community and its issues.

In terms of other issues discussed in the call, O’Toole spoke of the need to reduce Canada’s dependency on China, particularly with Huawei and the development of a 5G network. He also spoke of the need to repeal bills C-48 and C-69, which he called “job killers” in the oil industry.

On the issues related to COVID-19, O’Toole said that he was concerned with ballooning debt, given all the assistance and businesses mostly being closed. He pointed out that there can be ways in which businesses open in a careful manner, with masks and sanitation, while protecting the very vulnerable.

If elected leader of the Conservatives, O’Toole might seems to be a firm continuation of the Stephen Harper policies on Israel, on Jewish issues and the economy. And that, to many, will be welcome news.

Doron Berger is a finance professional, a Toronto ex-pat now living in the US. He was a former reporter for Afterword newspaper for five years, and was a feature writer for LandmarkReport.com, an online news site.

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Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

We thank you for your ongoing support.

Happy reading!

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