wRanter.com

Gentle and not-so-gentle thoughts and musings from a Jewish, left-leaning, Canadian, pro-Israel, inner-suburban, fortysomething, libertarian, recovering perfectionist, quasi-socialist husband, dad, basketball fan, writer and editor with a few opinions.

wRanter.com - Gentle and not-so-gentle thoughts and musings from a Jewish, left-leaning, Canadian, pro-Israel, inner-suburban, fortysomething, libertarian, recovering perfectionist, quasi-socialist husband, dad, basketball fan, writer and editor with a few opinions.
Featured wRants
Thursday the rabbi walked out, or was he pushed?

Being a pulpit rabbi can be a cutthroat business

When Toronto Jews awoke last Saturday morning and collected their Globe and Mail newspapers from their doorsteps (those who still subscribe, that is), they discovered a front-page story detailing how Holy Blossom Temple, the city's ...

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The next occupants of 24 Sussex?

Why Thomas Mulcair gets it when it comes to Israel

Not surprisingly, Thomas Mulcair won the NDP leadership last month, replacing Saint Jack Layton as the man social democrats hope can rally left-of-centre voters to defeat Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservatives. Here's hoping he's successful, but ...

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He was burned by this very issue.

The Jewish community should fund its own schools

The fallout from the recent controversy over the creation of gay-straight alliance clubs (GSAs) in Ontario's publicly funded Catholic school system should give pause to those seeking funding – in the name of fairness – ...

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Who will be the next big-name Jewish MP?

Last week, we examined four “Jewish” battleground ridings, including two – York Centre in Toronto and Mount Royal in Montreal – where, one way or another, a Jewish candidate is likely to win. This week, ...

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Jewish issues at centre of partisan sniping

Jewish issues and candidates made headlines last week and became the subject of some distasteful political rhetoric on the campaign trail. In Alberta, a 21-year-old hijab-wearing university student resigned Aug. 18 as the Liberal candidate in ...

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Being mislabelled by educators can make school a misery.

Your December-born kid may not have ADHD. He might just be immature.

A new Canadian study is bolstering an argument I've been making to my kids' teachers and principals for years: children born later in a calendar year are more likely to be diagnosed with attention deficit ...

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Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau

Israel shouldn't be a political football or litmus test

Despite public and private appeals to call off the event, the Jewish Defence League (JDL) went ahead with its unfortunate decision to picket a Liberal fundraiser at the Toronto home of pharmaceutical magnate and Jewish ...

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Munk Debate glosses over Israel – is that a good thing?

Rudyard Griffiths at the Munk Debate

Moderator Rudyard Griffiths

Is that all there was? Given how much praise – and criticism – the Harper government’s strong support for Israel has attracted, it’s somewhat surprising that so little was said about the Jewish state in the Sept. 28 Munk Debate on foreign policy in Toronto.

The night’s only exchange on Israel, between Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, came more than halfway through the proceedings, when Harper raised the topic, ostensibly in response to comments by NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair about working with allies on issues of global concern, such as Iran.

“I fully admit that we don’t always take the position of our allies. Sometimes we take our positions based on what we believe are principles,” Harper said.

“Let me give you a clear example. This government has been perhaps the most unequivocal in the world on the fact that when it comes to the Middle East, we are not going to single out Israel. It is the one western democratic ally. Threats that are… directed at that state – [it’s] on the front line of threats directed against us. We are not going to single out the Jewish state for attack and criticism. We recognize unequivocally the right of Israel to be a Jewish state and to defend itself.” Continue reading


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Who will be the next big-name Jewish MP?

Last week, we examined four “Jewish” battleground ridings, including two – York Centre in Toronto and Mount Royal in Montreal – where, one way or another, a Jewish candidate is likely to win. This week, we look at Jews running for all four major parties across the country.

Mira Oreck

Mira Oreck is running for the NDP in Vancouver

Jews have served in the House of Commons almost continuously since Harry Nathan Jr., British Columbia’s first MP, represented Victoria from 1871 to 1874.

For decades, Jews have run federally across the political spectrum, and with Jewish Canadians comprising about one per cent of the population nationally, the community certainly punches above its weight when it comes to prominent participation in electoral politics.

Think former Liberal cabinet ministers Robert Kaplan, Irwin Cotler, Barney Danson, Herb Gray and Elinor Caplan. Think David Lewis, the second national leader of the NDP. And think Mulroney-era cabinet minister Gerry Weiner and current Tory MP Joe Oliver, Canada’s first Jewish finance minister.

