A major part of the annual downtown Montreal Israel rally has been the greetings, in person and via video, from municipal, provincial and federal politicians.
That part of the tradition has been carried on this year, as politicians from across Canada, and diplomats, took part in a 14-minute video to celebrate Israel’s 72nd birthday. The video was presented last week by the Israeli Embassy in Ottawa, and the Consulate for Montreal and the Atlantic provinces, and Toronto and the Western provinces.
“Meeting in person this year may not be an option,” said Israeli Consul-General David Levy, “but celebrating our accomplishments and the alliance between our two countries sure is.”
“Canada is proud to stand with Israel,” said Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne. “We were one of the first countries to recognize Israel’s independence, so this celebration also marks 70 years of close friendship, cooperation and solidarity between our two countries.... Canada will continue to stand with Israel and fight anti-Semitism.”
Quebec International Relations Minister Nadine Girault said the Israeli people have experienced a “remarkable history,” and are a “model of resilience for all other peoples.” She added that Israel is a vibrant democracy that “developed a robust and dynamic economy” and is a world leader of technological innovation.
“It’s a very important day for the State of Israel and I’m happy to celebrate it with you,” said Transport Minister Marc Garneau, the MP for NDG-Westmount.
“These are trying times for all of us,” said Mount Royal MP Anthony Housefather. “It’s not easy to celebrate Independence Day in a pandemic, but Israel has been through so much more, and it survived and endured. I want to say to the State of Israel and all of you — happy birthday Israel!”
“In both good times and in challenging times, we are proud to be strong allies and friends of Israel,” said federal Opposition leader Andrew Scheer. “Since its modern rebirth, Israel has achieved remarkable things and it has become not only a model democracy, but a free and pluralistic society. On behalf of Canada’s Conservatives, may Israel be blessed with peace, health and prosperity.”
Senator Leo Housakos celebrated Israel as one of the “most inspiring and remarkable achievements in history.”
“I’m proud to add my very best wishes,” said D’Arcy McGee MNA David Birnbaum. “What a moment to remember the qualities that mark our wonderful State of Israel —the boldness, the innovation, the determination, the courage that have built this democratic nation and this light unto the nations of the world.”
“I wish you continued success and prosperity on this important day,” said Ste. Rose MNA Christopher Skeete.
“The Montreal Jewish community celebrates with the global Jewish world,” Federation CJA president Gail Adelson Marcovitz said.
Other speakers were Ontario Premier Doug Ford, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, Manitoba Deputy Premier Heather Stefanson, Saskatchewan Trade Minister Jeremy Harrison, British Columbia Municipal Affairs Minister Selina Robinson, Ontario Transport Minister Caroline Mulroney, Quebec International Relations Minister Nadine Gerault, Quebec Environment Minister Benoît Charette, Senator Linda Frum, Senator Marc Gold, Toronto Mayor John Tory, Halifax Mayor Mike Savage, B’nai Brith Canada CEO Michael Mostyn, Israeli Consul-General for Toronto and Western Canada Galit Baram and Israeli Ambassador Marc Attali and his embassy staff, the latter all wearing masks and popping a bottle of champagne.