Robert Libman, Mario Rimbao and Anthony Housefather battle with words at Mount Royal candidates debate

There wasn’t an empty seat at the first Mount Royal candidate’s debate last night at the Spanish and Portuguese synagogue in Cote des Neiges. Supporters of the three main parties and their local candidates were out in great numbers, cheering and clapping as each of the three made their way to the podium to make their points and rebut one another.

In his usual style as a masterful debater, Cote Saint-Luc Mayor Anthony Housefather took to the microphone over and over without a single prepared note and brilliantly communicated Liberal Party policies along with his own opinion. He recited fact after fact on recent political history, on party policy, on the question of Israel, on Iran and much more. Kudos to Anthony for keeping on a positive note, always smiling and being confident enough to say he agreed on several points with his opponents, Robert Libman and Mario Rimbao.

On Israel, Anthony said that Justin Trudeau shares the same viewpoint as Stephen Harper and will always stand in solid support of the Jewish State. He took issue with Harper trying to create a wedge issue and divide the Jewish community and its dual loyalty to Canada and to Israel. “The Jewish community should be united.  The Mount Royal community should be united. We can have different opinions and perspectives, but when it comes to Israel we share a common, Canadian viewpoint in supporting Israel,” Housefather said. “I am a proud Jew, travel often to Israel where my company has offices, won seven medals in the Maccabiah Games last year in Israel and can assure you I will always speak up and defend and support Israel, he said to thunderous support from the crowd.

“What has to end are those who will tell you that you’re not a good Jew if you don’t vote for the right party,” Housefather said to great applause. This was a direct shot at the Conservative rhetoric that they are the only party able to defend Israel.

This was the first of several debates in Mount Royal riding.

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