Sunday, September 7, 2008

Canada - Canadian PM Stephen Harper Discusses Succos Election Date With Jewish Leaders

Canada -- Prime Minister Stephen Harper called Canadian Jewish Congress Co-President R' Reuven Bulka to discuss the government's decision to hold this year's federal election on Oct. 14, which falls on the first day of Succos.

"We were very pleased the prime minister chose to contact us directly to talk about this issue, which demonstrated a sincere understanding of our community," Bulka said. "It was clear from the conversation that the prime minister remains very sensitive to these matters, and he explained in detail why he chose this date.”

"We know Prime Minister Harper is a man of faith and understand the challenges he must have faced in determining a date for the election. We understand that there will be numerous advance polls at which all Canadians may vote, and that during the course of the writ period, citizens may vote at any Elections Canada office. We will be sharing this information with members of our community to ensure they can participate as fully as possible in the election process."

Earlier last week, the Canadian Jewish Congress wrote a letter to the Prime Minister, explaining that "an election on that day [Oct. 14] would have a very adverse impact on the Jewish electorate, as well as scrutineers, drivers, other campaign and Elections Canada volunteers."

Last year, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty moved the date of Ontario's election by six days to avoid a conflict with Shemini Atzeres.

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