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Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Jewish vote, too, shifts Tory-ward

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IT'S not only Roman Catholics and Protestants who are experiencing a shift in voting patterns -- it's happening in the Jewish community, too.

That's what Zach Fleisher reported last June in Switching Sides: The Shift in Jewish Political Support in Canada in the June 15, 2010 issue of Winnipeg Jewish Review.

Jewish voters in Canada, he said, have historically voted for left-wing parties, or the Liberals. But today "it appears as if the Jewish vote is beginning to shift to the right."

As an example, he points to Thornhill, Ont., "an area that is unique among Canadian ridings in that the plurality of its residents are Jewish."

The riding has traditionally elected Liberals, he noted, but support for the Conservatives started to grow beginning with the 2004 federal election. During the 2008 election the riding went to the Conservative party and "similar shifts" took place in ridings "with concentrated Jewish populations across Canada," he said.

This includes Winnipeg South Centre, Fleisher noted, "a riding with a significant Jewish population and a Jewish member of Parliament." It, too, has seen a rise in support for the Conservatives.

"Without question," he concluded, "the Jews of Canada have begun to support the Conservative Party of Canada more with every election" -- a shift he attributed to a rise in Jewish affluence and social standing but also to the Conservative party's support for the nation of Israel.

"It will be very interesting to see if the trend of voting Conservative continues within the Jewish community," he added, noting the Jewish community is "entering a new era of politics in Canada."

-- Longhurst

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 23, 2011 J5

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