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B’nai Brith Survey of Winnipeg Mayoral Candidates Has a Few Surprises

Six asked, five provided answers to the Jewish community

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To allow voters in the Jewish community to make an informed choice, B’nai Brith Canada  surveyed Winnipeg mayoral candidates on their positions regarding issues of concern. (Photo: bnaibrith.ca)

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As we went to press, B’nai Brith Canada released their survey of top Mayoral candidates in Winnipeg – where we are headquartered – on 6 questions affecting public policy and the Jewish Community. Winnipeg has about 15,000 Jewish residents.

You can read the entire survey here: Where the Candidates Stand

Depending on the question, you will see some straightforward responses and ideas about law enforcement, and some policy-oriented ideas that weren’t well-connected to the Jewish community. With some questions, such as civic adoption of the IHRA definition of antisemitism, a few respondents did not want to touch the issues we face.

The results confirm the assessment of our coverage of the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg forum: with rare exceptions, politicians in Winnipeg lack any understanding that antisemitism is not like other kinds of ethnic or religious hate; is not curtailed by talking among the establishment at meetings and conferences; and is being manifested within government, universities, public organizations and online by anti-Zionism, far-left progressive activism, and Marxist ideologies like diversity, equity and CRT.

We have quickly selected a variety of the replies from the candidates for our readers, on the basis of relevance to the question, depth or direction of the response, and if the answers related to our Forum follow-up. In a few cases the candidates conceded they didn’t have enough knowledge to delve into the subject. One of the six surveyed, Kevin Klein, did not provide any responses to the questionnaire.

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Q1: If elected Mayor, would you support a motion at City Council to denounce antisemitism and to endorse the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of antisemitism?  

Shaun Loney: I would be pleased to meet with you following the election to discuss how the City of Winnipeg can work with your community to denounce antisemitism. I agree this is a growing and serious issue that with right voices need to be aggressively combatted

Scott Gillingham: As mayor, I envision a city where all partners, including faith communities, are at the table, appreciated, empowered and working together in a co-ordinated manner to address Winnipeg’s shared social challenges and seize our opportunities. I will continue to denounce anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and will work to foster a city that is growing in mutual acceptance, understanding and appreciation and will actively engage all faith and cultural communities to listen and understand what they are experiencing. 

Q2: What measures would you propose to improve the Winnipeg Police Services’ ability to recognize and respond to hate crimes and incidents?  

In your opinion, does the Winnipeg Police Service have adequate resources to investigate and solve hate crimes?

Jenny Motkaluk: So yes, it has more than adequate resources. The problem lay with the provincial Crown Attorney’s office who the police know are not eager to lay hate-related charges. I would ensure the police have better foreign language resources as we know that anti-Zionist rhetoric is not always spoken in English, and therefore inflammatory and hateful remarks in public speeches (such as ‘From the River to the Sea’) are not being detected by the authorities. 

Robert-Falcon Ouelette: Obviously, hate of any form must be investigated. To be honest I am not certain if the Winnipeg Police have the necessary resources to combat hateful conduct and crimes.

Glen Murray: The Mayor should make sure that the police have made and maintained connections and relationships with the leaders of the religious/ethnic communities and, perhaps, establish a consulting group composed of representatives of the various groups and meet with them regularly. This would assure that the police are staying in touch with what is happening and, this in turn, would encourage cooperation between the groups. 

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Q3: How would you improve the ability of municipal employees to recognize and counter antisemitism? 

Scott Gillingham: The City of Winnipeg is committed to equity, diversity and inclusion in the workplace and as a major employer, its policies work to identify and eliminate discriminatory barriers in the workplace as well as prevent future discrimination and remedy the effects of past discrimination in employment. As mayor, I will support those initiatives. 

Jenny Motkaluk: Consider the fact that all Canadians are already guaranteed not to be discriminated against based on characteristics out of their control, like race, religion, sexual orientation, gender, etc. As many of us know, anti-semitism has become quite common place, especially on-line. On-going training to identify anti-semitism and other forms of discrimination is necessary. Woke culture that fuels acceptance of diversity, equity, and inclusion policies is part of the culprit as these programs are often discrimination in disguise. To be clear, that’s why I reject woke culture, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Policies as well as BDS. 

