David Tordjman, a Côte-Saint-Luc city councilor, is attempting to do in Mount Royal riding what its former mayor, Robert Libman, failed to do in the 2015 federal election — win for the Conservatives in a Liberal stronghold.
Tordjman, 48 and father of five, focuses on the overall Conservative theme, in his words, “leaving more money in the family’s hands.” In support of his campaign, Conservative leader Andrew Scheer dropped in last month and met voters, at a local bagel café at Lucerne and Jean Talon.
Among items in the party’s platform, Tordjman mentions “cutting the income-tax rate,” a pledge by leader Andrew Scheer to cut the tax rate on the lowest federal income bracket of up to $47,630 – the first chunk of earned income – to 13.5 from 15 per cent over four years.
He likes the promise to restore the tax credit introduced by the Conservatives, then cut by the Liberals when they created the Canada Child Benefit, to offset the costs of putting children in sports or arts classes, buying text books, and using transit passes. He mentions a pledge to remove the GST from home heating and energy bills, which the Conservatives say will save an average $107 a year.
“We’re going to allow seniors to work longer, if they so choose, and get a tax credit to offset the reduction in their Old Age pension,” he says. “You help families, seniors, and young students– you leave more money in their hands, you don’t tax them.”
On the environment, he cites “an action plan that is going to have results” and that includes scrapping the federal government carbon tax, which he says is little more than “another money grab, another way to offset the $19 billion in debt last year.”
Scheer’s plan says that under his governance, facilities that emit greenhouse gases will have to invest a certain amount to offset these omissions above a certain cap, but there are no specifics on the investment amounts or the cap. In contrast to his party’s approach, Torjdman says the Liberals have no plan to balance the budget, and will even increase it as they continue what he calls “a spending spree – trying to buy votes. We need to balance our budget and be fiscally responsible.” Another element of his campaign Tordjman says is “standing up for Israel,” charging that the Liberal government “has not done it.” (About 30% of voters in the riding are Jewish.)
“We’ve promised to move the Canadian embassy to Jerusalem, which is a big thing for a big part of the community.” (Following U.S. president Donald Trump’s announcement on moving its embassy to Jerusalem, Guatemala is the only country to do so.)
(Canada was among 35 countries that abstained from voting in December 2017 on a controversial UN resolution that condemned Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The vote was 128-9, and the no votes came from the U.S., Guatemala, Honduras, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Mauru, Palau, and Togo.)
According to Tordjman, “People are upset about that. They (the Canadian government) have not stood up for Israel when they should have.”
He also said riding voters are upset that Canada has allowed refugee claimants to bypass the Canada-U.S. Safe Third Country agreement by crossing from the U.S. illegally to obtain the right to a refugee hearing, which would not be allowed if they had sought legal entry into Canada after failing to file a refugee claim while in the U.S.
He said there are strong feelings on this issue among riding voters, particularly those from the Philippines who amount to about 11 per cent of the total. “Immigrants coming from the Philippines are coming legally and going through the process