Stéphane Perrault

Bnai Brith Canada have criticised Chief Electoral Officer, Stéphane Perrault, for refusing to change Federal elections in Toronto set for Shemini Atzeret in October.

A Federal Court ordered Perrault to reconsider the vote after an orthodox Conservative Party candidate, Chani Aryeh-Bain underwent court proceedings.

Perrault accepts the election will inconvenience observant Jews but it was “not in the public interest” to alter the date as alternative methods such as voting early or by postal ballot were possible.

However, B’nai Brith Canada’s CEO Michael Mostyn said in a statement that Perrault had crossed a “red line” as Jewish candidates including Aryeh-Bain and David Tordjman in Mount Royal could not compete equally with non-Jewish candidates.

Mostyn added that when Élections Québec made a similar decision for a vote on Shemini Atzeret last year turnout in heavily Jewish areas dropped 72 per cent to 47 per cent.

“We fear that this scenario may repeat itself this year,” he added.

Disappointingly for Canadian Jews, Shimon Koffler Fogel, Canada’s Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, has not been denounced the ruling.

Fogel said his organisation respected the decision and would work closely with Elections Canada to maximise opportunities for the Jewish community to participate in the democratic process.