Canada’s relationship with Israel was the most important election issue named by respondents in an “Impact Survey” released last week by B’nai Brith Canada.
Respondents were given a choice of several issues to rate as their most important. Twenty-four per cent ranked “Canada’s relationship with Israel” number 1, followed by “jobs and the economy” (21 per cent), “hate-related activity, anti-Semitism and terrorism” (19 per cent), “Iran” (14 per cent), “the anti-Israel boycott and sanctions movement” (eight per cent), “affordable housing and poverty issues” (six per cent), and support for community programming and active living” (one per cent). Seven per cent of respondents chose “other.”
A second question asked participants to rank their second-most-important election issue. One-quarter said “hate activity and anti-Semitism” followed by “jobs and the economy (22 per cent) and “Iran” (15 per cent).
The survey was conducted on the B’nai Brith Impact website from Aug. 2 to 12 and was open to B’nai Brith members and the general public. Approximately 500 people took part in the survey, which was promoted via Facebook, an email list and word of mouth. The system tracked respondents’ IP addresses, so the poll could not be taken more than once from the same address.
Breaking down the survey participation further, respondents were heavily skewed to males (59 per cent) and were part of an older demographic. Eighty-four per cent of participants were 51 and over, while 60 per cent hailed from Ontario, 13 per cent from Quebec, 10 per cent from British Columbia and nine per cent from Manitoba.
“The survey is representative of B’nai Brith supporters and not the general Canadian population,” explained B’nai Brith CEO Michael Mostyn.
“B’nai Brith was not looking for a statistically representative sample. One could assume that the numbers weigh toward Ontario due to the fact that the majority of Canadian Jewry resides in that province,” he added. “We found it interesting that the majority of respondents were from a demographic over 50 years of age, however, it is generally the case that younger Canadians are less interested in the political process.”
Participants were not asked to indicate their party preferences or which leader would make the best prime minster, Mostyn said.
“As a non-partisan organization, our questions focused on discovering the issues that matter most to the community to inform our own advocacy efforts. As the grassroots voice of the community, the only way we can effectively advocate for the community we represent is to constantly dialogue with our base,” he added.
In addition to surveying community members about their election priorities, B’nai Brith is hosting election debates. One was scheduled for Sept. 21 at Beth Torah Congregation and featured the main party candidates in Eglinton-Lawrence.
Others are being held Sept. 30 in the ridings of Thornhill, at the Sephardic Kehila Centre, and Winnipeg South-Centre, at the Asper Jewish Community Campus on, and in York Centre on Oct. 1 at Adath Israel Congregation.
“There is good reason why B’nai Brith has always shown leadership in hosting local riding debates in Canada,” Mostyn said.
“B’nai Brith is at the forefront on a daily basis in dealing with many of the top areas of concern to the community.”