Who might be the next big-name Jewish MP? Let’s take a look. Continue reading


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Free advice for the federal Liberal party

Bob Rae at wRanter.com

Finally, he’s done trying to be leader.

Well, well, well: it appears that Bob Rae has decided not to run for the federal Liberal leadership after all, despite rampant speculation over the past year that he would if the party let him.

This has to be a relief for people who’d like to see Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his Conservative wrecking crew defeated sometime before, oh, 2028.

That was unlikely to happen with the Liberals being led by Rae. Obviously, he carried too much baggage from his polarizing time as the NDP premier of Ontario from 1990 to 1995. As well, he turns 64 in August and would be 67 at the time of the next election.

Justin Trudeau at wRanter.com

Saviour, pretty boy, both or neither?

These facts hardly scream “renewal” to a party sorely in need of just that.

The temptation for the party will be to go for what might appear to be the quick fix, namely choosing 40-year-old Justin Trudeau, son of Pierre and MP for the Montreal riding of Papineau, as its next leader.

That may or may not be a great idea.

At the very least, party members should take a collective deep breath, have a good debate about who they intend to choose and – above all – avoid handing the reins to Trudeau in a coronation, because we all know how that turned out with the last guy. Continue reading


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Canada needs Conrad Black

Conrad Black at wRanter.com

“Thanks for the softball questions, Peter…”

In honour of Victoria Day, one presumes, Conrad Black, the former industrialist and onetime newspaper baron, he of the British peerage – his lordship, if you will – took part in what reportedly will be his one and only sit-down media interview, chatting with the CBC’s chief news anchor Peter Mansbridge at his palatial Bridle Path home in Toronto after his release from a Florida jail earlier this month.

Sitting in what appeared to be a study, with multitudinous volumes of books in the background, the 67-year-old Black was at his feisty best as he excoriated NDP leader Thomas Mulcair for using his parliamentary immunity to call Black a “British criminal” in the House of Commons. Black also took Mulcair to task for none-too-subtly insinuating that he had used his Tory contacts to gain a one-year temporary residency permit in Canada.

And like he always has, Black maintained his innocence in the most vociferous and florid of terms, as is his wont and tradition.

But aside from minor bouts of irritation with Mansbridge’s chummy, softball questions, it was a rather subdued performance from a man who was clearly looking to rehabilitate his tattered public image and burnish his quest to regain his Canadian citizenship. Continue reading


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Why Thomas Mulcair gets it when it comes to Israel

Not surprisingly, Thomas Mulcair won the NDP leadership last month, replacing Saint Jack Layton as the man social democrats hope can rally left-of-centre voters to defeat Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservatives.

Thomas Mulcair and Catherine Pinhas at wRanter.com

The next occupants of 24 Sussex?

Here’s hoping he’s successful, but as I argued in an earlier post, it seems unlikely that he will be, because the left is as divided today as the right was in the 1990s, with a rapprochement nowhere on the horizon. Or as Winnipeg NDP MP Pat Martin famously told The Hill Times earlier this month,  “If we don’t unite the progressive vote, Stephen Harper will be prime minister until he gets bored.”

(Taking a different tack, the inimitable Chantal Hebert argues that Mulcair’s feistiness makes him the strongest opposition leader Harper has faced so far. She reminds readers that he arrives in time to face the PM in 2015, near Harper’s 10-year mark in power, when many prime ministers – e.g., Pierre Trudeau and Brian Mulroney – wear out their welcome with voters and lose the fire in their belly. She also recalls that no one thought Harper would ever be prime minister, having been written off as a transitional leader of a reunited Conservative party.)

As has been widely noted, NDPers clearly chose Mulcair, a former Quebec Liberal cabinet minister, because they think he can win. They put aside what many see as his tenuous ties to the party and his previous statements against the oil sands (which, as right-wing media pundits have noted, are sure to alienate many Albertans), as well as his reputation for surliness. They hope he can consolidate the party’s massive 2011 gains in Quebec while gaining enough support elsewhere to push it over the top.

But some on the left of the NDP, such as longtime B.C. activist Murray Dobbin, are mourning how its members “could collectively have let Thomas Mulcair, the right-wing Liberal, pro-Israel, political bully become head of their party.” Continue reading


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