TORONTO (Nov. 15)
There will be at least 15 Jewish candidates running for office across Canada’s provinces when voters go to the polls Nov. 21 to elect a new Parliament.
There are also a number of issues of particular Jewish concern on the ballot, including hate literature, the arrest and trial of war criminals and multiculturalism.
Jews are represented in all of the national parties, including Prime Minister Brian Mulroney’s Progressive Conservative Party; the Liberal Party led by John Turner; and the New Democratic Party headed by Ed Broadbent.
While Mulroney won a landslide in the 1984 elections, the latest polls indicate that Turner will be the next prime minister.
The Jewish hopefuls among the 1,500 candidates for a seat in Ottawa include former British Columbia Premier Dave Barrett, who is making a political comeback via the NDP in British Columbia; NDP veteran David Olikow, who is running in Winnipeg, Manitoba; Robert Kaplan of Toronto, a former solicitor general of Canada; and Liberal veteran Herb Gray, of Windsor, Ontario.
Although the big issue is the U.S-Canadian trade agreement, which has turned many voters against the Mulroney government, social policy matters have not been completely ignored.
In a pre-election address, Broadbent outlined his party’s multicultural program, which would include strengthening the criminal code and human rights code to deal with hate propaganda.
The program also covers mandatory affirmative action for minorities in the federal sector.
MEASURES AGAINST HATE PROPAGANDA
Turner also promises to amend the criminal code to ensure stronger provisions against hate propaganda.
The Liberal program would delete a legal requirement to show intent to promote hatred, and would eliminate the need for an attorney general to consent to prosecuting offenders.
The Liberals also plan to amend Canada’s Human Rights Act to allow the Human Rights Commission to cope with hate propaganda.
It was during the Conservative administration that the criminal code was amended to allow Canadian courts to prosecute war criminals for crimes committed on foreign soil.
Passage of the measure in 1987 can be credited largely to the efforts of Attorney General Ray Hnatyshyn.
At least 20 Canadian residents have been identified as Nazi war criminals and 200 more are under investigation. But the process of bringing them to justice has moved very slowly.
On Dec. 9, 1987, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police arrested Imre Finta in Hamilton, Ont.
Finta, a resident of Toronto, was a member of the Nazi-collaborating Hungarian gendarmerie during World War II. He is accused of deporting 8,617 Jews to Auschwitz.
A second case, against Jacob Luitjens, is now proceeding in Vancouver. The government is seeking to strip him of citizenship.
Luitjens was convicted in absentia in Holland for collaborating with the Nazis during the war.
But apart from Finta and Luitjens, no other individuals have been charged with war crimes.