Jewish community members Tamara Kronis (Conservative party) and Avi Lewis (NDP) are running in the upcoming federal election. (photos from candidates)
British Columbia’s comparatively small Jewish community has produced a number of senior political figures, including the province’s first Jewish premier, Dave Barrett, and the current minister of finance, Selina Robinson, and minister of environment and climate change strategy, George Heyman. In this federal election, there appear to be just two candidates in British Columbia who are Jewish.
Tamara Kronis is the Conservative Party of Canada candidate for Nanaimo-Ladysmith. The riding is being closely watched by national observers as it is home to one of only two Green party MPs. Paul Manly, the incumbent, once sought an NDP nomination but was rejected by the party, apparently due to controversy over his positions on Israel and Palestine. While the other Green MP, former leader Elizabeth May, is seen as safe in her riding of Saanich-Gulf Islands, Manly appears to be in (at least) a three-way race with Kronis and New Democrat Lisa Marie Barron. Michelle Corfield is the Liberal candidate.
Kronis is a lawyer and heads a jewelry manufacturing and retail business. Until last month, she was associate chair of the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal and an independent director of Toronto Hydro. Earlier in her career, she served as director of advocacy for EGALE Canada, the national LGBTQ+ organization. She was a trial assistant at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.
Across the water and across the spectrum, Avi Lewis is the New Democratic Party candidate in West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea-to-Sky Country. A scion of Canada’s left-wing dynasty, Lewis is the son of journalist Michele Landsberg and Stephen Lewis, a former Ontario NDP leader and Canadian ambassador to the United Nations. His grandfather, David Lewis, was the leader of Canada’s NDP, from 1971 to 1975.
Avi Lewis is a journalist and activist who recently produced and co-wrote the Emmy-nominated animated short film about the Green New Deal, Message from the Future, with U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Lewis co-authored “The Leap Manifesto,” which was “a call to action on climate and inequality that was launched by an historic coalition of Indigenous leaders, unions and environmentalists, and signed by more than 50,000 Canadians,” according to Lewis’s website.
Lewis has an uphill climb. The riding, which straddles some of Canada’s wealthiest voters and the disparate communities along Howe Sound, has back-and-forthed between the Liberals and Conservatives in recent years. It is held by two-term Liberal MP Patrick Weiler, who is beating back a challenge from former Conservative MP John Weston. In 2019, the NDP candidate came fourth, well behind the Green party.