Mr. Speaker, as a former president of the Canadian Jewish Congress, I am delighted to pay tribute to one of the oldest and most distinguished of human rights NGOs, founded in March 1919 as the “Parliament of Canadian Jewry”. Its founding charter was inspired by a vision of equality and emancipation for Canadian and world Jewry, and indeed for all peoples and minorities, including a national homeland for the Jewish people.
Inspired later by Holocaust survivors, it fought against racism and anti-Semitism, for Holocaust remembrance and human rights, and for social justice and immigration reform.
The congress has been an ardent defender of bilingualism, the rights of minorities, multiculturalism and constitutionalism.
It played a historic role in the adoption of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, while its vision of a human rights foreign policy found expression in its heroic role in the struggle for Soviet Jewry, one of the great human rights movements of the second half of the 20th century.
Mr. Speaker, through you, I say to the Congress, kol hakavod and félicitations.