Two influential Canadians switch parties

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Prime Minister Harper's strong support of Israel has cost the Liberals the backing and financial contributions of two key, longtime Liberal Party supporters:

OTTAWA — Liberal power couple Heather Reisman and Gerry Schwartz have publicly broken with the Liberal Party line on the Middle East crisis and are turning to Prime Minister Stephen Harper because of his support of Israel.

Mr. Schwartz, a confidante of former prime minister Paul Martin and one of Canada's most influential businessmen as the head of Onex Corp., is one of the eight signatories of an advertisement placed in a newspaper in Cornwall, Ont., where the Conservatives are holding caucus meetings.

Mr. Schwartz's wife, Ms. Reisman, says she is leaving the party to support the Conservatives under Stephen Harper.

In an e—mail to friends, Ms. Reisman applauded film producer Robert Lantos's statement at a weekend rally that he would "hereby take off [his] life—long federal Liberal hat."

"I [am] right there alongside Robert. . . . after a lifetime of being a Liberal, I have made the switch," Ms. Reisman wrote. "Feels strange, but totally and unequivocally right."

A recipient of the e—mail confirmed that Ms. Reisman, who was the Liberal Party of Canada's policy chairwoman in the 1980s and who worked for Pierre Trudeau in his first election in 1965, had sent the e—mail to several friends, and that she has told others the same thing.

I am told they are extremely significant in Toronto where Harper's party can use extra support.

Clarice Feldman    8 05 06

Prime Minister Harper's strong support of Israel has cost the Liberals the backing and financial contributions of two key, longtime Liberal Party supporters:

OTTAWA — Liberal power couple Heather Reisman and Gerry Schwartz have publicly broken with the Liberal Party line on the Middle East crisis and are turning to Prime Minister Stephen Harper because of his support of Israel.

Mr. Schwartz, a confidante of former prime minister Paul Martin and one of Canada's most influential businessmen as the head of Onex Corp., is one of the eight signatories of an advertisement placed in a newspaper in Cornwall, Ont., where the Conservatives are holding caucus meetings.

Mr. Schwartz's wife, Ms. Reisman, says she is leaving the party to support the Conservatives under Stephen Harper.

In an e—mail to friends, Ms. Reisman applauded film producer Robert Lantos's statement at a weekend rally that he would "hereby take off [his] life—long federal Liberal hat."

"I [am] right there alongside Robert. . . . after a lifetime of being a Liberal, I have made the switch," Ms. Reisman wrote. "Feels strange, but totally and unequivocally right."

A recipient of the e—mail confirmed that Ms. Reisman, who was the Liberal Party of Canada's policy chairwoman in the 1980s and who worked for Pierre Trudeau in his first election in 1965, had sent the e—mail to several friends, and that she has told others the same thing.

I am told they are extremely significant in Toronto where Harper's party can use extra support.

Clarice Feldman    8 05 06