MONTREAL (Feb. 20)
Jewish representation in Canada’s Parliament remained unchanged as a result of Monday’s elections which swept Premier Pierre Elliott Trudeau’s Liberal Party back into office after nine months of Progressive Conservative Party rule. On the 282 seats in Parliament, four are held by Jews, all of whom were re-elected.
They are Herbert Gray of Windsor, Robert Kaplan of Toronto and David Berger of Quebec, Liberals and David Orlikow of Winnipeg, Manitoba, a member of the minority New Democratic Party. Gray and Kaplan, who are active in Canadian-Jewish affairs and strongly pro-Israel, are considered virtually certain to be named to Trudeau’s new Cabinet. Gray served in the Trudeau government form 1972-1976 as Minister of Revenue and is slated for a high economic post in the next government, possibly Finance Minister, according to political observers here.
They are expected to influence Trudeau on such matters as Canadian-Arab relations and to fight his apposition to toughen the anti-Arab boycott laws. Trudeau, while a long-time friend and admirer of Israel, opposes the policies of the present Israeli government, particularly with respect to Jewish settlements on the West Bank. He angered the Canadian Jewish community last October when, speaking as a member of the opposition, he charged that “Zionist pressure in the U.S.” was preventing President Carter from telling Israel it must be more flexible over the West Bank or risk losing U.S. aid.
Trudeau is also strongly opposed to proposals to move Canada’s Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Such a shift was pledged by Conservative Party leader Joe Clark in his election campaign last year. But after Clark took office as Prime Minister he came under pressure from Arab oil-producing states and Canadian business interests to reverse himself on that issue. He dispatched a personal emissary, Robert Stanfield, to the Middle East on a fact-finding mission. Stanfield recommended last fall that the embassy shift at this time would not be in the interests of peace in the region.
It was therefore not an issue in the elections this week, although the Liberals used it against Clark as evidence of his mishandling of a sensitive foreign policy matter. Ron Atkey, the former Minister of Immigration who had originally suggested the embassy shift to Clark, was defeated.
Two Jews who stood for election were defeated. In Vanoduver, Sima Holt, a Liberal, was defeated by her Progressive Conservative opponent in a bid to regain the Parliamentary seat she had lost in the last election. In Montreal, Progressive Conservative Harry Bloomfield was swamped in a direct challenge for Trudeau’s seat.