Anthony Housefather (born January 25, 1971) is a Canadian Member of Parliament representing the riding of Mount Royal in the west end of the island of Montreal.[1] He is the Chairman of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights.[2]

Housefather was first elected to Parliament in the Canadian federal election of October 19, 2015.[3] Born in Montreal, he was first elected to office in 1994 as a municipal councillor in the Town of Hampstead. When Hampstead and all the other cities on the Montreal island were forced to merge into the City of Montreal by the Parti Quebecois government in 2001, he was elected as a municipal councilor in the borough of Côte-Saint-Luc-Hampstead-Montreal West. Housefather then led the demerger movement in his borough. Following the successful demerger of all three municipalities as determined in a referendum on June 20, 2004,[4] he was elected as Mayor of the City of Côte-Saint-Luc and served from 2005 until 2015, when he resigned following his election to Parliament.[5]

On February 16, 2016, Housefather was unanimously elected as Chairman of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights.

Housefather holds two Law Degrees (B.C.L. and LL.B.) from McGill University and an MBA from Concordia University’s John Molson School of Business.[6] Before his election to federal office, he served as Executive Vice President, Corporate Affairs and General Counsel, at Dialogic Corporation, a multinational technology company.[7]

Housefather was a nationally ranked athlete as a student. He returned to competitive swimming in 2010, and earned seven medals at the 2013 Maccabiah Games in Israel.[8] He advocates for athletics and physical fitness as a Member of Parliament, serving as the Liberal Party lead on the Parliamentary fitness initiative started by former MP John Weston.

Liberal Party Executive and Hampstead Town Council

Housefather became active in the Mount Royal Liberal Association as a teenager. He was elected as Policy Vice President of the Young Liberals of Canada’s Quebec wing in 1991 and in 1992 was elected to the Liberal Party’s national executive as Policy Vice President of the Young Liberals of Canada. In that role he worked on the platform committee for the development of the Red Book, the Liberal Party platform in the 1993 campaign.When his term on the national executive ended, Housefather ran for Hampstead Town Council and was elected in 1994, defeating two other candidates.[9] He was re-elected in 1998 and served in this capacity until 2001, when the Quebec government forced all cities and towns on the Island of Montreal to merge.[10]

Alliance Quebec

Housefather was involved in organizations working on behalf of Quebec’s English speaking minority in the 1990s.[9] In addition to being involved with Federation CJA’s Pro Montreal at its inception he was also involved in the creation of Youth Employment Services. Both of these groups concentrated on keeping the youth of the English-speaking community in Quebec by helping them find jobs. He also served on the Board of Directors and then the Executive of Alliance Quebec.[11] Housefather was elected President of Alliance Quebec in 2000 and served until 2001 when he ran for office in the new mega-city of Montreal following the forced mergers.[9]

Councillor in the Mega-City and Leader of the Demerger Movement

Housefather, together with the vast majority of Mayors and Councillors of suburban municipalities opposed the forced mergers which created the mega-city of Montreal.[4] When the Quebec Court of Appeals ruled that the cities had no constitutional protection against the forced mergers, Housefather joined many suburban mayors and councillors who ran for election in the mega-city of Montreal, campaigning on the promise to support demerger if a new government ever permitted it. In the 2001 election, he was elected as a Councillor for the Borough of Côte-Saint-Luc–Hampstead–Montreal West, receiving approximately 70% of the vote.[12]

When the Quebec Liberal Party was elected in 2003 it set in motion a process that permitted cities and towns to de-merge from the mega-city. Housefather was alone amongst the three elected Councillors in Côte Saint-Luc-Hampstead- Montreal West to support the demerger of the three communities.[4] In 2004, he served as co-chair of the demerger committee of the Côte-Saint-Luc along with former City Councillors Mitchell Brownstein, Ruth Kovac and Glenn J. Nashen. He was also a member of the Hampstead Demerger Committee and the Montreal West Demerger Committee. On June 20, 2004 all three communities voted to demerge from Montreal with the Yes vote representing 91% of the votes cast in Hampstead, 87% of the votes cast in Côte Saint-Luc and 84% of the votes cast in Montreal West.[13] Thus, all three municipalities were reconstituted within their former borders as of January 1, 2006 with elections scheduled for November 2005.[13]

Mayor of Cote Saint-Luc

On November 7, 2005, Housefather was elected Mayor of the reconstituted City of Côte-Saint-Luc, winning election with 75% of the vote with former Mayor Bernard Lang receiving 14% of the vote and a third opponent receiving 10% of the vote.[5]

Housefather was a very popular and well respected Mayor and was re-elected by acclamation to a second term as Mayor of Côte-Saint-Luc on October 2, 2009 in advance of a November 1, 2009 vote.[14] He was acclaimed again on October 4, 2013 in advance of a November 4, 2013 vote.[15]

As Mayor, Housefather was very involved in provincial as well as local issues. He led the fight by bilingual municipalities against the Parti Quebecois’ government’s Bill 14 which amongst other things would have deprived many Quebec municipalities of bilingual status. He drafted and presented a brief with Town of Mount Royal Mayor Philippe Roy at the National Assembly of Quebec on Bill 14 on March 11, 2013.[16]

He also held a rally at Côte Saint-Luc City Hall for religious tolerance and led in the opposition to the PQ’s Charter of Values which sought to bar any employee from wearing religious gear in schools, hospitals, municipalities and provincial government.[17] Both of these bills were dropped.

