By ILANA BELFER
TORONTO (JTA) — Annamie Paul will break new ground if she wins the Green Party of Canada’s upcoming leadership race: She would be the first Black Jewish person to lead a federal or provincial party in the country.
That fact isn’t lost on her — it’s a big part of her motivation.
“We have a profound lack of diversity at the highest levels in our political leadership and it has always been the case,” said Paul, 47, who was born and raised in Toronto. “We have to do something about it — not only for reasons of equity, but also because there’s decades of research that confirms you get better public policy results when you have diversity at the table.”
For Paul, studies on the benefits of diversity in the public sector are more than figures and statistics — they’re her experience. She’s a lawyer who has dedicated her career to public affairs, working for Canada’s mission to the European Union, advising the International Criminal Court and serving as executive director of the Barcelona International Policy Action Plan, which aims to cultivate NGOs and other public policy centers.
While getting a master’s degree in public affairs at Princeton University, Paul converted to Judaism in 2000. Supervised by the director of the Hillel on campus, a Conservative rabbi, she learned to read Hebrew and was questioned by a beit din, or rabbinic court, prior to dipping in the mikvah, the ritual bath one submerges in as part of the conversion process.
“It was full on. I was very committed,” she said. “It’s a faith that has really spoken to me: the universality, the humanistic values … I’m very much guided by the idea that if you save one person, you save the world.”
Paul has been married to Mark Freeman, a Jewish international human rights lawyer, for nearly 25 years. But she stressed that the only reason anyone should consider conversion is “because they’re internally compelled to do so.” She said questions around whether she converted for her husband can make her feel othered by the Jewish community.
“It seems inconceivable to them that I might have been born Jewish, despite the fact that there are many Black Jews. I would not be asked these questions if I was white,” Paul said. “We need to avoid making distinctions between Jews, and questions like these suggest that some people are more Jewish than others or that Judaism is intrinsically white.”
Paul said raising a Jewish household has been one of “the great joys” of her life. Her two sons — Malachai, 19, and Jonas, 16 — spent much of their childhoods attending Jewish day schools in Belgium and Spain, depending where the family was living. They had bar mitzvahs in Toronto and Barcelona.
Like picking a religion, Paul looked to shared values to determine which political party she would join when her work no longer prohibited her from doing so. She said she was aligned with the liberal Green Party’s commitment to the climate emergency and to participatory democracy.
She ran as its Toronto Centre candidate in the 2019 federal election and, though she failed to win the seat, the small Green Party — led by Elizabeth May — celebrated a record result, earning three seats in the Parliament.
Paul recently spent six months as the party’s shadow international affairs chief. But she also hasn’t shied away from criticizing the Greens, which ran the least diverse slate in the last election.
“The Green Party has the most progressive platform and policies related to issues of social and racial justice … [but] we’re not reflecting that within our party,” Paul said. “We can’t preach these things externally if we’re not doing them internally.”
It’s not just a Green Party problem, though.
Currently, 12 of Canada’s 13 provincial and territorial leaders are men. Only a handful of the 338 Members of Parliament are Black. And until this year, it had been nearly 50 years since a Black woman ran for leadership of a national party.
Despite having one of the world’s largest Jewish populations, Canada has only really had one Jewish federal party leader — David Lewis, who was elected the New Democratic Party’s national leader in 1971.
“And this is 2020,” said Paul, adding that she believes this is one reason why “Canada is so far behind on issues related to systemic racism.”
“The frustration I have at the moment in terms of Canada is that we think we’re doing better. We think Black and Indigenous people are safer and … the statistics just say different,” she said.
In response to recent claims by the premiers of Quebec and Ontario denying or minimizing the existence of systemic racism in Canada, Paul was quick to cite a 2017 U.N. report, which found that “anti-Black racism” is “entrenched in [Canada’s] institutions, policies and practices.”
On her website, where she is collecting signatures to gather momentum for a national database on police use-of-force victims, Paul points out that Black residents of Toronto are 20 times more likely to be shot by police than whites, according to the Ontario Human Rights Commission, and that over 35 percent of people killed by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police from 2007 to 2017 were Indigenous, despite being just five percent of the population, according to the Globe and Mail.
Paul said she is aware that her identities as a Black and Jewish woman in politics give her a unique platform during times like these. As she put it, “people are very curious about my perspective.”
“I’m trying to be as clear as I can about what things I consider to be important … on behalf of those who don’t usually get asked what they think about things,” she said.
This entails raising up the voices of young Black Greens on social media, where Paul has posted a video series featuring people like Kiara Nazon, who founded the “Young Greens” at Carleton University.
