Was Stephen really being sincere?

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Originally posted by fellowtraveller:
[b]The complainant speaks for one Jew. It would not be unreasonable to suggest the Canadian Jewish Congress and B'nai Brith speak for more than one Jew. [/b]

They speak for billionaires, not Jews. I am a Jew born to workers, to a poor family - and these bastards have never stooped to say hello, let alone to know what we think. You can lick their boots if you want and call them representative of Jews, but it only shows your utter ignorance. Sorry if that seems harsh, but it's nowhere near as harsh as I feel about your gratuitous comments.


I'm glad to see the Edmonton Sun article. Thank you for posting it, Josh. I was told that I should go to the Privacy Commissioner, but went to the media instead.

I was also very close to sending my letter to the CJN, until I notice a big Happy New Year greeting from Stephen himself, printed in that paper.

It's a different thing entirely, sending the greetings to private citizens. It's creepy.

Really, I feel creeped out by the whole thing.


I can see how puzzling it is that the Conservatives identified you as a Jew, and why you and not others who live closeby and have visible connections to Jewish organizations or synagogues. If this was a fundraising effort, then they might have correlated it with other things, such as profession, business connections, etc, explaining why some were targetted and not others. But that still doesn't explain how they identified you as Jewish and digging up that information and letting you know is creepy.

As to respecting sacred traditions of religions, my impression is that politicians who make a point of wearing their religion on their sleeve (Harper even managed to weave god into the main text of his Canada Day greetings to the nation) are the least likely to show this respect. They seem more likely to try to exploit religion to their advantage.

Sara Mayo

I'm just browsing today after a long absence from babble, just to get some commiseration about the electoral/referendum results, and this thread piqued my curiosity.

And since I can never let a chance like this go by to quote from the [url=http://www.elections.ca/loi/ref/act.pdf]electoral act[/url](my hobby horse!), let me highlight some relevant sections:


Section 45
(1) By October 15 in each year, the Chief
Electoral Officer shall send to the member for
each electoral district and, on request, to each
registered party that endorsed a candidate in the
electoral district in the last election, a copy in
electronic form — taken from the Register
of Electors — of the lists of electors for the
electoral district

Section 56
No person shall

(e) knowingly use personal information that
is obtained from the Register of Electors
except as follows:
(i) to enable registered parties, members or
candidates to communicate with electors in
accordance with section 110,

Section 110
A registered party that, under section
45 or 109, receives a copy of lists of electors or
final lists of electors, respectively, may use the
lists for communicating with electors, including
using them for soliciting contributions and
recruiting party members

So, just to clear up some confusion earlier in this thread, all political parties have access to the electoral list between elections, and can use it to communicate with voters in any way they wish. So there's no doubt about about how the Conservatives he got Michelle's address, and they are entitled to send her mail.

The question remains how did they check her off in their "Jewish mailing list" database? As others have speculated, it could just be an assumption they made based on your name and location.

Another possibility is that if you wrote a letter to a newspaper... For example if you wrote to say "As a Jew, I am appalled by John Tory's proposal" - they could have seen that and checked you off in their database that way. Parties that have good organization strategies have staff to do exactly that, look over the letters section of newspapers and determine voters identities, political interests, etc. from the words they write, and then record that information in their database to tailor they mailings to those voters.


If you are correct, I wonder if Harper would be willing to publicly acknowledge that he sent Jewish cards to Jews that he identified by data mining, and failing that, word of mouth, put this together with electoral lists, all for the purposes of "soliciting contributions and recruiting party members" as allowed by law. I'd like to hear him say that and then I wonder if the CJC would be willing to write a letter saying they still think this is all so wonderful.


I see this story is getting a lot more press now that the Privacy Commission is onto it. The Conservatives really don't get it, insisting this is just like the usual Christmas card mailings. I've received Christmas (or Season's Greetings) cards from my local MP, but I never assumed that he knew I was an atheist who celebrates Christmas as a secular holiday, I just assumed he was sending out cards because he celebrated Christmas himself. It does suggest that this might have all been done on taxpayers money, because the Christmas mailings are. They still won't say exactly how they identified people as Jews.

