Canadian Jewish Heritage Month on table at Senate

Bill designates month of May to celebrate Jewish contributions to country.

December 7, 2016 19:53
1 minute read.
Canadian flag

Canadian flag. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Canadian legislators have introduced a bill to designate the month of May as Canadian Jewish Heritage month.

Sen. Linda Frum (Ontario) and Member of Parliament Michael Levitt (York Centre) announced Tuesday that they had tabled the bill, together with Members of Parliament Peter Kent (Thornhill) and Randall Garrison (Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke).

To “table” a bill in Canadian law means to bring it up for debate, whereas in the United States to table is to suspend consideration.

A motion proposed last year by then- MP Irwin Cotler to make November Canadian Jewish Heritage Month was rejected after failing to gain unanimous support.

“As a proud member of Canada’s Jewish community, I am delighted to have the privilege of bringing forward in the senate, an act that will formalize the month of May as a time to celebrate Canadian-Jewish culture and honor the significant contributions made by Canadians of Jewish faith, starting from the very earliest days of colonial settlement,” said Sen. Linda Frum in thanking her parliamentary colleagues for their strong, all-party support.

“As a Jewish parliamentarian it is my honor to sponsor this bill in the House of Commons,” said MP Michael Levitt.

“Jewish Canadians have made incredible contributions to our country. By celebrating these contributions, Jewish Heritage Month will provide an opportunity to remember and celebrate the inspirational role that Jewish Canadians have played in communities across Canada.”

Canadian Jewish Heritage Month would mirror legislation passed in the province of Ontario in 2012, and the US congressional resolution and presidential proclamation, issued during the term of then-president George W.

Bush in 2006, that designated May as Jewish Heritage Month.

The Center for Israel Affairs applauded the initiative, saying it was “particularly timely as Canadians prepare to celebrate the 150th anniversary of confederation.”

CIJA chairman David J. Cape called on all parliamentarians to recognize and celebrate Jewish contributions to Canada by supporting Bill S-232.

The bill states that by designating the month to honor Jewish heritage, the Canadian Parliament would recognize the “important contributions that Jewish Canadians have made to Canada’s social, economic, political and cultural fabric.”

It adds that the month would provide an opportunity to remember, celebrate and educate future generations about those contributions.

Canada’s Jewish population of approximately 400,000 makes it the world’s fourth largest, after Israel, the US and France.

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