Canadian opposition leader vows to move embassy to Jerusalem if elected – what are his chances?

“I believe most Canadians still support Israel, and his support is therefore mainstream,” said Conservative strategist Georganne Burke.

By Atara Beck, World Israel News 

Chaim Silberstein, founder and chairman of the “Keep Jerusalem” NGO, and Ran Ishay, head of KJ’s Jerusalem Center for Applied Policy, celebrated Canadian Conservative party leader Pierre Poilievre’s announcement that if elected, he will move his country’s embassy to Jerusalem.

The NGO met with Polievre in Ottawa last Monday at Parliament Hill in Ottawa. Also present were Israeli diplomats and Canadian MPs, including Deputy Opposition Leader Melissa Lantsman.

“During the election campaign, I said that I recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and today, as the leader of the opposition, the leader of the Conservative Party and a sitting member of parliament, I once again say clearly and unequivocally – Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, and when I am elected Prime Minister of Canada, I will see to it that the embassy is moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem,” Poilievre told the gathering.

“The purpose of our visit to Canada,” Silberstein said, “was precisely this: to hear this clear and official pronouncement from Canadian members of parliament and especially the opposition leader who will potentially be the next prime minister.”

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Silberstein and Ishay, who previously served as director-general of the Jerusalem Ministry and a diplomatic advisor at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, provided a comprehensive briefing of the challenges facing Jerusalem from both within and without, along with potential solutions, the organization said in a press release.

“We intend to develop collaborative relationships with additional international parties on the issue of Jerusalem,” Silberstein said.

Georganne Burke, a Conservative strategist and communications expert, expressed optimism that Poilievre would succeed and carry out his commitment to move the embassy.

“I fully believe that Pierre Poilievre will move the Canadian Embassy to Jerusalem,” she told World Israel News. “As long as I’ve known him, Pierre has always been a strong, principled and committed supporter of Israel. He also believes that a sovereign nation has the right to name its capital. And that’s where our embassy belongs.”

Currently, the Liberals are in power with a minority government, headed by Justin Trudeau, who is serving his second term. How will the Conservative leader’s announcement influence Canadian voters in the next election?

“I believe most Canadians still support Israel, and his support is therefore mainstream,” Burke said. “I don’t think it will hurt him to commit to moving the embassy, and in fact, it will solidify his support in many parts of Canadian society.”

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Poilievre “has an excellent chance of defeating the Liberals,” Burke said. “The economy is suffering, which means Canadians are suffering.”

The opposition leader “is an excellent communicator and can distill complex topics down in a way that people can digest it,” she continued.

“He has reunited the Conservative family which had been fractured since Stephen Harper’s defeat in 2015. I have told many of my Liberal friends who were rooting for Pierre to win, thinking he was unelectable, that you should be careful what you wish for.

“The party has over 600,000 members, the largest in its history. Pierre is getting his message out through non-traditional channels. Liberals should be worried, very worried.”