Doorstep Postings: The federal Liberals invite Canadians to repent for feeling like they don’t want to vote for them again

Anthony Housefather with Rosh Hashanah greetings in the House of Commons on Sept. 30, 2016. (YouTube)

This is a special edition of Doorstep Postings, the periodic political commentary column written by Josh Lieblein for The CJN.

Ever since we got done with the last federal election two years ago, I’ve been predicting the general trajectory of the next one: an all-out bench-clearing political brawl, where any distinctions from the American system disappear.

In this scenario, there’ll be no more collective shrugs at the partisan rancour pouring out of Ottawa, and no more Jewish community leaders calmly battening down the hatches and riding out the storm.

Our political class has firmly decided that the next go-round will be an apocalyptic battle of good and evil, whether we like it or not—even if we have a hard time figuring out what constitutes the “evil” they’re talking about.

Haven’t you heard the red shofar blow from Parliament Hill? There’s a rising tide of hatred, of intolerance from those calling themselves tolerant, and lives are at risk.

Now, more than ever, those jerks on the other team are unhinged, trying to normalize the spread dangerous ideology, disinformation, and rhetoric. It’s time to stand in solidarity with those who are under attack and cannot (or don’t want!) to speak for themselves.

Now is not the time for Jewish communities—or anyone for that matter—to worry about Jewish community issues that can’t be encapsulated into a fundraising appeal or a viral post. Besides, as we’ve recently been informed, silence is complicity.

Complacency is also complicity, and complacency is not calling out extremism, all day, every day, and if we don’t agree, we’re wading into dangerous waters—which are no doubt connected to a so-called rising tide.

What if Justin Trudeau got up in the morning and instead of his usual “hatred has no place in our society” speech he went with, “You know what? I’m not really feeling it, maybe today I’ll go easy on the hatred in our society.”

Do you think he would’ve won three elections in a row? We’ll never know, but the example he set should have been enough for the rest of us, including Anthony Housefather.

After all, as the convention wisdom in Ottawa goes, all Liberal members—and that includes the Jewish MP for the Mount Royal riding of Montreal—owe whatever political capital they have to the prime minister. And thus, even as the PM’s poll numbers plummet, his team is loath to criticize him. None but Justin Trudeau, whose father descended from upon high and granted us the rights we now enjoy, is able to safeguard those rights against the dastardly Pierre Poilievre and the evil-doers who stand with him.  

As a result, Housefather should’ve been content to stifle whatever disagreements he had with Trudeau and his overall legislative direction until further notice. But he forgot that complacency is complicity—and just like there’s no place for hatred in our society, there’s no place for those who stand with, or vote with, those who are soft on hatred.

Housefather has now lost his parliamentary secretary duties for voting against Bill C-13, which is yet another fun update to Quebec language rules that makes things more difficult for Anglo-Quebecers. Remember: no place for hatred in our society! Rising tides! Ideology! Solidarity! And all the rest of the increasingly meaningless magic words, which you must nevertheless say so that everyone knows where, and with whom, you eternally stand. 

Housefather had a long and distinguished history of implying that those who get offside with this government are part of the hatred that keeps trying to sneak its way into our society. Indeed, he went so far as to publicly attack noted Quebecophobic satirist J.J. McCullough (who has over 922,000 subscribers on YouTube) during the committee meetings over Bill C-11, another Trudeau government wedge/piece of legislation aimed at sheltering Canada’s and Quebec’s culture from algorithms controlled in Silicon Valley.

And once again, as we all know, companies like Meta and X are purveyors of hate, disinformation, rhetoric, ideology, rising tides, etc. Now, the Mount Royal MP and the Montreal Jews he represents will have to stand with Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk—and the likes of J.J. McCullough—all because there were limits to how far he would go to defend the rights of francophones! What a shanda!

But at least they won’t be alone, because as this government gets more and more desperate, more and more people are going to get swept up in that rising tide of hatred.

Why, just halfway through the week between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, they’ve been joined by grocery store execs, Muslim parents and other “parental rights” folx, supporters of Indian PM Narendra Modi, anyone who doesn’t want to mask up this fall, and people who don’t think Pierre Poilievre mispronouncing someone’s name to sound like the N-word represents animus towards Black Canadians, bubbling below the surface. 

The trouble as far as the Jewish community is concerned is that any one—if not all—of these culture wars can and probably should be safely ignored.

But when it’s the government who decides who should stand with whom—lest they be identified with the evil-doers—remaining quietly neutral as most Jews are wont to do becomes more and more difficult.

So, if the Liberals say there’s a rising tide of hatred, they’d better find evidence of that rising tide, and fast! But they oughta do it before their poll numbers get even more underwater than they have.

Josh Lieblein can be reached at [email protected] for your response to Doorstep Postings.