The stage is set for a provincial showdown between two strong personalities in the Jewish community vying to represent Thornhill.
Former Canadian Jewish Congress leader Bernie Farber has officially stepped forward as the Liberal party candidate in the Oct. 6 election with the backing of York Region’s former chief of police Armand La Barge.
He’ll be facing off against Tory incumbent Peter Shurman, a former broadcaster who is also Jewish and has held the seat for the past four years.
Mr. Farber is taking a five-month leave of absence from his post as CEO of the Canadian Jewish Congress (CJC) to take a run a Queen’s Park, something he said was a lifelong dream.
He kicked off his campaign at a press conference yesterday at the Dufferin Clark Community Centre with the help of Liberal campaign chair Greg Sorbara and the former police chief who described Mr. Farber as “my good friend”.
As a police officer for the past 37 years, Mr. La Barge said he was not able to publicly support any candidate but now that he, and his wife Denise, also a police officer, have retired, he said they are proud to be part of “Bernie’s team”.
Mr. Farber is a longtime friend and mentor, he said, and was an invaluable resource in his capacity as the executive and national director of the CJC, someone he called upon to lecture to criminal investigators, front line officers and senior managers about hate crime and anti-Semitism.
“Bernie’s ground-breaking work in this area has not endeared him with white supremists, Islamaphobes and anti-Semitic groups,” he said, but he “nonetheless stood tall in the face of threats.”...Quite a ringing endorsement, no? One that's undercut, alas, not only by his equating "Islamophobes" (people who are critical of any aspect of Islam) with Nazis and Jew-haters (many of whom--surprise!--happen to be Muslim), but also by these photos, which tell you all you need to know about the cluelessly "interfaithy" La Barge. (My question: How come OHRC Head Commissar Babs Hall gets a clock while Armand only gets a buncha swirly things in a frame? Could it be because La Barge was retiring while Babs is still on the job, and the Khomeinists were unwilling to spring for the more expensive present for him?)
Update: Here's a photo of Armand with another Thornhill Liberal, Karen Mock (who lost to Conservative Peter Kent in the recent federal election). If that's what a La Barge endorsement gets you (i.e. plenty of nada), endorse away, Armand.