The balance of power is shifting in Canada

December 9, 2010

Efforts to streamline Canada's alphabet-soup of Jewish agencies are perhaps needed. As Jonathan Kay, a Jewish columnist in the pro-Israel daily newspaper The National Post, noted: "I know of no other ethno-religious constituency in Canada - and perhaps even the world - that is so redundantly represented, on a per capita basis, in this manner."

But for many, the demise of the CJC would represent the loss of a name and a brand that is part of the Canadian Jewish psyche. "This name is crucial to us Holocaust survivors who it brought to Canada and to Canadians whose lives have been touched by its work," wrote Robert Waisman of the Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre.

The push for change largely emanates from Montreal, once Canadian Jewry's most influential centre. But with separatist governments in Quebec resulting in the departure of thousands of young Jews, the balance of power since the 1970s has favoured Toronto, with its 175,000 Jews - versus Montreal's 88,000. One observer suggested that Montreal is flexing its muscle because the leadership there is still stinging over the transfer in 1998 of CJC's headquarters to Toronto. "It's Jewish politics at its worst," he said.

Last updated: 1:49pm, December 9 2010