“What does it feel like to be Black right now? To be entirely honest it feels just about the same as it always has and that’s because these issues aren’t new,” Nazon said in a video posted to Twitter. “We need leaders who aren’t going to be taken by surprise by issues like police brutality toward Black, Indigenous People of Color. We need leaders who have lived these realities.”
Paul said she felt more at risk on a daily basis while living as a Black person while living in the United States, and that she “trembles” for some family she has there. She also said her husband didn’t want their son going to school in the U.S., fearing for his physical safety.
But, she added, “I certainly feel those dangers here as well.”
Demonstrations in Toronto have been relatively peaceful, as thousands have taken to the streets calling for justice for George Floyd and Regis Korchinski-Paquet. Korchinski-Paquet fell from a balcony to her death in the presence of police officers. Her family has raised concerns over the role played by the police, which Ontario’s police watchdog is now investigating.
“I’m hoping that we move from what I consider to be the empty gestures of our prime minister and some of our other politicians to actual action,” Paul said. “I don’t want him to kneel. I want him to stand up and say that he’s going to make the changes that have been recommended by the U.N. on behalf of Black Canadians.”
While running an unprecedented campaign almost entirely online due to COVID-19, Paul said she spends most of her days in the digital world, where they run three to four events a week, including “The New Normal Tour,” a series of virtual town hall meetings discussing critical issues within the context of a Green recovery.
Next they’ll discuss long-term care centers, which have had 82 percent of Canada’s COVID-19 deaths. Sadly, Paul’s father was among them.
“It was avoidable,” she said. “These things were problems but they weren’t laid so bare. They’ve been exposed in a way they have never been before.”
In addition to advocating for long-term care centers to be publicly insured under the Canada Health Act, Paul said she hopes large government investments triggered by the coronavirus are used to fill holes in the social safety net — without forgetting climate change.
“I want to see us moving towards the green transition … the climate emergency has not taken a pause,” said Paul, noting the European Commission’s green recovery package as an example of recent global action.
Paul is facing off against nine other candidates in the race to lead the Green Party, which will hold its election in October. But Paul has the longest list of endorsements.
“We need to move towards a truly just and equitable society by … making sure that every Canadian — whether they’re living in long-term care or they’re working part-time or they’re students or they’re black or they’re Indigenous — whatever their circumstances, can live in dignity and security,” she said.
Legal Roadmap: Canadians Working Down Under in Australia
Australia’s sun-kissed shores, vibrant cities, and dynamic job market attract many Canadians looking to expand their horizons. The allure of working Down Under is strong, but before you can exchange the chilly Canadian winters for Australia’s summer beaches, there’s a significant legal pathway to navigate. This post will guide you through the necessary steps to ensure that your Australian work experience is both enjoyable and compliant with local laws. One essential element is securing an Australian visa for Canadians, but there’s much more to consider. Let’s dive in.
Understanding Australian Work Visas for Canadians
The first port of call for any Canadian looking to work in Australia is to secure the correct visa. The Australian visa for Canadians is not a one-size-fits-all; there are several options depending on the nature and duration of your stay.
Working Holiday Visa (Subclass 417)
Many young Canadians (18 to 30 years old, with a recent extension to 35 for some applicants) choose the Working Holiday visa. This visa allows you to work and travel in Australia for up to 12 months, with the possibility of extending it for a second or third year if certain conditions are met, such as undertaking regional work.
Temporary Skill Shortage Visa (Subclass 482)
If you have skills in particular occupations that are in demand, you might qualify for the Temporary Skill Shortage visa. This requires sponsorship from an approved Australian employer and has both short-term and medium-term streams.
Employer Nomination Scheme (Subclass 186)
For Canadians with significant work experience who are being offered a permanent role in Australia, the Employer Nomination Scheme visa may be suitable. It allows you to work in Australia permanently, and your occupation must be on the relevant list of eligible skilled occupations.
Skilled Independent Visa (Subclass 189)
This visa is for invited workers and New Zealand citizens with skills Australia needs. For Canadians, it means you’re not sponsored by an employer or family member or nominated by a state or territory government.
Securing an Australian Visa for Canadians
Assess Your Eligibility
Your first step is to determine which visa fits your circumstances best. Assess your skills, qualifications, and the purpose of your stay in Australia to identify the right visa subclass.
Gather Necessary Documentation
Once you’ve determined the visa you need, compile all the necessary documentation. This may include proof of qualifications, work experience, health insurance, and police checks.
