As a convener, your Jewish Federation of Ottawa continues to invite discussion and healthy debate as we work hand-in-hand with our advocacy partner, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA). Our success in facilitating rich conversation remains the most effective advocacy strategy, as opposed to trading in sound bites, or sometimes using hyperbole about the challenges facing our communities. In fact, the Jewish community’s deep involvement in public life is respected and many other communities and stakeholders recognize the Federation as an important and authentic voice in several public squares.
Local government issues often affect our lives in the most intimate and powerful ways. Anyone who has traveled in places without well-functioning local governments has seen the evidence. In other words, when civic government is running as it should, it is often invisible. When it is not, it can make ordinary life difficult, or even impossible. Ottawa is an example, for the most part, of a well-run city.
Of course, we have our concerns and certainly there are serious issues affecting residents, including but not limited to: housing affordability; widening inequality; food security; strengthening communal infrastructure; health services; as well as combatting the increase in incidents of antisemitism.
As we welcome Mayor Mark Sutcliffe, the new city council and school board trustees, Federation will continue to advocate on the numerous issues vital to ensuring a strong, safe and vibrant Jewish community. We will continue to work with everyone, including those with whom we might have opposing views, in the hope that we can find common ground. Yasher Koach to this new slate of city leaders. We wish them success and wisdom in their mission to guide and enhance our city.