Côte-St-Luc, Que., Coun. David Tordjman is hoping to end Mount Royal’s status as one of the safest Liberal seats in Canada.
Now the Conservative candidate for the riding, Tordjman, a civil engineer and business owner, launched his campaign on June 14 to wrest the riding from the Liberal party in the October federal election. Mount Royal has been held by the Liberals since 1940 and is currently represented by Anthony Housefather, who is seeking a second term.
An observant kippah-wearing Jew and father of five, Tordjman believes discontent with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government will translate into an upset in the riding.
Tordjman stressed the Conservatives’ commitment to improving quality of life and supporting small business as the engine of the economy.
“The Trudeau government promised sunny ways, but all we got is cloud and fog,” he said.
Tordjman criticized the handling of the SNC-Lavalin affair, noting that “the Liberal-controlled justice committee, chaired by our Mount Royal MP (Housefather), shut down the hearings, so we will never know.… We will not hear the truth.”
He also spoke of the ballooning deficit and an energy policy that has led to more oil being transported by rail than ever, instead of by “an environmentally responsible pipeline.”
He promised that a Conservative government under leader Andrew Scheer would “stop suffocating families and entrepreneurs with high taxes.” That government would also “ensure that the immigration system prioritizes immigrants who follow the rules.”
On foreign policy, Tordjman rapped the government for its stance on the Middle East. “Canada used to stand up for what is right,” he said, charging that the country now abstains on anti-Israel votes at the United Nations, rather than voting against them.
As a city councillor, last December, Tordjman introduced a resolution “opposing anti-Semitism by Airbnb,” which condemns its de-listing of accommodations in Jewish settlements on the West Bank and calls for Côte-St-Luc residents to boycott the service. The resolution was adopted. Airbnb has since reversed its policy.
Present at the launch was Robert Libman, the Tory candidate in Mount Royal in the 2015 election. In the early days of that campaign, many observers predicted it would be a tight race between him and newcomer Anthony Housefather, given the Jewish community’s admiration for then-prime minister Stephen Harper and his strong support for Israel.
But Housefather, a lawyer and mayor of Côte-St-Luc, handily won with 50 per cent of the vote, compared to 38 per cent for Libman (a former Côte-St-Luc mayor).
Robert Presser, a longtime party stalwart who MCed the launch, touted the Conservative party’s diversity. “Critics say the party is narrow. It is not. It is a big tent that is inclusive and inviting, and the proof of that is in this room,” he said, referring to the presence of different cultural communities.
Côte-St-Luc Coun. Sidney Benizri and Hampstead Coun. Leon Elfassy, as well as Gerry Wiener, who was a cabinet minister under former prime minister Brian Mulroney, came to the event.
Two out-of-province Conservative MPs spoke on behalf of Tordjman: Michael Barrett of Ontario and Blake Richards from Alberta. They both stressed that their party is committed to improving the quality of life of Canadians through a strong economy and fiscal restraint.
Small business is “the backbone of the economy” because it creates jobs, said Barrett, while Richards slammed the Trudeau government for “wasteful spending,” including “giving millions to convicted terrorists” while shortchanging military veterans.
Tordjman worked for several years as a consultant to First Nations communities, including the Cree nation in northern Quebec. He has also been involved with international projects, notably in Haiti in the three years following the devastating 2010 earthquake.
Before that, he served as the director of Côte St-Luc’s public works department and in the Canadian Armed Forces with the Governor General’s Foot Guards. He was elected to Côte-St-Luc council in 2017.
Tordjman’s nomination was acclaimed by the Mount Royal Conservative Association in April. The Conservatives’ Quebec lieutenant, MP Alain Rayes, stated at the time that Tordjman “will put his leadership, boldness and determination to work for the people of Mount Royal. His political experience and social involvement will allow him to quickly understand the needs of the citizens and organizations in the riding.”
Conservative party member and Mount Royal resident Nathan Elberg told The CJN that he has known Tordjman a long time and finds him “very effective.”
Elberg disparaged Trudeau as “just a pretty boy who does not really understand what’s going on, a dreamer rather than someone focused on practical results.”
Scheer, by contrast, “will direct the country down the centre on social policy, but is realistic and will keep the country together and not damage the economy,” he said.