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True North

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To the Editor:

Michael Medved asks if Canadian Jews have “gone to the right,” but his attempt to answer the question misses the mark [“Jews, Conservatives, and Canada,” November 2013]. He is intent upon grafting alien American categories and considerations onto the Canadian political landscape, missing both the forest and the trees.

Mr. Medved writes: “Jewish Canadians decisively deserted…the center-left Liberal Party and migrated en masse to…[the] resurgent Conservative Party.” His description implies an ideological shift where there was none. The Conservative Party’s gain, from 37.6 percent of the popular vote in 2008 to 39.6 percent in the most recent election (2011), could hardly be called “resurgent.” The 2011 election was characterized by a unique collapse of the Liberal Party (falling from 30 percent to 18 percent of the popular vote), due to the acute unpopularity of the new Liberal leader (a professional academic who had spent most of his life abroad). Bloc Quebecois, a nationalist Quebec party, collapsed due to regional Quebec issues unrelated to left-right ideology (falling from 47 seats to 4 seats). The New Democratic Party, traditionally the small third party on the ideological left, picked up much of the two “collapsed” parties’ votes (rising from 34 seats to 67 seats), to become for the first time the official opposition party.