[url=http://ca.news.yahoo.com/s/capress/071011/national/harper_privacy_compla...'s Jewish mailing list[/url]


I'm glad someone lodged a complaint with the Privacy Commission.

I have to admit that I'm feeling a touch of regret now, even though I do believe I was exercising my democratic right by writing my letter in the first place. I am feeling a bit vulnerable.

I also believe what I did was right. I have every right to know, as a Canadian taxpayer and a private citizen, how the PMO knows I am from the Jewish culture.

And, if I do find out eventually how they know... I still think it's terribly wrong to mix "church and state". I still think it's wrong to target groups in this way - using someone's religion for political gain.

Visiting a synagogue, or a church, or a mosque, or a Gay Pride event, and performing a speech is one thing. Sending a mailing to a private residence, in this manner, is an invasion of privacy.

It's all just a sales pitch.

But, I can't help but wonder. Is this adding fuel to the anti-semitism fire??


Yes, what you did was right, Michelle, and perhaps it will lead to this tactic not being used.

There is real anti-semitism out there and, yes, there are hate groups who want Harper's list (one web site even says so). It is amazing how clueless Harper and the CJC can be on this. Why the CJC would think it is a good idea to encourage anyone to collect secret lists of Jews through data mining, word of mouth, or other unstated methods, and then use this for their own political gain, is beyond me. Yes, Bush Sr did this, and if you read the article, in a bit of sick irony, the man in charge of that fundraising arm of the Republicans, had to resign shortly after when it came to light that decades earlier he had also collected lists of Jews but in a way which harmed those Jews (some were reassigned to less visible government jobs).

The idea that any Canadian could feel uncomfortable and personally targetted in this way because of our Prime Minister's actions is absolutely wrong. Not even one Canadian should have to wonder how in the world Harper knows they are a Jew. Harper's communication director refused to answer that simple question.

I will write to my MP about this and ask him to take action. Again, I think this was killed in the US, and we shouldn't have a Canadian PM defiantly stating he is going to continue to do this no matter what some people feel.

aka Mycroft


Jewish leaders shouldn't grovel

National Post
Friday, October 12, 2007

Re: Shana Tovah To The PM, letters to the editor, Oct. 9.

The co-presidents of Canadian Jewish Congress and the executive vice-president of B'nai Brith Canada paint a rosy picture about the Rosh Hashanah cards that were sent out by the Prime Minister's Office. But I find it disturbing that the PMO somehow compiled a list of Jewish people and is targeting them as Jews for what is clearly a political purpose. There is no way around that interpretation. I'm not sure who B'nai Brith and CJC speak for, and it seems many of their supposed constituency disagree with them.

If these Jewish leaders want to grovel and ingratiate themselves with the government of the day, instead of pressing that government to create an environment where no one feels targeted because of their religion or ethnicity, that's their error. They neither speak nor act for me.

Debbie Gray, Winnipeg.


Thanks Mycroft, great letter. It makes one proud. The billionaires have never spoken for the Jews and they never will.



Originally posted by unionist:
[b]Thanks Mycroft, great letter. It makes one proud. The billionaires have never spoken for the Jews and they never will.[/b]

How about someone like Bronfman and Soros?



There is nothing "nefarious" about Prime Minister Stephen Harper compiling a mailing list of Jewish Canadians and sending their households holiday greetings, two prominent Jewish lobby groups said yesterday.

Their comments come amid news the federal privacy commissioner has begun an inquiry into last month's Rosh Hashanah greetings, after several complaints from private citizens.

Some recipients complained to the news media that they could not understand how they had been identified and did not appreciate the gesture. Several also contacted Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart.

An expert in Jewish studies said the notion of lists of Jews being kept by political parties or governments has dark historical echoes for some Holocaust survivors and their descendents.