Shaun Loney: I have announced my intention to diversify the skills of officers in the Winnipeg Police Service through hiring practices that will meet the needs of the work that Winnipeg Police are required to do in the present day. While this includes much more training, revolving around impacts of colonization in our community, it most certainly will include training to counter antisemitism. I would be most pleased to discuss how the city of Winnipeg can contribute to a national plan to combat antisemitism, including urging the government of Canada to enact legislation and regulations that would be effective against antisemitism and other hate crimes.  

Q4: Do you accept the need for a national plan to combat antisemitism as endorsed at the National Summit on Antisemitism and in which municipalities would play an active role? 

Glen Murray: The answer to this question is a resounding YES. And if other minorities feel that Jewish issues are taking precedence, then the same approach to dealing with bigotry against those groups could be based on this model. When I was previously Mayor of Winnipeg, I spent three years as chair of the Big Cities Mayors Caucus. This model could be brought to this group of mayors to enhance and quicken the delivery of this program.  

Jenny Motkaluk: I do NOT accept the need for a national plan based on that particular Summit because that Summit excluded important grassroots voices such as Israeli Canadians and grassroots Zionists. That Summit excluded anyone already not well-connected to the federal government, so it was not the full conversation that was needed to hear the concerns of our Jewish community. Jewish Federations represent their donors, not the entirety of the pro-Israel Jewish community. Increasingly, the main targets of violent antisemitism in Canada are the pro-Israel supporters such as people who attend Yom Ha’atzmaut rallies or monitor Al Quds and Nakba Day events – and they are the ones most in need of protection.  

Robert-Falcon Ouelette: Yes, this national plan will help ensure that any hate is understood, evaluated and combatted. I often worked with MP Anthony Housefather from Montreal who worked very hard to fight antisemitism while I was a MP for Winnipeg in Ottawa. I would continue to take my lead from community members about the direction the city should take to fight hatred.  

A sampling of 2022 Winnipeg Mayoral election material. (Photo: The Great Canadian Talk Show)  

Q5: If elected Mayor, would you and your team support a motion at City Council to support the House of Commons Standing Committee on Public Security and National Security to confront online hate? 

Robert-Falcon Ouelette: Yes, we would encourage the federal government and Privy Council to adopt the recommendations which were created by the Standing Committee on Pubic Security. As a former MP, I know about all the work that MPs do to create and build these recommendations. Each recommendation must be supported by witnesses and facts as collected during testimony. That makes the work of the committee credible and offers Canadians a strong opportunity path forward.  

Glen Murray: Again, the answer to this question is a resounding YES. I most emphatically agree that there should be a national program or campaign to deal with these issues and we would want to be involved in helping to find the best ways of participating in the solution. 

Scott Gillingham: As mayor, I would continue to work with our federal representatives in supporting these initiatives. There is no place for online hatred to be allowed to continue in Canada.

Jenny Motkaluk: Leading Jewish experts on telecommunications policy including Professor Michael Geist and Mark Goldberg – both of whom were key players in exposing the antisemitism of Laith Marouf – have warned the online hate legislation is deeply flawed. Not all disagreement is “hate” – but it appears the online hate legislation could actually be used AGAINST the Jewish community to stifle or criminalize debate and reporting about radical movements that seek to destroy Israel and western democracies. Until the Bill is improved and those concerns addressed, I will not support any Bill that places, as an unintended consequence, restrictions on the freedom of expression of the Jewish and pro-Israel community. 

Q6: Do you support action to combat the increasing security threat to religious institutions such as synagogues, churches and mosques? What specifically would you propose to do to address this threat?

Jenny Motkaluk: We will work with organizations and their private security details as needed. The Jewish Federation through its advocacy agent CIJA has held security briefings and training for its member organizations and has a good relationship with the Winnipeg Police Service. As I have stated, the Winnipeg police are adequately resourced to assess, plan for, and deal with such antisemitic threats and incidents as they occur. 

Shaun Loney: No response provided 

Glen Murray: Again, yes. We would encourage representatives of the synagogues, mosques and churches to come together and form a joint committee. We would encourage these teams to visit each other’s places of worship and talk to the respective congregants/parishioners, and empower this diverse group to speak with a unified voice against any threats against any and all religious institutions.

Scott Gillingham: This is a question that relates to policing and again, falls under my platform of community policing. As mayor, I believe by ensuring that police have resources to work with the faith community, RCMP and criminologists, they can identify patterns of potential criminal behaviour.

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We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

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Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

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Happy reading!

Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

We thank you for your ongoing support.

Happy reading!

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