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Kevin Klein Promises To Defend Jewish Community In Manitoba Legislature

New Minister will uphold IHRA definition, and deplore antisemitic violence

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A former publisher of the Winnipeg Sun, PC MLA Kevin Klein (Kirkfield Park) was sworn into the Manitoba cabinet along with (L-R) 2 term MLA Janice Morley-Lecomte (Seine River),  former CFL All Star and restauranteur Obby Khan (Fort Whyte), and father of six, James Teitsma (Radisson). (Photo: Kevin Klein Facebook)  

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After his election victory, but before he was named to the Manitoba cabinet, former Winnipeg city councillor Kevin Klein answered questions from TheJ.ca specific to the concerns of Israelis, Zionists and Jews in the province.

After a single council term, Klein ran for Mayor in October. After a third place finish, he chose to enter a provincial by-election as a candidate for the ruling Progressive Conservatives. Holding the fort in Kirkfield Park for the government of Heather Stefanson, Klein was installed as minister of environment and climate and responsible for Efficiency Manitoba on January 30th. 

His appointment, along with 3 other backbenchers, came three days after Finance Minister Cameron Friesen (Morden-Winkler) announced he will step down to seek the federal Conservative nomination in the riding of Portage-Lisgar.

Klein explained that he recognizes that Winnipeg (where 14,000 Jewish people live) is traditionally a place where cultures come together in brotherhood and peace. 

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“You have to just look back on the history of Winnipeg and Manitoba to see the many contributions of the Jewish community. The philanthropists that have come through, the human rights museum- there is so much that I can look at and be thankful to the Jewish community for in Winnipeg and throughout Manitoba. There have been some people that have really changed not just the landscape but have changed the quality of life for the better of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of Winnipeggers over the years. “

In regards to the Jewish population in Winnipeg, which includes about 4000 Israeli-Canadians, Klein agreed that the Province has a strong relationship with Israel, in areas such as technology and cultural exchanges, and he will take a role in strengthening and enhancing ties to the Jewish state.

“I truly made that commitment at City Hall, I made that commitment in my campaign to be Mayor. As I move forward into the Legislature, absolutely.”

Klein concurred that with us having an aging community, food insecurity is badly affecting those who keep kosher. I asked him if the province should explore whether there is a way to assist the Jewish community in importing kosher food or making affordable, for those who observe our dietary laws.

“Interesting question!” he replied, noting, “for everybody inflation is becoming a serious problem. A lot of people don’t understand that the (federal) Liberal/NDP coalition has put in the carbon tax on gas, it’s what is the major responsibility of why it’s so expensive to bring food and everything else into our province.”

Referring to a group that meets about food security, Klein said, “I’m going to raise that to this group and see if it’s on their radar, not just the kosher food but the food others may need to have.”

As an MLA on the Government side- and now as a Minister – Klein has an influence far beyond his scope as a councillor. He mentioned “paying tax on a tax on a tax” as contributing to inflation, and naturally I asked if he’d therefore bring forward legislation to prevent Manitoba charging a tax on a tax.

“I will look at that.”

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Focusing on growing antisemitism in Manitoba

The question was raised  if he would propose that Premier Stefanson and her government review all curriculum to ensure it complies with the IHRA definition of antisemitism which the Province has adopted.

“I would have to look into that,” a surprised Klein said, “I never even thought that it wouldn’t be. I’ll talk to the department about it, I’d like to know.”

Citing the attack on the Israeli-Canadian Council in Winnipeg on May 15, 2021, I presented to Klein the shocking lack of consequences. Across from the Legislature about thirty supporters of Israel were attacked on that Yom Ha’atzmaut by a mob that crossed police lines. Rocks were thrown, antisemitic threats were yelled, Israeli flags were stolen and burnt. There were never any criminal charge laid. Cameras from the Legislature and nearby court buildings would have recorded incontrovertible evidence.

I asked him, “What do you believe you can do to enhance the safety of Jewish people and Zionists who participate in a legal rally in the city of Winnipeg because they feel that the province and the city of Winnipeg too could have done more, and in the aftermath of that mob assault, they were let down?”

“We have to take more of a leadership role and be communicating openly with our police,” the former Police Board chair said. “I would be happy to sit down with the organization and those that were in attendance to learn more about this.”

“It troubles me to hear that is actually happening in the streets of Manitoba. It troubles me to hear that because I just can’t imagine it. And I can’t imagine that it would be acceptable for any other person of a different race or creed that may living in the city of Winnipeg – it would be frowned upon and it would not be accepted and I would fight to ensure that no one in our Province or our city has to face that kind of hate- at all. “

Speaking more generally, Klein said, “I think Public safety needs to be the number one concern of government…. The responsibility of government is keep it’s citizens safe – of all citizens. So I would see that as an issue, especially when it comes to public safety, we have to ensure the public safety of every resident… My commitment to the Jewish community is strong.”

Marty Gold is the Editor-in -Chief of TheJ.ca. Known for investigative reporting, he has specialized in covering municipal and provincial politics, and a wide range of sports and entertainment, in newspapers, magazines, online, and on his first love, radio. His business and consulting experience includes live events and sales, workplace safety, documentary productions, PR, and telecommunications in Vancouver, Los Angeles and across Canada, and as a contestant on CBC-TV Dragons Den.

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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!

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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