But both Bernie Farber of the Canadian Jewish Congress and Frank Dimant of B'nai Brith Canada praised what they called government outreach and said there should be no controversy.

"I don't think there's anything nefarious here whatsoever," said Mr. Farber, who has received greeting cards from various political parties for 20 years.

Mr. Dimant turned the tables and said that anyone complaining about Mr. Harper's Jewish new year greeting has a political agenda.

"I really do think there's a very sinister motivation by individuals who are asking for an examination of where these lists came from or how they were accumulated," Mr. Dimant said in an interview.

He welcomed the greeting, calling it a first for a Canadian prime minister, and said he hopes "it's a tradition that prime ministers down the line will carry on."

Mr. Harper has won praise from both the Canadian Jewish Congress and B'nai Brith for shifting Canada's foreign policy to a more pro-Israel footing.

Mr. Harper's office would not say how it compiled the mailing list, although Jewish phone directories for a number of Canadian cities are readily available on the Internet.

And the Prime Minister's spokeswoman vowed to continue sending out greetings to specific groups for a variety of holidays.


Pathetic. It appears that Farber and Dimant are more concerned about protecting Harper than they are in protecting Jews.


Yeah, weird. Did Harper promise funding for religious schools or something? Oh never mind, I see why in the article. They're rewarding him for being more pro-Israel. That makes sense.


Mr. Dimant turned the tables and said that anyone complaining about Mr. Harper's Jewish new year greeting has a political agenda.

"I really do think there's a very sinister motivation by individuals who are asking for an examination of where these lists came from or how they were accumulated," Mr. Dimant said in an interview.

What a dickwad. Yeah, all those Jews who are complaining are really just anti-semites, right? Prick.

[ 13 October 2007: Message edited by: Michelle ]


Now I don't know what's more disturbing... the mailing itself, or the CJC and BB defending it so strongly.

All we are asking is where they got our names. It's a fair question, and we have a right to know.


Yes, it is absolutely pathetic. There is no evidence that any Jewish organization publicly supported Bush's mailing once the criticisms started. I see the CJC is referring to this as "outreach" to lend credibility to the idea that this is proper use of taxpayers' money.

So....the US Republicans data-mined or whatever to identify Jews independent of party affiliation, sent them Rosh Hashanah cards from Bush's family, and expected it to help their fundraising campaign. The Conservatives do exactly the same thing with Harper's family, and the CJC is praising it as outreach and suggesting more of this should be done.

From babble, I've learned that the CJC doesn't welcome all Canadian Jews. Lately it seems they really only represent Conservatives.


And could someone please explain to me what a "Jewish phone directory" is?


Well, they could have a vested interest in the matter. Maybe they know where Harper got the names. [img]wink.gif" border="0[/img]


Heh. The same thought crossed my mind too, josh. But that's pure speculation. Surely they wouldn't do anything so stupid.

And I wondered the same thing, Michelle, what exactly a "Jewish community directory" would be. Do they mean from religious organizations? I know that when I went to church, we had church directories of our members and adherents, but I can't imagine them handing them over to political parties!

How interesting - Harper says that "Jewish phone directories" are "readily available online". Well, let's just check that out, shall we?

[url=http://www.google.ca/search?hl=en&q=jewish+phone+directory+toronto&meta=... phone directory toronto[/url]

I don't know, I don't see Jewish phone directories online. I see Jewish organizations OFFERING directories online, but they're for Jewish organizations, not individuals.

[ 13 October 2007: Message edited by: Michelle ]


This is what has baffled me from the beginning, guys. I haven't been a member of any Jewish organization - not a synagogue or any community program - since living at my Thornhill address. And I've never given money to Israel.


Have you ever given to any local Jewish charity? Or perhaps contacted some group or other for any reason?

It's really curious, isn't it?



