Queen's Park â€“ MPP Mike Colle's Private Member's Bill 17, the Jewish Heritage Month Act, was carried with unanimous consent today in the Ontario Legislature. The Bill designates May as Jewish Heritage Month, in order to honour the significant achievements of Jewish Canadians across Ontario. Bill 17 was co-sponsored by MPP Peter Sherman (Thornhill) and MPP Cheri DiNovo (Parkdaleâ€“High Park).
MPPs from all parties agreed to pass the bill swiftly, giving it second and third reading on the same day.
"I hope that with the passage of this bill, we can recognize the contributions not only of those who are well known, but all the unsung heroes who have made Ontario their home over the last 200 years, and who have contributed to making this the great province that it is," says MPP Colle.
Bill 17 has gained widespread support among citizens, community leaders, and organizations from across the province. The initiative has been endorsed by the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, B'nai Brith Canada, the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies, the National Congress of Italian Canadiansâ€“Toronto District, the London Jewish Federation, Ontario Jewish Archives, and the Jewish Genealogical Society of Canada (Toronto Chapter, and Hamilton & Area Chapter).
Community groups from Kenora to Cornwall are encouraged to plan celebrations in May, including bringing guest speakers into schools, creating special collections in public libraries, and organizing community celebrations. Ontarians of all backgrounds are invited to help plan and participate in these activities.
May was chosen because it is a significant month for the Jewish Canadian community. Various Jewish artistic and cultural events such as the United Jewish Appeal Walk With Israel, the B'nai Brith Canada Annual Policy Conference, the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center Spirit of Hope Benefit, the Toronto Jewish Film Festival and Jewish Music Week typically occur in May. Holocaust Remembrance Day (Yom ha-Shoah) and Israeli Independence Day (Yom ha-Atzmaut) also frequently occur in May.
In 2006, President George W. Bush proclaimed May as Jewish American Heritage Month in the United States. Bill 17 is the first such commemoration of Jewish heritage in Canada.
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Dustin Cohen, Office of MPP Mike Colle
Tel: 416-314-6467 firstname.lastname@example.org
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