Every election gives us the power to make a difference. Every election is an opportunity to make an impact. This municipal election, you can make both happen.
The past two years have seen British Columbians head to the ballot boxes more than once. A provincial government was elected in 2020, a federal one in 2021 and, now, we’ll be completing the trifecta on Oct. 15, with municipal elections. This makes it the perfect time to sign up to volunteer on the campaign of your choice.
Municipal elections are unique because voters are electing multiple officials, including a mayor, city councilors, school board trustees and, depending on the municipalities or regional districts, a slew of other positions, such as park board commissioners, rural directors and more. These are all opportunities for the Jewish community to build relationships with candidates and incoming elected representatives.
The job of the Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee (CJPAC) is to encourage the Jewish and pro-Israel community to get engaged in politics and to facilitate that involvement.
CJPAC does this not by lobbying or advocating but by providing community members with the tools and confidence to build relationships with politicians. Your involvement in politics helps politicians become more familiar with the community’s needs, concerns and goals.
The Jewish community makes up less than one percent of the population in British Columbia. Because it’s so small – demographically speaking – community members need to step up in a big way. Volunteering across campaigns and parties strengthens our community, especially because of how spread out the Jewish population is around the province.
Volunteering gives community members firsthand experience to see what it takes to elect a candidate and, most importantly, plays a valuable role in building lasting relationships with politicians. When you volunteer, you become a key driver of the number one goal of a campaign: “getting out the vote.”
If you want an idea of just how much every vote can matter, look no further than 2018 when the Vancouver mayoral election was decided by only 984 votes – that’s a difference in total votes of less than one percent.
Volunteering is easy and flexible. It can include both in-person and remote tasks, such as making phone calls, door-knocking, delivering and/or putting up signs and so much more. Another crucial volunteering activity is scrutineering, where candidate representatives are trained by the campaign to scrutinize the ballot-counting process.
Political volunteering is geared for all ages. It’s especially great for adults and seniors who have a few hours to spare to enhance the Jewish community, and high school students eager to get their volunteer credits. (By the way, applications for this year’s Generation program for Jewish politically savvy high school students are now being accepted. The deadline for submissions is Oct. 14, at cjpac.ca/generation.)
Learn more by using CJPAC as your political concierge to connect you to the campaign/candidate of your choice and train you to be an election volunteer. Sign up at cjpac.nationbuilder.com/bcmelxn22.
Still need more information? RSVP at cjpac.ca/event/meetmayor to attend the Sept. 29, 6 p.m., Meet Your Next Mayor event at Vancouver Talmud Torah, which CJPAC is co-hosting with the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA). Community members who attend will get to interact with Vancouver’s mayoral candidates and ask their questions.
As Jews, we are committed to contributing to the greater society. With Rosh Hashanah on the way, CJPAC encourages you to renew your commitment to the community by making an impact on the political world and making cities across the province more welcoming and safer places for all British Columbians.
Contact CJPAC’s B.C. regional director, Kara Mintzberg, at [email protected] or 778-903-1854, to get your volunteering journey started, or for any other inquiries.