Originally posted by BetterRed:

How about someone like Bronfman and Soros?[/b]

Oh, you're right, they're multi-billionaires, I didn't mean them, they can definitely speak for me any time! Just keep the cheques coming!


No, the charities I give to are very much greater community (food banks, troubled youth) or health related.

Even if there is something from my history, it would be just that... HISTORY. And from a different address.

Wouldn't that qualify as data-mining?


Yes, I'd call that data mining. One woman who got the card says she isn't Jewish, so if they are using data mining, it isn't completely reliable. It'll be interesting to learn what is allowed -- assuming this comes out from the investigation.

It should make a difference that this was done with public funds, rather than Conservative Party funds. My impression is that we don't have much privacy protection from political parties. In the US, political parties keep track of credit cards, model of cars, magazine subscriptions,... of voters, and I know the CPC has Canada's most extensive data bank on voters. However, this was sent out in Harper's role as PMO/MP with tax funds.


It dawned on my today that I did have a ritual bris for my son in 2003. The procedure was done at my parent's Toronto home, though I was living in Thornhill at the time.

Is it possible that that surgical procedure put me on "Harper's List"?

Is it possible that circumcising my son almost 5 years ago "qualified" me?

aka Mycroft

I suspect they probably just went through a reverse directory like Mights (there's one directory that lists people on the basis of having filed taxes meaning they include people who have unlisted numbers etc).


But, aka Mycroft, how would that identify me as being Jewish?


I suppose that could have been the way, Michelle, but in that case, you would have had to have been added to some sort of synagogue directory for the Harperites to find it, wouldn't you? Do you have to become a member of a religious community to have a religious ceremony like that one performed? Surely religious organizations are not releasing their internal contact books to political parties!


I didn't have to be a member of any religious "institution" to have my son's procedure done. It can be done by any doctor who is trained to do it, and has some religious "credentials".

My mom organized the whole thing, and she is an active member in a synagogue in Toronto. She didn't receive the card.

Perhaps the doctor who performed it had to document it somewhere for legal purposes.

But to me, to have to dig that deep to find Jewish people living in Thornhill, would require data-mining.

Perhaps they are keeping track of circumsicions?
[img]smile.gif" border="0[/img]

aka Mycroft


Originally posted by mrk:
[b]But, aka Mycroft, how would that identify me as being Jewish?[/b]

It wouldn't. They'd have to presume it from your name and neighbourhood.

Lord Palmerston

Why don't they just call it the Conservative Jewish Congress???

I'm guessing Bernie and Frank are exstatic that Peter Shurman took Thornhill and feel that most Jews now support the CJC's party of choice, the Conservatives.

Lord Palmerston


Originally posted by aka Mycroft:

It wouldn't. They'd have to presume it from your name and neighbourhood.[/b]

I read somewhere that only about half of North American Jews have distinctly "Jewish" last names. Other times they'll just do it based on name and location, as Mycroft points out.

So it's guesswork. They'll assume Chris Green of Barrie is not Jewish but Sheldon Green from Forest Hill is.

Lord Palmerston


Originally posted by mrk:
My concern was HOW they knew I am Jewish and WHY they were sending me a card. I don't belong to any Jewish organization or shul and I don't give money to Israel. The only place it was documented was in the most recent census.

And they only ask the question on religion every 10 years. In the '06 mini-census the only place one can identify as Jewish is under ethnicity not religion.



Conservative officials explained that their mailing lists are compiled using open sources such as Jewish phone books, and that no information from government databases is used.


"Jewish phone books"? Do the names go right to left? [img]wink.gif" border="0[/img]


The explanation is pretty lame, isn't it?

I challenge them to show me the list that my name is on.

The media has missed the point, refering so much to the "ethnic vote".

The real issue is about privacy.

Max Bialystock

Welcome to babble Michelle. I know this sounds crazy, but have you though about complaining to the CJC?


Then she'll end up on their mailing list! [img]biggrin.gif" border="0[/img] [img]biggrin.gif" border="0[/img]


I'm feeling a b it left out. I never received a card from the PM.