Most visa applications can now be made online via the Australian Government’s Department of Home Affairs website. Ensure all information is accurate and that you include all required supporting documents to avoid delays.
Processing times can vary depending on the visa type and the volume of applications received by the Department of Home Affairs. During this time, keep an eye on your application status and be prepared to provide additional information if requested.
Upon approval, you’ll receive your visa grant number and the date your visa starts. Make sure to comply with all visa conditions and keep a copy of your visa grant notice.
Preparing for the Australian Workplace
Understanding the legal framework is vital, but it’s just as important to prepare for the cultural shift in the workplace.
Australian work culture might be more casual and laid back than you’re used to in Canada. However, this doesn’t mean that Australians do not work hard. It’s a balance, with a strong emphasis on work-life harmony.
Employee Rights and Obligations
Familiarize yourself with Australian labour laws. The Fair Work Ombudsman provides resources outlining your rights and obligations as an employee in Australia, including fair pay, work hours, and workplace safety.
Leverage social platforms like LinkedIn or local Canadian-Australian business associations to build your network and find job opportunities.
Once you arrive, there are a few practicalities to take care of:
Tax File Number (TFN)
You’ll need to apply for a TFN for taxation purposes. Without it, you’ll be taxed at the highest rate.
Australian Bank Account
Open a local bank account to manage your finances efficiently. Some banks allow you to open an account from Canada up to three months before you arrive.
Consider short-term accommodation while you get your bearings. Research the housing market in your chosen city to find something more permanent.
Depending on the visa, you might need to maintain health insurance coverage for the duration of your stay. Research Australian health insurance providers and select a suitable policy.
Abiding by Visa Conditions
Ensure you fully understand the conditions of your visa. Working longer than permitted or outside of the terms could lead to visa cancellation.
Understand your tax obligations. Canada and Australia have a tax treaty to prevent double taxation. However, it’s wise to consult with a tax professional.
Consider consulting with an immigration lawyer or registered migration agent to assist with complex visa applications or issues that arise while in Australia.
Embrace the Australian Experience
Working in Australia can be a life-changing experience. By following this legal roadmap, you’ll be well-equipped to embrace the Australian lifestyle and work culture. Remember, securing an Australian visa for Canadians is your golden ticket to an incredible personal and professional journey Down Under. Prepare thoroughly, respect the local laws, and immerse yourself in all the adventures that await.
Why don’t the Palestinians of Gaza rid themselves of Hamas?
By JACK LONDON I am Jewish. I am sickened by and angry about the unprovoked invasion of Israel by Hamas and its brutal murders, rapes, dissection and kidnappings of Israeli babies, children, women, and men. I am offended by the ignorance and distortion of the region’s history. I am offended by the policies of the CBC and other journalists who use the word “militants” to describe “terrorists.”.Militants do not rape, murder and amputate the heads of babies. Terrorists do. Hamas and terrorism are synonyms. They are not freedom fighters; they are oppressive cruel despots and thugs who have subjugated and sacrificed their own people. I am mortified that a group of 38 Liberal MPs, (perhaps led astray by Prime Minister Trudeau’s own jump to a wrongful judgment of Israel’s responsibility for the deaths in a Gaza hospital parking lot), have authored a demand that Israel desists from pursuing the leadership and mechanisms of Hamas’s terror these many years. Just what is the alternative when cowardly terrorists use civilian populations as shields behind which to hide, plot and act out their nefarious brutality?
Most of all, I ask myself why it is that the Palestinian population of Gaza has not itself found the desire, courage, or capacity to stand up, demand elections and exorcise its malevolent Hamas government?
I am not a Pollyanna automaton about Israel. I don’t agree with Israel’s ultra-orthodox sects whose members fail to serve their country and, replicating the past, inhibit their future. I do not support suggestions by some Israeli settlers of the West Bank to introduce apartheid-like policies into Israel’s existing principled democracy. Apartheid was, is and must remain an antonym to Israeli ethics and democracy. I condemn the recent retaliatory murders of some Palestinians by a few settlers on the West Bank. I fear and oppose the recent attempts by PM Netanyahu and his fascistic coalition partners to take uninhibited control of government by reducing judicial expertise and oversight of Israel’s basic laws. Netanyahu’s coalition has been, for the moment, sidelined by the recent formation of the Unity War Coalition, but it will be back in control. It is anti-democratic and increasingly and rightly disrespected in the Jewish Diaspora. Moreover, Netanyahu and his coalition conservatives have been so focused on their radical, self-serving, anti-democratic restructuring of the essential liberalism of Israel, they failed to fulfill their primary responsibilities: anticipation of, protection from and defense against inevitable attacks by Hamas throughout its modern existence and its allies. Tragic!
