Parks Canada

Parks Canada

March 14, 2011 17:00 ET

Founding of the Jewish Congress Commemorated

Government of Canada recognizes the national historic significance of the Canadian Jewish Congress

MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - March 14, 2011) - The Honourable Peter Kent, Canada's Environment Minister and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, today commemorated the importance of the founding of the Canadian Jewish Congress, an event of national historic significance. A special ceremony was held at the Gelber Conference Center in the presence of the Honourable Larry Smith, Senator, and representatives from the City of Montréal and of the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada.

"I am honoured to highlight the creation of the Canadian Jewish Congress, an event that took place during a large democratic rally held at Monument-National in March 1919. Present in the country for more than 200 years, the Jewish community has overcome many obstacles to become an important influence in Canadian society," said Minister Kent.

In March 1919, more than 200 delegates elected by an estimated 25,000 Jews from across Canada met at the Monument-National to participate in the first pan-Canadian Jewish assembly. This democratic exercise marked the birth of the Canadian Jewish Congress, an organization that was at the forefront of the struggle for equality, civil and human rights, and immigration reform in this country. Regarded by many as the "Parliament of Jewish Canadians", the Congress continues to provide a voice for the Canadian Jewish community both nationally and internationally.

"For more than ninety years, the Jewish community has looked to the Canadian Jewish Congress to represent its interests. I am pleased to highlight today the important contribution that the Canadian Jewish Congress has made to our society," said Senator Smith.

"Canadian Jewish Congress was created to speak for – and act in the defense of – the Jewish Community of Canada," said CJC National President Mark Freiman. "For the past 92 years, CJC has fulfilled that role and more. It has stood up for Canada and its Jewish community by giving voice to our shared values of equality, social justice and peace. In that endeavour, it has reached out to other communities and has fought for their rights as well as our own. I am conscious that in accepting this honour, I do so not only on behalf of those who continue with this noble project to this day, but also in the name and memory of all who have gone before."

Parks Canada manages a nation-wide network of national historic sites that make up the rich tapestry of Canada's cultural heritage and which offers visitors the opportunity for real and inspiring discoveries.

Created in 1919, the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada advises the Minister of the Environment regarding the national historic significance of places, people and events that have marked Canada's history.

For additional information, please see the accompanying backgrounder at under Media Room.

Contact Information

  • Office of the Minister of the Environment
    Veronica Petro
    Press Secretary
    Parks Canada - Quebec
    Melissa Larose
    Communications Advisor