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Tory flyers targeting Jewish votes raise hackles

This taxpayer-funded Conservative Party pamphlet was sent out to ridings with large Jewish populations.

A new page in Conservative narrow-casting has the Liberals crying foul.

Using the free-mail privileges of MPs, the Conservatives are sending out flyers to ridings with large Jewish communities, arguing they are committed to Canada's Jewish Community and the Liberals are not.

The leaflets argue the Conservatives have done more to fight anti-Semitism abroad, fight terrorism and support Israel than the Liberals. It asks recipients, "Who is on the right track to represent and defend the values of Canada's Jewish Community," and to choose the answer from the names of the four major-party leaders.

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So far, according to Liberals, they have been spotted in mailboxes in four opposition-held ridings, all of which have large Jewish populations: Montreal's Outremont and Pierrefonds-Dollard ridings, and Toronto's Eglinton-Lawrence, and Winnipeg South Centre. In political parlance, that's called narrow-casting: aiming a message at one community or demographic, rather than the population art large.

"I think it is the most scandalous and scurrilous misuse I've ever seen of parliamentary privilege and taxpayers' dollars, to divide a community and to pit one community against another," said Liberal Joe Volpe, the MP for Eglinton-Lawrence.

Labelling the Liberals, including Jewish MPs who have spent their careers fighting anti-Semitism like Irwin Cotler, as "willing participants" in anti-Semitism is outrageous, he said.

He noted that the leaflet says Liberals asked for Hezbollah to be de-listed as a terrorist organization when it was a former Liberal government that put the organization on the terror list; the fact that a Liberal MP "mused" that it might be de-listed does not make that the Liberal Party's position, Mr. Volpe argued.

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About the Author
Chief political writer

Campbell Clark has been a political writer in The Globe and Mail’s Ottawa bureau since 2000. Before that he worked for The Montreal Gazette and the National Post. He writes about Canadian politics and foreign policy. More

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