TORONTO (JTA) — The head of the Canadian Jewish Congress, Bernie Farber, said he is running for public office.
Farber, who has worked for the CJC for 27 years and been its CEO since 2005, announced that he is taking a leave of absence to run as a Liberal candidate in October’s provincial elections in Ontario.
He will run in the heavily Jewish district of Thornhill, north of Toronto, against the Progressive Conservative Party’s incumbent, Peter Shurman, a former broadcast executive who also is Jewish.
Farber already has been criticized for allying himself with the ruling Liberals, who are steadfastly against any public funding for private and religious schools in Ontario.
Over the years, Farber and CJC have become synonymous with vigorous calls for the funding of Jewish schools. The previous Conservative government provided a historic tax credit for parents of children in faith-based schools, which Ontario’s current Liberal Premier Dalton McGuinty canceled upon entering office.
Funding is "probably something the premier and I don’t agree on, but on virtually everything else we are in agreement," Farber said. "I will try to march on those issues where we are in full agreement and continue to advocate on those issues I still feel strongly about."
Shurman told the Canadian Jewish News that he thought Farber is "a good guy" and wished him luck, but said he wasn’t concerned "in the slightest" by his rival’s entry into politics.