CALGARY - Prime Minister Stephen Harper reaffirmed his government's ongoing support for Israel at a Menorah lighting in his Calgary riding Thursday night.
Harper and his wife Laureen were greeted by hundreds of cheering supporters at the Calgary Jewish Community Centre as part of the celebration of Hanukkah.
"We unfortunately look around the world and ... don't forget about the terrible trials and threats that the Jewish people still face in so many countries including in the homeland, the state of Israel," said Harper, who wore a traditional yarmulke.
"That's something we always remember, we always make sure as a government that we make it clear we stand by the Jewish people and we stand by Israel."
Harper drew a few chuckles when he talked about his long history of participating in Hanukkah celebrations, saying it began with his father.
"My late father always said as a Christian, never forget about the Jewish people at Christmas."
The president of the Calgary Jewish Federation welcomed Harper's presence and his government's ongoing support. In the audience were Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney and federal Status of Women Minister Rona Ambrose.
"I thank you on behalf of Calgary's Jewish community and for your government's steadfast support of the state of Israel and its people," said Adam Singer.
"Your government has consistently upheld Israel's right to defend itself, supported Israel's right to exist and urged the release of Israel's captive soldiers.
"We appreciate and admire the conscientious positions your government has taken on many occasions and in many places."