“Cui bono? (to whose benefit?)” – Cicero
I have been a scholar of politics for over 20 years. While there is always so much to debate and learn about, the study of politics always returns to this fundamental question—cui bono? Who benefits?
The Alberta election is almost a week away, and of course, there are signs everywhere and calls to get out and vote. Voting is important, but how do we select according to our values and priorities? And what are the issues facing the Jewish community specifically? How can we determine if the politicians and parties match our values as voters?
The best way to know a politician is to take the time and talk to them. There are party platforms, ideas, and promises. However, if we really want to make an informed choice based on these factors, we also have to understand the person. Why are they running? What motivates them? What issues matter the most to them personally and why? In the past two months, my schedule has been filled attending meetings with politicians to explain the internal workings of our Federation on behalf of our community.
Alongside the Jewish Federation of Calgary and Canadian Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA), and in consultation with local Jewish organizations, we developed the 2023 Alberta Election Jewish Community Priorities. This working document serves not only to present our concerns as a community to candidates in conversations. It’s also to have as a guideline for post-election advocacy once the new government forms. We encourage each member of our community to read it and consider these priorities against the party platforms and also when speaking to candidates in their ridings.
Federation CEO Stacey Leavitt-Wright, myself and members of our community relations committee have been meeting with candidates over the last month. There have been one and one conversations with both the United Conservative Party of Alberta and Alberta New Democratic Party members in the ridings of Edmonton-McClung, South, Whitemud, South West, and Rutherford. We are waiting for meetings with candidates in Whitemud and Sherwood Park.
We have met with party leaders, including the Alberta Party and Alberta Liberal Party. Our primary goal is to discuss our community priorities and make sure each candidate knows what matters most to members of the Jewish community. We will ensure the leaders are accountable if they are elected. Many politicians support our concerns about antisemitism and Holocaust education. However, there is a gap in understanding or knowledge about the predicaments we face as a community. We are educating, providing resources, and acting as a liaison that party members can turn to if they need more information on the issues we are advocating for.
A 30-minute online session will delve into Edmonton and Calgary’s priorities on Tuesday, May 23 at 12 p.m. MST. This session is in partnership with the Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee (CJPAC), CIJA, and the Jewish Federations of Alberta. I urge you to attend to discover more about these priorities and how to become involved in the election. This is your chance to talk with all the organizations working to advocate for Jewish concerns and priorities politically.
We encourage you to participate and vote in the upcoming election.