Canadian Jewish News
It’s up to you — get involved
By JOSH COOPER
Thursday, 25 September 2008
As Canadians, we have a right and responsibility to participate in the democratic process and have our voices heard. Over its three-year existence, the Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee (CJPAC) has helped the Jewish community have an impact beyond our numbers by engaging our thousands of members and friends across Canada within the multi-partisan political process to advance prospects for a safe and secure environment for Israel and the Canadian Jewish community.
By law, organizations funded by charitable dollars are not allowed to engage in partisan politics. Therefore, CJPAC is the only Canadian Jewish organization that can truly help support our friends and make sure they are elected or re-elected.
The Jewish community has a notable voting influence in less than 20 ridings across the country, yet there are 308 ridings at stake. Dozens of ridings are decided by less than a few thousand votes. In the 2006 election, one candidate won by only 28 votes in a riding with a population of more than 85,000 people.
Therefore, we must engage strategically, and, most importantly, we must vote.
It’s also our communal and religious responsibility to play an important role in our country’s well-being by participating in the choice of its leaders. Rabbi Yitzhak taught, “A ruler is not to be appointed unless the community is first consulted” (Talmud Brachot 55a). In this election, we are being consulted. Our vote, our time and our support are our answers.
At stake in this election are issues of concern to all Canadians, in addition to issues of special concern to the Canadian Jewish and pro-Israel community. In order to have your say on these issues, it’s up to you to get involved.
It’s up to you to get informed and learn more about where the candidates and parties stand on your issues. Visit itsup2you.ca to learn about your local candidates, to read or listen to interviews with the party leaders, and to find out what some issues of interest are.
It’s up to you to get involved. Volunteering for an election campaign is a great way to build relationships with members of Parliament and other decision-makers. It’s also a great opportunity for networking, professional development and community involvement. You will experience first hand how the political process works. Those who have volunteered in the past know how important and fun it can be. Fill out our volunteer form at itsup2you.ca/register, and CJPAC will pair you with the campaign of your choice.
It’s up to you to support candidates. Within election fundraising and spending limits, it’s easy to support friendly candidates in a significant way. Every dollar counts, and there are generous tax credits for political donations. Through CJPAC, you can target your support to our community’s friends who need it the most. We are also able to ensure that every dollar donated is sent with the message, “Thank you on behalf of the Jewish community.”
Call Hersh Perlis at 1-866-929-9552, ext. 226, for more information on how to make your political dollars count for the Jewish community. Most of all, it’s up to you to vote. By exercising your right to cast a ballot, you have a say in charting Canada’s course on issues of importance to you and the community. For those unable to vote on Sukkot, you can vote at an advance poll on Oct. 6, or at any time during the election period at the district returning office for your riding. We are providing information on advance voting at itsup2you.ca.
We can all help to strengthen our community by being an integral part of the political process, to help candidates who support our community and to build relationships with leaders and decision-makers who will have an impact on our issues.
Elections are won and lost on the basis of citizen participation in the political process. We are looking to you to make a difference for our community!
Josh Cooper is executive director of the Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee (CJPAC).