Canada – The largest Jewish organization in Canada has asked Prime Minister Stephen Harper to reject plans to call a federal election for October 14, which is the first day of Sukkot.
The Canadian Jewish Congress has written a letter to Harper, saying that holding an election during Sukkot would make it difficult for observant Jews to get to the polls and prevent them from working on election day. Harper might also suffer a backlash from a group of influential voters he has worked hard to court.
“This [Oct. 14] is the first day of the major Jewish festival of Sukkot, an important holy day on our community’s calendar,” stated the letter from CJC chief executive Bernie Farber. “An election on that day would have a very adverse impact on the Jewish electorate, as well as scrutineers, drivers, other campaign and Elections Canada volunteers.”
Last year, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty moved the date of Ontario’s election by six days to avoid a conflict with the Jewish holiday of Shemini Atzeret.
If the election date remains as is, observant Jewish voters will have the opportunity to vote in advance. It is expected that Harper will announce the election date later today or by Sunday at the latest.