Nevertheless, Israel has been a shining light of democracy, innovation, education, science, business, progress, inventiveness, peace, humanism and a haven for Jews and others suffering persecution around the world. Absurdly, these strengths inflate the historic conscious or unconscious anti-Semitism of much of the world for whom anti-Zionism is just a synonym for anti-Semitism. But, Jews are the historical citizens and governors of the land of Israel. Read the voluminous histories and the Bible, check the archeology, and study the scholarly works. On the other hand, a Palestinian People has never existed or held governmental control of the land of Israel. Arabs have lived on the land, named Palestine by the world’s superpowers in 1929, but they were never rulers or governors of a state. The governance for centuries had been Ottoman and, later, British.
Compared with the never-ending deadly damage Arab leaders in the Middle East have imposed on their own populations, I take great pride in Israel’s development and in the two million progressive and successful Arabs who, as residents of Israel, share rights equivalent to Jewish citizens, including participation in the Knesset, its governing Parliament.
Hamas, which rules in and dominates Gaza, is a Mafia-like organization of masked (always the telltale mark of terror) soldiers, first elected to office in 2007, but never since forced to stand for re-election. The leadership of The Palestinian Authority has had legitimate governance rights in Gaza and the West Bank but has been hampered and obstructed by Hamas. Both the PA and Hamas have never had any compunction about senseless provocation of Israel, which has led inevitably to the disbenefit of Palestinians who deserve better. Their hate invokes continuing hardship, peril, death, and a Kafka-like impossibility of finding their way out to the light.
It is not the fault of the Palestinian residents themselves. Arab leaders, not Israelis, authored the wars in the region which have cost their peoples dearly. Successful, learned, intelligent, hardworking, affluent, peace desiring Arabs and Palestinians in Israel and the West Bank outnumber those who are poor and hawkish. They all are victims. They suffer never ending fear and malignant infection because of Hamas’s terrorism, the ineptness of the Palestinian Authority, and absurdly evil misinterpretations of the Koran by radical Mullahs – all of which is supported by Iran and Hezbollah. They teach hatred of Jews to Arab children in their schools, thereby victimizing yet another generation of their own people.
The Palestinians who suffer in the disputed territories and Gaza are victims deserving of our caring and support. Given its seaside port and border, Gaza, which originally was Egyptian, could have flourished when Israel unilaterally withdrew its troops and settlers in 2007. It failed because of Hamas and the Islamic Jihad. The failure was not because of Israel’s insistence on a blockade at the Gaza’s border with the sea; it was because of Hamas terror and Iranian malevolence that a blockade has been necessary.
The Palestinians suffer from the shortsightedness of their leaders, terrorist or not, who consistently reject available solutions that would end hostilities and would permit peace and prosperity to reign for all. Peace and viable two state options have been open to Arab leaders for decades and not taken. The United Nation’s 1948 Partition Plan, which divided the former British mandate into two states, was rejected by the Arabs who instead chose war- twice. United Nations Resolution 242 called for a land-for-peace solution. It has been offered and refused. The 1978 Camp David Accords failed. The Oslo Accords of Israeli Prime Ministers Peres and Rabin, and PLO Chairman Arafat in 1993/95, which bore the seeds of success, were sabotaged. The generous Camp David Accord of 2000 negotiated by President Clinton between Israeli Prime Minister Barak and Chairman Arafat was quickly renounced by Arafat. Arafat likely demurred because he feared assassination from his own if he did the right thing.
Israel’s two base line conditions for peace: acceptance that Jews are a People, not only a religion, and that Israel has the right to exist as a homeland of the Jewish People, have not been honored.
My concern for the Palestinian population of Gaza, Jerusalem, and the West Bank, stems primarily from the failure of its leaders to grab the always available opportunity to secure a new, flourishing path for their people. I bemoan their timidity and shortsightedness and I fear for the never-ending disappointment and pain of their people They deserve better from their own but their own, Hamas, are illegitimate cowards and murderers.
Abba Eban, the brilliant Israeli orator, in a speech in Geneva in 1973 famously exclaimed that “Arabs never miss the opportunity to miss an opportunity.” I wish Eban had been wrong. But, though some Arab countries have moved forward into the light, my heart tells me that in the case of the Palestinians, nothing has changed. They are doomed to suffer under the crushing heels of their immoral terrorists and incapable politicians, past and present.
