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Your voice counts. Vote!

By Peter Subissati

[Peter Subissati  is manager, Communications at the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA)               

 

Election season is officially underway, and so begins our collective exercise in civic responsibility.

The upcoming election coincides with the holy day of Shemini Atzeret, which presents a dilemma for observant Jews. As a result, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) has been working closely with Elections Canada to ensure that each and every member of our community has the information they need to participate fully in Canadian democracy.

There are many advance voting options. These include voting in advanced polls; by mail; at Elections Canada offices; on campus (open to students and non-students); and at additional Elections Canada service points which will soon be set up in ridings where there is a significant Jewish population.

With so many options, the process may seem confusing, which is why we’ve created the CIJA Election Hub. All options – and how to access them – are easily found online. Please visit www.cija.ca/election-hub to learn more.

As Jews, we believe strongly in the foundational democratic freedoms and values of Canada. Elections at all levels are opportunities to advance the issues that matter most to our community. Our participation in that process is imperative because it’s the most effective a way to make our voices heard. Consider recent progress on our issues.

Since the last federal election, CIJA’s advocacy efforts have led to tangible outcomes for Canadian Jews: strengthening hate laws to protect our schools and community centres; increasing security infrastructure for Jewish community institutions; launching a Justice Committee inquiry into online hate; securing federal adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism; ensuring multi-partisan condemnation of BDS; securing the renewal and expansion of Canada-Israel free trade; passing an accessibility law for people with disabilities; and securing a federal ban on genetic discrimination.

Earlier this year, we held our annual national grassroots consultations. Your feedback was instrumental in shaping our advocacy priorities ahead of the current campaign. In conversations in Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Winnipeg, Edmonton, and Vancouver, you told us that you want designated police units to counter hate crime and security rebates to protect our community institutions. You confirmed the necessity of a national strategy to tackle online hate and radicalization and for continued support for Israel at the United Nations. Your opinion was that diplomatic pressure on Eastern European governments to pass effective Holocaust restitution laws must be maintained. You also urged improved access to the Disability Tax Credit and – not surprisingly – to move Canada’s fixed election date away from Jewish holidays.

We know the issues that matter to you – and we know how to communicate them to our elected officials, but our advocacy efforts are only as strong as the community we are proud to represent.

Now is the time to tell the candidates in your riding what matters most to you. Talk to candidates. Tell campaign representatives about your issues and how they affect your vote. Then get out there to vote. Casting your ballot in this election is the only way to ensure that your voice, and the voice of Canadian Jews, is well and truly heard.

Peter Subissati is Manager, Communications at the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA)

To access CIJA’s Election Hub and Federal Election Issues Guide visit: https://cija.ca/election-hub/.

 
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