Canadian Parliament approves Canadian Jewish Heritage Month

Canadian House of Commons approves legislation making every May Canadian Jewish Heritage Month.

Ben Ariel,

Canadian Parliament
Canadian Parliament
iStock

The Canadian Parliament on Thursday approved legislation making every May Canadian Jewish Heritage Month, JTA reported.

The bill unanimously passed the House of Commons after previously having passed the Senate.

It is expected to receive royal assent and become law before May.

Two Jewish lawmakers — Michael Levitt in the House of Commons and Linda Frum in the Senate — sponsored the measure. Levitt lauded the multi-partisan support by the Parliament.

“Canadian Jewish Heritage Month will provide an opportunity for all Canadians to reflect on and celebrate the incredible contributions that Jewish Canadians have made to our country, in communities across Canada,” Levitt said.

The substance of the bill was first proposed as a motion in 2015 by Jewish lawmaker Irwin Cotler, who has since retired.

Canadian Jewish Heritage Month mirrors legislation passed in the province of Ontario in 2012 and the congressional resolution and presidential proclamation in the United States to designate May as Jewish Heritage Month.

The move was welcomed by the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA).

“We applaud all parliamentarians who supported this important legislation. Jewish Heritage Month will celebrate the contributions Jewish Canadians have been making to this country for 250 years. We particularly commend and thank Senator Linda Frum and MP Michael Levitt for their leadership in bringing this bill forward and in so doing recognizing that the Jewish community has contributed to every sphere of Canadian life,” said CIJA chair David Cape.

Addec CIJA CEO Shimon Koffler Fogel, “This type of initiative helps Canadians understand one another by allowing different communities and cultures to be showcased and celebrated. Understanding and appreciating the contribution different communities make to Canada brings us close together as Canadians.”

The move by the Canadian government follows a recent Statistics Canada report which found that Jews were the most targeted minority group for hate crimes in Canada in 2016.

While there have not been many reported incidents of anti-Semitic violence in Canada, there have been several incidents of anti-Semitic vandalism in the country.

Last week, the glass doors of a Chabad synagogue in in Thornhill, Ontario, north of Toronto, were smashed with a rock.

In November, anti-Semitic graffiti was spray painted on a sidewalk near a Jewish private school in the same area.

Also in 2017, two swastikas were found drawn in chalk in a York University classroom. Police in York Region later said they would increase patrols and presence at synagogues, Jewish community centers and other Jewish institutions across the region.


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