It is well chronicled that I am to the left of centre on the political spectrum. (DUH???) My little bro actually might say that I am so far to the left, that right-hand turns become challenging! I am not sure that I would go that far, but I do question the right-wing conservative movement, usually on their philosophies on social issues. I take issue with their perceived lack of compassion (fairly or not!) and slightly smarmy way that they handle their politics. I realize that this seems a bit unfair to well-meaning conservatives, but as a whole, the movement comes off a bit creepy. Case in point was well elucidated for me during this election season here in the Great White North.
I live in a very Jewish riding. (I am not joking about this. This riding has the fastest growing Jewish population in all of North America!) The incumbent Member of Parliament is a very nice, middle-aged Jewish woman. She has been targeted for defeat by the Conservatives in their unbending desire for a majority government. As a result, the Harperites are running a "star" candidate in the area. Mr. Conservative is a very well-known former TV anchor, who is working hard to get out the vote. He has been to my front door twice now, while incumbent Jewish lady has yet to make an appearance. Not only that, Liberal lady seems to have taken the Jewish vote in the area for granted, hoping that we always vote for our own. This is definitely a riding that could make a difference to the Tory dream. Mr. Harper has been planting the seeds of conservatism within my community for several years now. We have been force-fed conservative propaganda that wants us to believe that they are they only party in the country that is friendly towards Israel. Bullshit for certain, but the right of centre Jewish community is eating it up and is practically licking the seams of Harper's sweater vest! But, their lack of genuine concern for my people was made abundantly clear, when Mr. Harper scheduled the upcoming election for the first day of Sukkot. For the uninitiated, Sukkot is kind of like the Jewish version of Thanksgiving. It is one of the Shalosh Regalim (the three pilgrimage festivals) and is considered a pretty holy day on the Jewish calendar. Observant Jews in my neighbourhood (and they are plentiful) will NOT enter a polling place on Sukkot. Mr. Harper was warned of this conflict before he called the election, but he chose to go forward. (Yeah-that is really supportive of Jewish interests!) As a result, we have been inundated over the last week with calls, letters, emails and flyers encouraging us to please vote in one of the advance polls. (Of course 2 of the days for the advance polls were on Friday and Saturday. Yet another way that those Jew-friendly conservatives were looking out for our interests!!) Many of these reminders are actually coming from the Jewish Federation who if, in my mind, had done their job adequately, would have been able to convince Mr. Harper to not schedule the election on one of our holiest days in the first place. But what has really gotten my ire up, was the recorded message that came our way last evening.
The Member of Provincial Parliament from this area is a conservative rookie, who also happens to be Jewish. It was this rookie MPP who intruded on my peaceful Sunday evening imploring me to vote in the advance poll because Stephen and the Tories are such good friends to the Jews. ENOUGH!!! I found this to be my breaking point. This man had the nerve to play upon our shared heritage, in an attempt to sway me to the Harperites, even going so far as to suggest that my interests as a Jew would be only served properly by the Conservatives. Some might call this smart politics and as an observer of the game, I would say that is probably accurate, but I find the fact that my Jewish MPP is being used to target getting out the Jewish vote slightly unseemly, when all of this could have been avoided had Harper been sensitive to our community needs in the first place. I urge you all to vote and vote for the candidate that you feel will best serve you, but I also urge you to look beneath the surface of political gamesmanship and aesthetics. The wolf in sheep's clothing is still a wolf.