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Cancel plans for Mr. Mike Huckabee to speak

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Dear Ms Lynda Taller-Wakter, Executive Director, and
Mr. Alan Blostein, President of the JNF Ottawa Board,
Cc. Andrea Freedman,

I am writing to request that you cancel your plans to have Mr. Mike Huckabee as a speaker at your upcoming Jewish National Fund Negev Dinner in Ottawa on October 15, 2015.

Recent comments by Mr. Huckabee, as reported in the media around the world, show him to spread degrading hatefulness towards and about transgender people. http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/mike-huckabee-u-s-presidential-candidate-would-ve-pretended-to-be-transgender-to-shower-with-girls-1.3096948

He has also publicly supported Josh Duggar, who admitted to allegations that he molested multiple underage girls, including his sisters. http://www.businessinsider.com/mike-huckabee-stands-by-duggar-family-despite-molestation-scandal-2015-5

The lives of transgender Canadians are filled with many challenges. Studies of those living in Ottawa show high rates of depression, suicide (attempts as high as 50% among youth), and social isolation caused in part by rejection by family and friends. There is a serious shortage of services in Ottawa in support of their medical, psychological, social and spiritual needs. This is a segment of our community that needs your support, not the appearance of yet further rejection and abuse, as clearly promoted by your announced speaker, Mr. Huckabee.

Given the recent high profile international publicity on the realities of transgender people, by Caitlyn Jenner, Laverne Cox, Chaz Bono and Israeli Eurostar winner, Dana International, I caution you that the timing of having a speaker who holds the disrespectful views and insensitivity of Mr. Huckabee, will not be a positive reflection on the Ottawa Chapter of the Jewish National Fund. You have ample time to find an alternative speaker for your event that has the potential to raise much needed funds for autism. Otherwise, I fear your good name, and your good work, will be sullied and will no doubt result in increased publicity, possibly through a boycott of the event, by local and national organizations that support LGBT Canadians.

Many thanks for your consideration. Please, do the right thing, cancel your plans to have Mr. Huckabee as a speaker.



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