A Jason Kenney speech at a Jewish high school early in the election campaign may have violated Income Tax Act rules.
On March 29, four days into the campaign, the citizenship, immigration and multiculturalism minister spoke to about 230 students at Bnei Akiva Schools in Toronto, telling them how much the Conservatives have done for Israel and urging them to get involved in the campaign. --- Ummm...what did they do for CANADA?
Kenney also said they should think about the fact that democracy was inspired by Judaism. --- ORLY? I thought it came from Greece/Egypt and that the Canadian parliamentary system was in fact inspired by the Germanic Althing!
"I hope you will all be true to our rights, our privileges, our liberties as Canadians, especially because democracy, in many ways, the whole democratic impulse, is a gift to the world of the Jewish insight about human dignity, created in the image and likeness of God. So I think this is a pretty important responsibility that we all share." --- Hahaha Canadians are goyim and have no dignity!
Kenney was introduced by Conservative candidate Joe Oliver, who is running against Liberal Joe Volpe in Eglinton-Lawrence. The school, though, is in York Centre, where Mark Adler is running for the Conservatives against Liberal Ken Dryden.
The Chronicle Herald found a video recording of the speech on YouTube, where it was posted by a teacher. After this newspaper sent emails inquiring about it last week, the video was taken down.
In a strategy document to buy advertising in ethnic media that the Conservatives mistakenly released in March, Kenney’s office identified York Centre and Eglinton-Lawrence as two of 10 "very ethnic" ridings it was targeting because of their high Jewish populations.
Canada Revenue Agency rules prohibit registered charities such as Bnei Akiva Schools from engaging in activities that "can reasonably be construed as intending to influence the outcome of the election."
Charities cannot invite "candidates to speak at different dates or different events in a manner that favours a candidate or political party."
Representatives from other parties were not invited to address the students.
A spokesman for Kenney said Sunday that there was nothing unusual about the event.
"We always encourage Canadians from all walks of life, including young Canadians, to learn about and get involved in our democratic system," said Alykhan Velshi.
Velshi said Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff has campaigned at sites run by charities.
"For example, just yesterday Mr. Ignatieff spoke at First Nations University, which according to its website is a registered charity, and he also recently went to Hamilton Health Sciences."
The video shows Kenney telling the students about how Conservative Leader Stephen Harper stood up for Israel aggressively in 2006, when Israel invaded Lebanon. Kenney told the students that Harper resisted pressure from his staff to take a milder position.
"The media went to Prime Minister Harper, or rather his advisers said, ‘Prime Minister, the media want to hear what you think about Israel’s response.’ And some said, ‘Prime Minister, we think you should wait until you hear the international consensus.’ That’s how Canada used to be governed, was to follow the international consensus. He said, ‘No. We are going to speak the truth and we are going to lead the international consensus.’ So he went out and defended Israel’s actions as being reasonable and constrained under the circumstances."
Kenney didn’t mention Ignatieff by name, but he alluded to a controversial appearance by the Liberal leader on a Quebec talk show, Tout le monde en parle, when he said an Israeli airstrike on the Lebanese village of Qana, in which civilians were killed, was a war crime.
"There was another political leader at the same time, when he saw that the winds were blowing against Israel, (who) went out on a popular TV show and said Israel, in fact, was guilty of war crimes," Kenney said. --- Ignatieff was RIGHT
He urged the students to volunteer for the party or candidate that represents their views.
"Even younger students can go and drop literature and go door to door and just hand out brochures. It’s very simple. Older students can canvass or make phone calls or any number of things. It’s one way of having a bigger voice."
Kenney also outlined steps the government has taken to fight anti-Semitism, including withdrawing federal funding from the Canadian Arab Federation. --- How about withdrawing Canadian funding to Israel and use it to help this country's poor? Or fix health care? Just a thought.
Last week, that group complained when its president received an email from a volunteer Conservative organizer asking for members to show up at a Harper event in "ethnic costume." --- LOL!
Opposition politicians have complained that Kenney is using ethnic communities in a cynical drive for votes, and commentators have suggested the Conservatives are using the Arab-Israeli conflict for political advantage in ridings, such as York Centre, where the Jewish vote can make the difference between winning and losing.
A student asked why the government was acting on behalf of the Jewish community.
"For such a small percentage of the Canadian population, why are you putting in so much effort, even if it’s the right thing to do?"
Kenney replied that some in the media have accused the government of taking positions to win Jewish votes.
"I’d just like to tell you it’s a pretty stupid way to win votes," he said. "There are 330,000 Jews, closer to one than two per cent of the population, tending to live in many urban constituencies that have not been accessible to our parties in the past.
"And there are a lot of other voters — a lot of other voters, more — who are not exactly friendly to this message, or positions we made. And so why? Why? I know this is hard for some cynics to grasp, but we actually believe what we say."
Another student asked about the government’s position on the recent revolutions in the Arab world.
"I said our hope is that these will become democratic, stable, rights-respecting governments that are interested in regional stability," Kenney said. "We’re not convinced that that is the direction and Prime Minister Stephen Harper took a lot of criticism during the Egyptian situation for not calling for the immediate removal of Hosni Mubarak. Because these situations develop and people get very passionate."
Harper wanted to be careful, Kenney said.
"We have been very explicitly concerned about the threat of the Muslim Brotherhood, which is a very influential force in Egypt, and which is the intellectual foundation of the al-Qaida movement. We’ve been very concerned about the threat of the Muslim Brotherhood taking a leadership role in a future Egyptian government and that is informing our approach to the situation in Egypt and the broader question."
The school’s headmaster, Rabbi Scot Berman, who sat next to Kenney while he spoke, said the school made it "very, very clear" to students that it wasn’t endorsing the Conservatives.
(Video of speech on page)
These are CONSERVATIVES, people!