During the years when Côte Saint-Luc was in Montreal, a collective agreement was signed by the mega-city giving firefighters a monopoly on first response which put Côte Saint-Luc’s much valued Emergency Measures Service at risk of disappearing. With the help of D’Arcy McGee MNA Lawrence Bergman, Housefather was able to convince the Quebec Government to add a provision to Bill 22 to allow Côte Saint-Luc to operate its first-responder service permanently.[18] Housefather also was able to work with other Mayors to save a local police station and to convince the Agglomeration of Montreal to adopt a resolution allocation $44 million for the Cavendish extension. He also worked with Councillor Dida Berku and environmental groups to help preserve the Meadowbrook Golf course as a green space.[19]

At a local level, Housefather and his council were viewed as one of the most innovative councils in Quebec. Côte Saint-Luc built an $18 million Aquatic and Community Centre on time and under budget and developed one of Montreal’s leading aquatics programs.[20] Under the Housefather administration, Côte Saint-Luc was the first city on the island of Montreal to launch a composting program for all single family homes, the first to launch a food policy and launched a farmer’s market and community gardens.[21] The median age of residents of the City of Côte Saint-Luc fell by seven years over Housefather’s tenure as Mayor as the community expanded high quality programs for children and young adults and sponsored townhouses and other housing favourable to young families.[22] But at the same time a permanent home was found for the City’s seniors clubs and legion.

Island-wide roles

In addition to his duties within local government, between 2006 and 2015, Housefather also served as the Secretary of the Association of Suburban Municipalities, or ASM, which represents the 15 demerged cities and towns on the Island of Montreal.[23] Housefather was also a member of the island-wide Montreal agglomeration council and the agglomeration's Public Security Commission.[24]

2015 Federal election

When Liberal MP Irwin Cotler announced he would not run in the 2015 federal election in the Mount Royal riding, Housefather was supported by most of the elected officials in the riding when he declared his intention to run.[25] His Liberal nomination opponent was communications strategist Jonathan Goldbloom. Housefather said his 20 successful years in municipal politics were excellent preparation for the role of MP. Over the course of the year he signed up over 3,000 residents of the riding to support him at the nominating meeting.[26]

The Mount Royal nomination meeting took place on November 30, 2014. With 1,948 ballots cast, Housefather was declared the winner and the official Liberal Party candidate for the 2015 federal election.[25]

The Conservative Party targeted Mount Royal in the 2015 election with Prime Minister Stephen Harper launching his party’s campaign in Mount Royal.[27] Housefather ran a vigorous door to door campaign and managed to assemble support from a wide variety of communities within the riding as well as the majority of elected officials at the municipal and school board election. Housefather and the NDP candidate debated 4 times in the riding with the Conservative candidate participating in 2 of the debates and refusing two. However, Housefather debated against Conservative candidate Robert Libman on CTV and Radio Shalom and all three candidates debated on CJAD.[28]

Following the campaign, Housefather was elected as the Member of Parliament for Mount Royal on October 19, 2015 with 50.4% of the vote and tripling the Liberal majority from the 2011 election.[29]

Housefather was profiled as one of 10 rookie MPs to watch in the new parliament.[30]

On Parliament Hill

On February 16, 2016, he was elected as Chairman the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights.[31]

Later that month, Housefather earned international media attention for a speech he delivered in support of an anti-Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) motion put forward in the House of Commons.[32][33][34] The motion urged the government to reject the goals of the BDS movement while calling on the government “condemn any and all attempts by Canadian organizations, groups or individuals to promote [it] both here at home and abroad.” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and most other Liberals voted in favour of the motion, which passed 229-51.[35]

On March 25, 2015, Housefather echoed Foreign Minister Stéphane Dion`s criticism of the UN Human Rights Council`s decision to appoint Western University law professor Michael Lynk as its Special Rapporteur on human rights in Palestine.[36] This followed criticism from Jewish groups including the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, which accused Lynk of bias against Israel.

