Last night Cote Saint-Luc Mayor Anthony Housefather, Councillors Dida Berku (and masterful mingler husband Jacob Kincler), Mitchell Brownstein (and elegant party wife Elaine) , Steven Erdelyi and I attended the Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee (CJPAC) Action Party at the Starlink Aircraft hangar at the Dorval Airport.
CJPAC is a unique national, grassroots, independent organization whose mandate is to engage the community in the political process. CJPAC mobilizes the grassroots across the country, builds relationships with elected officials – of all political parties – and works for Jewish community interests, on a multi-partisan basis, during and between elections.
We met with several elected officials and their staff from all levels of government along with many young people interested in engaging with politicians. You’d think that Mount Royal riding, encompassing Cote Saint-Luc, Hampstead, Town of Mount Royal and a slice of Snowdon was up for grabs as former conservative candidate Saulie Zajdel made the rounds while the current liberal MP’s (Irwin Cotler) Chief of Staff, Howard Liebman, worked the other side of the room. Meanwhile, former Mount Royal Tory candidate Neil Drabkin was also in attendance easily working his way across the floor connecting with younger voters.
The keynote speaker at the dinner earlier in the evening was former PM Brian Mulroney. Former Senator Leo Kolber warmly maneuvered among the younger crowd as did several community stalwarts including Herbert Paperman and his son Joseph, Elliot Lifson and Jon Wener.
D’Arcy McGee MNA Lawrence Bergman is always a crowd pleaser shaking hands with the younger set, this time with his new chief (and future Premier), Philippe Couillard. Mount Royal MNA Pierre Arcand was also among friends from TMR.
Liberal MP and Montreal Mayoral hopeful Denis Coderre was out shaking hands and making many new contacts within the Montreal community.
CDN-NDG Borough Mayor Lionel Perez is a superb local leader who has rapidly risen in power in the West End and is a name to watch. Also in attendance was NDG-Lachine MP Isabelle Morin, with whom I have had a few opportunities to meet. Isabelle is a delightful young woman who has given all of her energy to learn the role of MP and dutifully represent her constituents with passion and devotion. Having worked as a school teacher certainly helped to build her character a a compassionate young leader.
Another former teacher who made a significant impact at the party, and across the country, was none other than Justin Trudeau. Partygoers had their smartphones snapping for shots with Justin.
DDO Councillor Herbert Brownstein, Hampstead Councillor and mayoral candidate Bonnie Feigenbaum, Veteran St-Laurent Councillor Maurice Cohen (31 years on council!!), Hampstead Councillor Michael Goldwax, Snowdon Councillor Marvin Rotrand and Loyola Councillor Peter McQueen were all in attendance representing their cities and districts.
The Action Party is a terrific opportunity to turn young voters on to voting and becoming involved at all levels of government. The organizers did a stellar job at setting up a superb venue. The outdoor terrace area was essentially the runway with flights taking off just over yonder while the jets in the airport hangar were parked like sports cars spit polished for show. Amazing venue, creative decor and superb opportunity to mingle with the next generation of young leaders, influencers, policy makers and shakers.
Kudos to the sponsors and committee for a job well done and greatly appreciated.