The Canadian Jewish Congress will present the Saul Hayes Human Rights Award to Prime Minister Stephen Harper at the organization's 90th plenary assembly in Toronto today (May 31).
This is Harper's third major award from a Jewish organization in less than a year. Last June, Harper was awarded the B’nai Brith International President’s Gold Medallion. B'nai Brith said it was in recognition of Canada's efforts to fight discrimination and uphold human rights in Canada and around the world.
Harper was the first Canadian to win this prize.
Last December, the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations presented Harper with its first-ever International Leadership Award.
Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff, NDP Leader Jack Layton, and Green Leader Elizabeth May are all expected to speak at the assembly, which takes place at the Beth Emeth Bais Yehuda Synagogue.
Israel's vice prime minister, Silvan Shalom, will also be in attendance and will make his first North American address.
While Harper has been feted by Jewish organizations, he has also been condemned by a Vancouver MP for showing a lack of leadership in dealing with issues in the Middle East.
In an open letter last January during Israel's attack on Gaza, Vancouver East NDP MP Libby Davies claimed that she received many letters from constituents who complained that Canada was doing nothing to bring peace to the area.
Earlier this month, Davies presented two petitions in Parliament dealing with Israel's actions during that war.
One from students at a private East Vancouver school called Stratford Hall called upon the federal government to support a United Nations war-crimes investigation into an alleged Israeli attack on a UN school in Gaza.
The other petition from Toronto residents sympathetic to the Palestinians urged Canada to hold Israel accountable for its ongoing violations of international law.