The seventh annual ACTION party organized by the Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee (CJPAC) has received more publicity than organizers likely intended.
The March 7 event, whose purpose was to bring together members of the community and their elected officials in an informal setting, has been somewhat overshadowed by allegations from former Toronto mayoral candidate and Women’s Post magazine editor Sarah Thomson that she was groped by Toronto Mayor Rob Ford that evening.
The two were among some 1,200 young professionals and 50 political guests from all levels of government who attended the party at the Arcadian Court in downtown Toronto.
The event aims to help break down the barriers and misconceptions that many Canadians have about politics and politicians, ACTION co-chair Heather Popliger said.
“Giving attendees the opportunity to get to know elected officials in an informal capacity [helps them] realize that politics and politicians are accessible,” Popliger said “Overcoming those misconceptions is the first step toward joining a political party, volunteering on a campaign or even running for office.”
The record number of elected officials in attendance is an indication of CJPAC’s growing presence after a year of expansion, including a opening a new office in Vancouver and extending operations in Atlantic Canada, said Tomer Chervinsky, CJPAC’s director of marketing and communications.
This year’s party featured live entertainment, décor and hors d’oeuvres reminiscent of the personalities of the silver screen.
“But, the real stars are the politicians who attend in order to build deeper relationships with our community,” Popliger said.
Political attendees included several federal politicians: Human Resources Minister Diane Finley, Environment Minister Peter Kent, Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver and Liberal MP and leadership hopeful Justin Trudeau.
Provincial politicians included Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, Opposition Leader Tim Hudak, Citizenship and Immigration Minister Michael Coteau and Education Minister Liz Sandals. Others included Ford and DJ Schneeweiss, consul general of Israel to Toronto and Western Canada.
Popliger said the ACTION party has become “a symbol of CJPAC’s work to foster and activate the next generation of Jewish and pro-Israel leaders in the political process.” While much of CJPAC’s work is done in small groups, this event is “an opportunity to trumpet and celebrate the value of multi-partisan political engagement in our community.”
The ACTION party is “a huge success because it appeals to the entire pro-Israel community, of all ages and status, as it provides the attendees with a chance to get involved and make a difference,” she said.
For more information on CJPAC, visit www.cjpac.ca.