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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Are You on One of Big Brother's Lists?

The Ottawa Citizen is reporting today that several people of the Jewish faith are very concerned and perplexed at receiving an unexpected greeting card from the Prime Minister’s office.

According to the Citizen, when Michelle Kofman found a Rosh Hashanah greeting card from Prime Minister Stephen Harper in her mailbox last month, she was left with one puzzling question: How does he know I'm Jewish?

Ms. Kofman was one of several Jewish people who have expressed discomfort with the colourful greeting card sent out by the Prime Minister's Office. She is wondering how she got on the prime minister's mailing list and found it unsettling that the address line of the card included her middle name.

"The only time I use my full name is for government stuff -- social insurance number, driver's licence, passport," she said.

But Ms. Kofman said she is not a member of any Jewish organizations and, to her knowledge, isn't listed in any directories catering to the Jewish community.

"I don't belong to a synagogue and I don't give to Israel," said Ms. Kofman, who notes she is not a Conservative party supporter.

Josh Keshen, who also lives in Thornhill, said he was surprised by the card, addressed to his entire family.

"At first I was a little shocked," said Mr. Keshen, who works in the insurance industry. "It seemed very odd. How did they know my whole family is Jewish?"

He also doesn't think he is listed in any directories.

The same Rosh Hashanah greeting sent to Thornhill also went to at least one recipient in the riding of Winnipeg South Centre. She said it was possible she was listed in a Jewish directory at one time, but she wasn't certain.

"I didn't live through the Second World War, but I've read enough and heard enough to know that the thought of a list of Jewish people makes people cringe", said the Winnipeg recipient.

Though an unamed source denied that the PMO makes use of official government documents for such purposes, the cards have people wondering what information source Stephen Harper’s office is using to uncover such personal and detailed information about Canadian citizens. It also begs the question of who else might be on some as yet unknown list and for what purpose their name could be kept on file.

I believe it was Pastor Martin Niemoller who said of Germany’s government during the war years:

“First they came for the Jews and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew."

"Then they came for the Communists and I did not speak out because I was not a Communist."

"Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist."

"Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me.”


Anonymous said...

Last year, there were was a call to my dad's apartment in London, Ont. from a Harper supporter. The call was to remind my mother, an Anglican minister, to get out and vote in the upcoming byelection. The Conservatives had brought in Diane Haskett as their choice candidate, who needed all the support she could get. I assumed they were calling my mom because she was a good Christian and might vote for the wack-job Haskett for her tough stance against same-sex marriage. Little did they know that my mom had been suffering from dementia and/or Alzheimer's for about 8 years and had been in a care facility for about 7 of those years.

Who knows what kind of lists the Harper idealogues have compiled....

babe in boyland said...

the same kind of lists as every other well-funded politician with access to government records.

Anonymous said...

"OTTAWA -- There is nothing "nefarious" about Prime Minister Stephen Harper compiling a mailing list of Jewish Canadians and sending their households holiday greetings, two prominent Jewish lobby groups said yesterday."

and. . .

""I really do think there's a very sinister motivation by individuals who are asking for an examination of where these lists came from or how they were accumulated," Mr. Dimant said in an interview.

He welcomed the greeting, calling it a first for a Canadian prime minister, and said he hopes "it's a tradition that prime ministers down the line will carry on.""

(from http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20071013.PRIVACY13/TPStory/TPNational/Politics/)