Unfortunately, the worst is yet to come. Israel’s intention to disable Hamas once and for all will have unhappy side effects in Gaza, Israel, and the broader Middle East. But it has no option. It is at war begun by Hamas, which must be eradicated. It cannot allow terror to win. It cannot insult the memory of the victims of the Hamas massacre and the yet unknown fate of more than two hundred hostages held by Hamas. The side effects will be many and unhappy, but there is no choice. Israelis cannot be docile while facing the barrels of guns aimed at them. It must eradicate the shooters.
Jack R London C.M, Q.C, LLM (Harv)
Author: “Serendipity: My Path Through Life and Law” (Heartland Associates Great Books).
Former Dean of Law, University of Manitoba;
presently, Senior Counsel to a Winnipeg Law Firm
A Winnipeger at heart speaks from the heart from Jerusalem: Solly Dreman, Ph.D.
Posted Oct. 31, 2023 By SOLLY DREMAN Israel is faced today with a crisis of historical proportions with a threat not only to its existence but to the free democratic world at large. The horrendous events of Shabbat October 7th in which 1400 citizens, men, women and children and infants were slaughtered, decapitated and raped, 3400 injured and 239 taken hostage in Gaza or declared missing has shocked the nation, shaken Israeli citizens’ confidence and is threatening not only Israel but the free democratic world .
There is no question that this was a genocide of historical proportions and an act of pure evil designed like the Holocaust to ultimately exterminate the Jewish people world-wide. This is the professed aim of Jihad, but the reactions of the international community extend beyond Islam and the cries of the woke international community for “the massacre of the massacred” echoed in recent mass demonstrations, hate crimes, support of leading university administrators and their students is unforgivable. Even more shocking is the support of so called liberal progressive Jews, even rabbis, against Israel in support of a “Free Palestine”.
As a Winnipegger who made Aliyah to Israel in 1964 and has been a part of the main stream of Israel’s life as a clinical psychologist dealing with central issues in Israel like war and terrorism, immigration, death and dying and families in crisis, I have been exposed to some of the main streams in Israel’s development. I am proud of being an Israeli and being part and parcel of this young, dynamic, nation state. I am, however, deeply concerned with the fate of our nation, which is the ultimate saferoom for the Jewish people in times of crisis.
As a Winnipegger I am very proud of my origins and even wrote a book: “A Personal Odyssey:
From Winnipeg to Jerusalem” (link attached). Winnipeg is a great supporter of Israel and in the Yom Kippur War in 1973 donated more per capita than any other city in North America. Bernie Bellan just wrote me that in the current war efforts Winnipeg has raised over 3.6 million dollars for Israel’s war efforts, which is indeed commendable. In these fateful days Israel badly needs the continued and unconditional support of world Jewry. Knowing Winnipeg’s Jewish community well I am certain Israel can count on its continuing support for Israel as the continuing homeland for world Jewry.🙏
Solly Dreman made Aliyah to Israel in 1964. He is a Fulbright Scholar (University of California Medical School, 1977) and Professor Emeritus in Clinic Psychology at Ben Gurion University of the Negev. He was the Brigade Psychologist of the Jerusalem Brigade on the Suez Canal in the Yom Kippur War in 1973
Post script: I asked Solly whether, given his extensive experience as a psychologist, he could offer any tips to Israelis that might help them in the current situation. Here is what he wrote back:
1. Unprecedented rates of volunteering on the home front such as offering psychological assistance, hosting refugee families from the south and north, providing food and clothing for both civilians and soldiers, etc. Being active is therapeutic and diminishes self concern and anxiety.
2. The media: Too much exposure, particularly to graphic portrayals of violence exacerbates anxiety. Too little exposure and lack of information also promotes uncertainty and anxiety. Need a moderate level of exposure.
3. Social support as displayed in whatsapp groups, zoom meetings, meetings with friends when exposure to threat is minimal are important and prevalent.
4. Parents, should present their children a confident but not invincible stance like “For sure we will win!”. They should not be afraid to admit that they are also anxious because this will prevent their children from expressing their emotions.
5. Information about victims on the home and battle front should be conveyed to children and family at large because, particularly in Israel, war and grief are intimate and the facts on the warfront will ultimately be revealed. Failure to disclose realities on the ground will create a confidence gap.
6. Routine and activity should be encouraged such as physical activity, school when there are adequate safe rooms and family and social visits when the security situation permits.
7. Contact with families of victims is important. As a brigade psychologist in the Yom Kippur War many families complained that friends avoided them because it was difficult for them to confront death and dying. This was very painful for deceased families