But honestly folks farber claims to have received cards from politicians all the time. The Mayor of my town use to send me Chanuka greetings every year. I was pleased to get it. Are we not being a tad too paranoid here?


It's not about paranoia at all, Petsy. It's a privacy issue - plain and simple.

I simply want to know how they identified me as a Jewish person. There's only one place I documented it since living in Thornhill, and that place was the last census.

Show me the other Jewish list with my name on it. The suspense is killing me.


Max - it doesn't sound crazy to complain to the CJC. But.... they have already documented their support of the mailing anyways.

They are obviously playing in the same political sandbox as Harper.

Lord Palmerston


Originally posted by Petsy:
I'm feeling a b it left out. I never received a card from the PM.

Which riding are you in?

Max Bialystock

Michelle I gave up on the CJC long ago. They only represent rightwing Jews now.

aka Mycroft

From Hansard:


Mrs. Susan Kadis (Thornhill, Lib.):

Mr. Speaker, let us not forget there is a third investigation underway. This one involves the Prime Minister’s Office and a breach of privacy, an allegation that should send chills down the spines of all Canadians.

My constituents, Mrs. Faulkner and Mrs. Donin, want an explanation. Both of their names mysteriously appeared on the PMO list to receive a Rosh Hashanah greeting, but neither is Jewish. They want to know how they were identified with a religious affiliation they do not hold and why there is such a list.

This suggests that the Tories were playing a "Who's a Jew" guessing game based on names and neighbourhoods - though who would guess Faulkner as a Jewish name is beyond me. Someone's J-Dar needs tuning.

[ 24 October 2007: Message edited by: aka Mycroft ]


Sounds strange. Perhaps they didn't use name guessing after all. Perhaps Mrs. Faulkner uses kosher salt for cooking. The US political databases can track your cereal brand, so maybe CIMS has that kind of capability too.

Lord Palmerston

Interestingly all these cards seem to have been sent to households in the riding of Thornhill. If Harper was doing this out of the goodness of his heart wouldn't there have been cards sent to households in say, St. Pauls or Westmount?


Some people in some area of Winnipeg got cards too. Likely they targetted the ridings where the Jewish population is large enough to make a difference and which might swing the riding to CPC. On another thread the CPC powerpoint slides shown in the Globe and Mail were discussed. They have the ridings broken down by religion and ethnicity and have identified which ones are "CPC accessible". Jews in Thornhill were one of the targetted groups listed on the slides.


Man, this story has legs.

Did anyone catch the spoof on This Hour Has 22 Minutes? It was hilarious.

If someone could give me a hint on how to attach the link, I'd be more than happy to.


Not sure how to link directly; the video is buried within a Flash app.

It's the "Conservative Ad -- Minorities can lead to a majority" clip in the Oct23 episode at [url=http://www.cbc.ca/22minutes/]their site[/url].

Lord Palmerston

The Winnipeg riding must be the Winnipeg South Center which has most of Winnipeg's Jewish community (though I think it's only about 10%). That riding includes River Heights and is kind of like St. Pauls in Toronto - it's probably the safest Liberal seat in Manitoba so I'm surprised the Tories are targeting it.


I have found it ironic that Susan Kadis is complaining so loudly.

My grandmother got a rosh hashanah card from Harpter but guess what she also got one from Susan Kadis.

Now if the cons are using a support list how did Susan get the list.

If Susan is using a support list how did the cons get a list

hmm this makes it more interesting. Me thinks Susan Kadis protests too much


Nice parroting of the Conservative government's talking points. While there is a certain amount of hypocrisy with respect to the general issue of mailing "holiday" cards, there is a legitimate distinction between making, and keeping, an anonymous list, and


Ms. Kadis acknowledged that she sends out religious greetings to her constituents, adding that she knows or has established relationships with the people on her mailing lists.


[ 25 October 2007: Message edited by: josh ]


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