The Canadian Jewish Political Action Party hit the ball out of the park once again last week as hundreds of young and future leaders from Montreal’s Jewish community filled the majestic and fabled Bonsecours Market.
The marquee event, held annually in Toronto and Montreal, brings together many of our community’s young professionals, distinguished business leaders and philanthropists, as well as politicians from all levels of government to celebrate political engagement and support for Canada and Israel. In 2014, almost 2,000 people attended these events, in addition to more than 100 federal, provincial and municipal elected officials.
My wife and I met Mount Royal MNA and Minister of Natural Resources, Pierre Arcand, on the way in. Pierre is one of my favourite MNAs having had the opportunity to interact with him over the years in my capacity as head of communications at the Jewish General Hospital, in his riding. He is open, attentive and interested in his riding affairs. Pierre has the gift of remembering names and faces with ease, a trait I often admired in former Premier Jean Charest.
There was no doubt that we would meet up with D’Arcy McGee MNA, David Birnbaum, and his dedicated, trusty political attaché, Elisabeth Prass. David was elected in the last provincial election a year ago, succeeding longtime MNA and former Minister of Revenue and Leader of the Government Caucus, Lawrence Bergman. Bergman was affectionately referred to as the Minister of Jewish Affairs and David has certainly succeed him in that capacity.
Birnbaum is extremely devoted to his constituents and interfaces very routinely with local mayors and councillors. His staff are equally engaged in riding affairs and keen to problem solve.
Pascal Bérubé is a very interesting member of the Parti Quebecois. I met Pascal a few years ago when I read about his interest in Israel. Finding this fact as somewhat out of sync with the average person I’ve met from the Gaspé I decided to invite him to meet with the leaders of the JGH. The then Minister of Tourism took me up on my offer and he has been a friend of the JGH ever since, and indeed a good friend of the Jewish community.
Anthony Housefather is a true friend and colleague. He surely did not need the title of Liberal Party candidate in the federal riding of Mount Royal to spur him into shaking every hand at the party. That’s just Anthony. Always interested in meeting young professionals, asking a little about them and always remembering their names and everything he learned about that person.
Anthony is a great person to be around on these occasions as he’ll provide introductions to all kinds of interesting people and quickly strikes up conversation on topics well beyond politics, with his interest in sports, history, world affairs and so much more. He will make an incredible Member of Parliament.
Kol Hakavod (congratulations or job well done) to community leader Elliot Lifson and organizer Jono Kalles and their entire team. What a fantastic opportunity for young people to connect and mingle with the political strata and to ensure the vitality of the many facets of the Jewish community and supporters of Israel.