Letter writer Michael Orr is upset that the former CEO of Canadian Jewish Congress, Bernie Farber, has decided to enter the political arena (“Neutral leadership to partisan position,” May 26). He suggests that a person in Farber’s position, coming from a non-partisan organization, should not be permitted to run for political office.
If we subscribed to Orr’s thinking, Canadians would not benefit from the excellent pool of people from the Jewish community willing to stand for political office. For example, Liberal MP Irwin Cotler, former president of CJC and one of Canada’s greatest parliamentarians, would never have graced the halls of the House of Commons. Former president of B’nai Brith Canada, Conservative Rochelle Wilner, would not have been allowed to run against Liberal Ken Dryden in the 2008 federal election, and Michael Mostyn, the immediate former director of government relations for B’nai Brith Canada, would have been forbidden to challenge Liberal Monte Kwinter in the upcoming Ontario provincial election.
Orr’s thinking is flawed. Farber is a skilled, honest and decent man. Frankly, that Farber wants to enter the sometimes thankless world of Canadian politics should be applauded, not rebuked.
Farber’s candidacy in Ont. election (2)
Bernie Farber has made the rumours official and is running for Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty’s Liberals in my riding of Thornhill in the Oct. 6 election (“CEO takes leave after 27 years with Congress,” May 26). Farber’s career with Congress developed from his first job in 1984 as a advocate at Queen’s Park to secure government funding for Jewish day schools. McGuinty has steadfastly refused to address the issue of inequality in the funding model and is comfortable with the status quo of full funding for his faith’s Catholic schools while other communities pay education taxes to fund Catholic schools and struggle to find the private funding for their own children’s education of choice. In your article, Farber states that “while the premier and I may disagree on this subject, I’ll have the opportunity to speak inside the tent and try to effect change.” I would remind your readers that Monte Kwinter, a Jewish MPP for McGuinty’s Liberals, also supports more equality in education funding, yet has been unable to convince McGuinty to fairly address the issue in his many years in the Liberal caucus.
The Quebec model of 60 per cent funding for all non-public schools of all faiths is a reasonable compromise. The province funds general studies while families pay for religious and cultural studies through tuition. It is clear to me that change from within is extremely unlikely – in fact, any support for McGuinty suggests that to his supporters this issue is not important and that our community is easily divided.
Dundee didn’t boycott Israeli goods
Dundee City Council has never boycotted any goods or services from Israel (“Israeli books banned in Scottish municipality,” June 2). Reports in the media that Dundee has banned Israeli books from its libraries and boycotted Israeli goods and services are completely untrue. This misunderstanding has arisen after a policy decision by another Scottish council, not Dundee City Council.
David K. Dorward
Chief Executive, Dundee City Council
Comedy night sponsors
I would like to clarify the sponsors of the Young Professionals Comedy Night with Joel Chasnoff. The article “A Jew walks into a bar… mitzvah” (Heebonics, May 26) stated that the event was a UJA Federation of Greater Toronto event, but it was actually co-sponsored by 15 organizations, including various synagogues from across Toronto, as well as federation’s Community Connect and Impact Toronto. All organizations were equal sponsors of the event. The event was intended to be an example of the entire community working together in unison toward a common goal, rather than each organization creating competing events. So often, we are focused on our individual organization’s success that we forget that we are one community. For a complete list of sponsoring organizations, please visit www.fiveminutesoffame.org.
Program Director, Beth Sholom Synagogue