Winnipeg South Centre candidates take part in lively debate on Israel
Candidates at the Asper Jewish Community Campus attempt to reach Jewish voters
Israel was a heated topic at a Winnipeg South Centre debate hosted by Jewish advocacy group B'nai Brith Canada at the Asper Jewish Community Campus on Wednesday night.
Conservative candidate Joyce Bateman drew boos from the crowd after naming Liberal candidates running in other parts of the country, including Omar Alghabra, Borys Wrzesnewskyj and Darshan Kang, as having anti-Israel views. She based her comments on events they attended or statements she said they made in the past. Bateman's allegations prompted audience members to yell "shameful."
"We don't build ourselves up by calling other people down," Liberal Jim Carr responded. "I have no interest at all in badmouthing and attacking personally other candidates or parties. We've had too much of that."
For the record, here's how the four Winnipeg South Central candidates responded Wednesday to the question: What is your party's stance on the anti-Israeli boycott movement, and would you support the creation of federal legislation to combat it?
Joyce Bateman, Conservative Party of Canada
"People who once blamed Jews for all the world's problems are now blaming Israel. It's got to stop. Our government has zero tolerance for anti-Semitism and all forms of discrimination, including the use of double standards whereas Israel is often held to a higher account than any other country in the world and its enemies literally do get away with murder. Our position that Israel has the right to exist as a Jewish state is absolute and non-negotiable."
Jim Carr, Liberal Party of Canada
"Convince me that there won't be another outbreak of anti-Semitism in world. Perhaps in France, perhaps the right-wing movement in Europe that's becoming more and more insidious, there are Jews now that want to leave France for Israel.… That is why for me Israel must always be a Jewish state. BDS is a new manifestation of anti-Semitism and we oppose it."
Matt Henderson, New Democratic Party
"With the BDS movement, we really need to attack those people who are using it as a means for hate and a means for racism.… I think what we also need to do as a federal government is truly reinstate Canada's role in the world so that we can fight this diplomatically within the UN."
Andrew Park, Green Party of Canada
"So we call on both Israel and the Palestinian Authority to uphold international law and respect rights. We call on Israel and Egypt to suspend the blockade of Gaza so that humanitarian aid can be provided."