Canada's Liberals face turmoil (a continuing series)

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Adam Daifallah, writing in the New York Sun, diagnoses some of the deep schisms facing Canada's Liberal Party, which, he points out, has been the most electorally successful part in North America over the past few decades. The willingness to fudge on foreign policy issues, which allowed both Jewish and Muslim factions to both find a home among the Libs, is now coming home to roost

After years of inaction, in 2002 Canada's Liberal government buckled to pressure and added Hezbollah to the national list of banned terrorist organizations. Since that time, few if any elected officials have mused about reopening the issue. [....]

...the spotlight [is] on a schism at the heart of the Liberal Party that has been quietly playing out for years — an internal squabble that puts into question whether the most electorally successful political party in North America can continue being home to large numbers of both Jewish and Muslim voters.

During its 13 years in power, the Liberal government rarely took sides on matters involving Israel. The rule of thumb at United Nations was to abstain on Israel—related votes. Since the Conservatives took over, however, Canada has been siding more often with the Jewish state. And in this latest war, Prime Minister Harper has lined up squarely behind Israel — even calling Israel's response to Hezbollah "measured." A key Conservative member of parliament this week compared Hezbollah to the Nazis.

All this has some talking about a potential realignment in Canadian politics, with Jewish support possibly shifting over to the Conservative Party. Looking at it from a pure numbers perspective, strong support for Israel is probably not politically advantageous. There are far more Muslim votes to be had in Canada than Jewish ones. So there is little reason to believe Mr. Harper is doing what he is doing other than he thinks it's the right thing to do.

But the move has reaped some benefits for him and his party that may have long—lasting consequences.

The entire article is well worth a read.

Ed Lasky   8 25 06

Adam Daifallah, writing in the New York Sun, diagnoses some of the deep schisms facing Canada's Liberal Party, which, he points out, has been the most electorally successful part in North America over the past few decades. The willingness to fudge on foreign policy issues, which allowed both Jewish and Muslim factions to both find a home among the Libs, is now coming home to roost

After years of inaction, in 2002 Canada's Liberal government buckled to pressure and added Hezbollah to the national list of banned terrorist organizations. Since that time, few if any elected officials have mused about reopening the issue. [....]

...the spotlight [is] on a schism at the heart of the Liberal Party that has been quietly playing out for years — an internal squabble that puts into question whether the most electorally successful political party in North America can continue being home to large numbers of both Jewish and Muslim voters.

During its 13 years in power, the Liberal government rarely took sides on matters involving Israel. The rule of thumb at United Nations was to abstain on Israel—related votes. Since the Conservatives took over, however, Canada has been siding more often with the Jewish state. And in this latest war, Prime Minister Harper has lined up squarely behind Israel — even calling Israel's response to Hezbollah "measured." A key Conservative member of parliament this week compared Hezbollah to the Nazis.

All this has some talking about a potential realignment in Canadian politics, with Jewish support possibly shifting over to the Conservative Party. Looking at it from a pure numbers perspective, strong support for Israel is probably not politically advantageous. There are far more Muslim votes to be had in Canada than Jewish ones. So there is little reason to believe Mr. Harper is doing what he is doing other than he thinks it's the right thing to do.

But the move has reaped some benefits for him and his party that may have long—lasting consequences.

The entire article is well worth a read.

Ed Lasky   8 25 06