Housefather received considerable acclaim for his chairing of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights with committee members from all parties praising his handling of the difficult committee hearings on the assisted dying bill C-14.[37]

As of May 20, 2016, no rookie Liberal MP had spoken more in the House of Commons than Housefather.[38]

In the riding

In February 2016, Housefather relayed his constituents` support for the Cavendish Boulevard extension between Côte St. Luc and St. Laurent in the House of Commons.[39] In May 2016, Quebec Liberals adopted a resolution calling for the Cavendish extension to be realized.[40]

In April 2016, Housefather and Families, Children and Social Development Minister Jean-Yves Duclos announced the federal government would provide $390,913 over a period of three years for a new drop-in centre, which provides relief for caregivers of seniors, at the Côte St. Luc Aquatic and Community Centre as part of the New Horizons for Seniors Program.[41] In total 1.1 million dollars was received for senior programs assisting caregivers in the riding.[41]

In May, Housefather announced that over 270 summer jobs had been created for students in the riding with more than double the number of jobs created than in 2015.[42]

In the election campaign, Housefather had promised to hold quarterly town hall meetings in the riding to give constituents a report on what is happening in Ottawa and in the riding and to take questions as he did as Mayor. The first town hall meeting was held in Hampstead in January and the second was held in Town of Mount Royal in April.[43] The meetings are called Anthony’s Assemblies.

In the media

Housefather has written several opinion pieces for Canadian newspapers and has been interviewed on local and national news networks, sharing his views on subjects including his experience as a member of parliament, minority language issues, and his support of more permissive surrogacy laws in Canada.[44][45][46]

Athletics

Housefather was a competitive swimmer in his teens and then a competitive water polo player. He started competitive swimming again in 2010. In July and August 2013, Housefather won seven medals in the Masters category in swimming at the Maccabiah Games in Israel.[8]

Housefather swims on the Parliamentary Swim Team and runs with the running group on the Hill, which, as part of a wider fitness initiative, aims to keep members of Parliament physically active while promoting health and physical fitness.[47]

Electoral record

Canadian federal election, 2015
Party Candidate Votes % ∆% Expenditures
Liberal Anthony Housefather 24,187 50.34 +8.93
Conservative Robert Libman 18,201 37.88 +2.27
New Democratic Mario Jacinto Rimbao 3,884 8.08 -9.77
Bloc Québécois Jade Bossé Bélanger 908 1.90 -1.01
Green Timothy Landry 747 1.55 -0.20
Marxist–Leninist Diane Johnston 124 0.26 -0.02
Total valid votes/Expense limit 48,051 100.00 $207,183.11
Total rejected ballots 425 0.88
Turnout 48,476 65.18 +7.54
Eligible voters 74,374
Source: Elections Canada[48][49]
Liberal hold Swing +6.66

