Premier’s, minister’s, parliamentary secretary’s statements on Jewish Heritage Month

May 1, 2024 at 7:55 am  BC, News, Politics

Premier David Eby has issued the following statement marking Jewish Heritage Month:

“Jewish Heritage Month is an opportunity to remember and honour the countless contributions Jewish Canadians have made in building our province.

“For more than a century and a half, Jewish Canadians have played an integral role in the development of our communities. The earliest arrivals established schools and synagogues. After the colony joined Confederation, voters in Victoria sent Henry Nathan Jr. to Ottawa, where he served as the first Jewish Canadian member of Parliament, an early symbol of the multicultural nature of the new nation.

“From businessman and philanthropist David Oppenheimer, who was the second mayor of Vancouver, to lawyer Samuel Davies Schultz, who in 1914 became Canada’s first judge of Jewish ancestry, Jewish Canadians have been essential to our province’s growth and vibrancy. We are proud to be home to the oldest synagogue in continuous use in the country and to one of the fastest growing Jewish populations in Canada.

“As we celebrate Jewish heritage, we also stand in solidarity with our Jewish friends and neighbours in the wake of a shocking and unacceptable rise of antisemitic incidents and acts of intimidation here and around the world. These incidents follow the terrorist attack on Israeli civilians last October, which was the deadliest act of violence against the Jewish people since the Holocaust. Some taken hostage then remain in captivity months later.

“Our government has launched an anti-hate fund to help protect synagogues, community centres and other places of gathering that have been targeted by graffiti and vandalism. Everyone in our province has the right to feel safe and secure.

“As well, we are making Holocaust education a mandatory part of the high school curriculum, so students have a better understanding of this monstrous crime.

“This month, I encourage everyone to learn about and celebrate Jewish culture, history and heritage.”

Niki Sharma, Attorney General, said:

“As we celebrate Jewish Heritage Month, we cannot ignore the alarming rise of antisemitism in B.C. and around the world. This is unacceptable. Every incident of hate is a stark reminder of the work that still lies ahead of us as we try to build a more understanding and inclusive province. As we celebrate the achievements and resilience of Jewish British Columbians we also reaffirm our commitment to standing with them against antisemitism.”

Mable Elmore, Parliamentary Secretary for Anti-Racism Initiatives, said:

“Jewish Heritage Month is a time to reflect and stand in solidarity with our Jewish neighbours and loved ones who are expressing hurt and fear about rising antisemitism in communities throughout B.C. It is only by learning from the past and embracing diversity that we can strengthen the bonds that unite us.”

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