Winnipeg South Centre candidates take part in lively debate on Israel

Four candidates running in Winnipeg South Centre discussed their positions on Israel and the controversial boycott, divestment and sanctions movement at a Wednesday night event.

Candidates at the Asper Jewish Community Campus attempt to reach Jewish voters

Winnipeg South Centre candidates take part in lively debate on Israel

7 years ago
Duration 1:53
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

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

"Our government will always oppose the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement. We will also always oppose anti-Semitism, which is what BDS [boycott, divestment and sanctions movement] is really all about, just as we will oppose any attempt to delegitimize Israel, who is a friend and ally and, I might add, the only democracy in the Middle East.… 
Joyce Bateman, Conservative candidate for Winnipeg South Centre, makes a point at the debate at the Asper Jewish Community Campus. (CBC)

"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 

"Anyone who is a student of history will know there has not been a single generation in the last 3,000 years where there has not been in the world an outbreak of virulent anti-Semitism. I am here because of anti-Semitism. In 1905 all four of my grandparents escaped Russia … 
Liberal candidate Jim Carr speaks at Wednesday's debate at the Asper Jewish Community Campus. (CBC)

"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 

"Tom Mulcair has come out clearly and used the words that the BDS movement is grossly unacceptable. The NDP is a friend of Israel. We believe absolutely that Israel has the right to defend itself and that we need to maintain trade relations with the only democracy in the Middle East.… 
NDP candidate Matt Henderson (left), next to Liberal Jim Carr, participates in Wednesday's debate. (CBC)

"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 

"The Green Party does not support the international movement to boycott Israel and further, in case there is any misinterpretation of our policy, we affirm the inviolable right of Israel to exist. But that doesn't mean we subscribe to Stephen Harper's view that somehow Israel among all nations is immune to criticism. Our official position is one of engaged neutrality that would see us contribute as an honest broker in the pursuit of peace.…
Andrew Park of the Green Party speaks at Wednesday's Winnipeg South Centre candidates debate. (CBC)

"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."


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