Jewish community member Mira Oreck, director of public engagement for the Broadbent Institute, has announced that she will seek the federal NDP nomination in the riding of Vancouver Granville. She spoke with the Jewish Independent about that decision. For more information, readers can visit miraoreck.ca.
JI: Why have you chosen to seek a nomination for the NDP?
MO: I am seeking the NDP nomination in Vancouver Granville because I believe in Tom Mulcair, his vision for Canada and the impressive group of leaders he has assembled to turn that vision into reality. In particular, I am compelled by his commitment to address climate change, to create affordable and accessible childcare for $15 per day and the solutions he has put forward to address the growing rate of income inequality in Canada.
JI: Why now in your career path are you seeking this nomination?
MO: I spent a number of years living in New York City and watching from afar as the direction of our country began to change. Science and evidence-based policy were being ignored. The judicial system was under attack. The core of our democracy was being challenged. I moved back to Vancouver because I could no longer watch that happen to Canada. I’m seeking the NDP nomination because I believe Canadians are ready for a change, that Mulcair is the leader with the clearest values and most ready to govern, and I want to be part of that change.
JI: Foreign policy, in particular towards Israel, is a main issue for many in the Jewish community. What are your thoughts on the Canada-Israel relationship and how would you want that to change (or not) if you were to become an NDP MP?
MO: I grew up in this riding, in the heart of the Jewish community, and a deep relationship with Israel has always been part of my world. I have visited Israel over a half-dozen times and spent a year living in Jerusalem studying at
Hebrew University. In this sense, I relate to the Jewish community’s concerns, both in terms of domestic policy issues and foreign policy, with respect to Israel in particular.
I am proud to run for a political party that supports the state of Israel and, importantly, is working towards a two-state solution. As Canadians, we were once known for listening and hearing the various sides of a conflict. I know many people on every side of this conflict – and the vast majority, even the most frustrated among them, want trust-building efforts that can lead to solutions for Israelis and Palestinians. I believe we, as Canadians, have a responsibility to be bridge-builders. I trust that the NDP under Tom Mulcair would be just that.
JI: When is the nomination vote taking place; who else is running? What would make you a better candidate for the Jewish community, or in general?
MO: The nomination meeting date has not yet been set but will likely be the final week of July. There is another candidate in the race and the vote will be among current NDP members in Vancouver Granville.
It would be an honor to serve as a member of Parliament for a riding with a large concentration of Jewish community members, many of whom I grew up with. As a former director of Canadian Jewish Congress, Pacific Region, I am acutely aware of the issues facing the community and have a track record of advocating for them. I know that, for many people in the community, issues of affordable child care, investments in public transit, an increase in the minimum wage and addressing climate change are at the core of their beliefs.
I know that members of the community are members of all political parties, and strongly support and encourage political engagement. I have been thrilled by the support I have received from members of the Jewish community who have joined the NDP to support me in this nomination race.
JI: If there is anything else you’d like to add, please do.
MO: The importance of civic and political engagement is a direct result of my family’s work within the Jewish community and my experience in USY and at summer camp. Recently, I have been inspired by a younger generation of leadership in Israel who believe in the political system making change. Watching them seek and hold office and shape their own country has shown me the importance of diving in!