References

  1. ^ Cohen, Mike (July 14, 2010). "Saluting human rights activists for oppressed Jews in foreign lands". Jewish Tribune. Retrieved November 13, 2010. 
  2. ^ "JUST - Members". www.parl.gc.ca. Retrieved 2016-07-06. 
  3. ^ "Liberal Anthony Housefather dashes Conservatives' best hope for a Montreal seat". Retrieved 2016-07-06. 
  4. ^ a b c "Quebecers eager to break up mega-cities in June referendums". Retrieved 2016-07-06. 
  5. ^ a b "Former mayors and councillors | Côte Saint Luc, Quebec, Canada". www.cotesaintluc.org. Retrieved 2016-07-06. 
  6. ^ "Anthony Housefather: Executive Profile & Biography - Businessweek". www.bloomberg.com. Retrieved 2016-07-06. 
  7. ^ "Anthony Housefather". dialogic.com. 
  8. ^ a b "Côte Saint-Luc swimmers shine at Maccabiah Games: Mayor Housefather wins seven medals | Côte Saint Luc, Quebec, Canada". www.cotesaintluc.org. Retrieved 2016-07-06. 
  9. ^ a b c "Improving society — Concordia University Magazine Features". magazine.concordia.ca. Retrieved 2016-07-06. 
  10. ^ "Montreal Gazette". 
  11. ^ "Alliance-Québec". vigile.quebec. Retrieved 2016-07-06. 
  12. ^ "Housefather, Nashen, Brownstein and Kovac Announce Re-Election Bid for 2009". Nashen Notes. 2009-09-06. Retrieved 2016-07-06. 
  13. ^ a b "Demerger vote will change map of Quebec". Retrieved 2016-07-06. 
  14. ^ "Municipal Election Results | Côte Saint Luc, Quebec, Canada". www.cotesaintluc.org. Retrieved 2016-07-06. 
  15. ^ "Westmount, DDO, CSL mayors acclaimed". Retrieved 2016-07-06. 
  16. ^ (PDF) http://www.cotesaintluc.org/files/u1/council_minutes/2013/CSL_Council_Minutes_20130311_EN.pdf.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  17. ^ "News and announcements | Côte Saint Luc, Quebec, Canada". www.cotesaintluc.org. Retrieved 2016-07-06. 
  18. ^ "Bill 22 | Nashen Notes". gjnashen.wordpress.com. Retrieved 2016-07-06. 
  19. ^ "Councillor Berku receives Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal | Côte Saint Luc, Quebec, Canada". www.cotesaintluc.org. Retrieved 2016-07-06. 
  20. ^ "Côte Saint-Luc hires Martin Levine as Aquatics Manager and Head Coach | Côte Saint Luc, Quebec, Canada". www.cotesaintluc.org. Retrieved 2016-07-06. 
  21. ^ "Côte Saint-Luc launches first-in-Quebec urban agriculture initiative | Côte Saint Luc, Quebec, Canada". www.cotesaintluc.org. Retrieved 2016-07-06. 
  22. ^ http://www12.statcan.gc.ca/census-recensement/2011/dp-pd/prof/details/page.cfm?Lang=E&Geo1=CSD&Code1=2466058&Geo2=CD&Code2=2466&Data=Count&SearchText=cote&SearchType=Begins&SearchPR=01&B1=All&Custom=&TABID=1%20.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  23. ^ (PDF) http://www.cotesaintluc.org/files/u1/council_minutes/2014/CSL_council_minutes_20140811.pdf.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  24. ^ (PDF) http://www.cotesaintluc.org/files/u1/council_minutes/2014/CSL_council_minutes_20140811.pdf.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  25. ^ a b "Housefather elected Liberal candidate in Mount Royal riding". 2014-12-01. Retrieved 2016-07-06. 
  26. ^ Reporter, Janice Arnold, Staff (2014-12-01). "Housefather wins Mount Royal Liberal nomination - The Canadian Jewish News". Retrieved 2016-07-06. 
  27. ^ "5 reasons Harper started his campaign in Montreal's Mont-Royal". Retrieved 2016-07-06. 
  28. ^ "Tory Vows To Take Liberal Stronghold Where Israel Remains A Key Issue". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2016-07-06. 
  29. ^ Lau, Rachel. "Liberal Anthony Housefather elected in Mount Royal". Retrieved 2016-07-06. 
  30. ^ "Nearly 200 rookie MPs were elected on Monday. Here's who to watch". Retrieved 2016-07-06. 
  31. ^ Lau, Rachel. "Anthony Housefather elected chair of Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights". Retrieved 2016-07-06. 
  32. ^ Anthony Housefather (2016-02-20), Anthony Housefather Supports Anti-BDS Motion in the House of Commons, retrieved 2016-06-28 
  33. ^ Dave, Aussie (2016-02-21). "MUST WATCH: Canadian Parliamentarian Anthony Housefather's Masterful Ripping Of BDS". Israellycool. Retrieved 2016-07-06. 
  34. ^ Anthony Housefather (2016-02-20), Anthony Housefather Supports Anti-BDS Motion in the House of Commons, retrieved 2016-07-06 
  35. ^ Reporter, Paul Lungen, Staff (2016-02-19). "Anti-BDS motion backed by Liberals, Tories". Retrieved 2016-07-06. 
  36. ^ "Anthony Housefather on Twitter". Retrieved 2016-07-06. 
  37. ^ "The Hill Times". www.hilltimes.com. Retrieved 2016-07-06. 
  38. ^ "Figures of Speech". Retrieved 2016-06-28. 
  39. ^ Suburban, Joel Goldenberg The. "Housefather advocates for Cavendish link in Commons". Retrieved 2016-07-06. 
  40. ^ Suburban, Joel Goldenberg The. "Quebec Liberals call for Cavendish extension". Retrieved 2016-07-06. 
  41. ^ a b Suburban, Joel Goldenberg The. "Feds announce funding for new CSL-based seniors drop-in centre". Retrieved 2016-07-06. 
  42. ^ Suburban, Joel Goldenberg The. "Federal program provides 270 summer jobs in Mount Royal". Retrieved 2016-07-06. 
  43. ^ "Town of Hampstead". www.hampstead.qc.ca. Retrieved 2016-07-06. 
  44. ^ "Anthony Housefather: A week in the life of a rookie MP". Retrieved 2016-07-06. 
  45. ^ "Paying for sperm should not be illegal | Toronto Star". thestar.com. Retrieved 2016-07-06. 
  46. ^ "Opinion: Let's change laws that prevent some Canadians from becoming parents". 2016-03-08. Retrieved 2016-07-06. 
  47. ^ "Everyone in the pool: MPs from 4 parties bring different strokes to Hill swim team". Retrieved 2016-07-06. 
  48. ^ Elections Canada – Election Results, 22 October 2015
  49. ^ Elections Canada – Preliminary Election Expenses Limits for Candidates

External links