MONTREAL (Sep. 7)
Celebrations scheduled to have begun today at Trois Rivieres near here, marking the 200th anniversary of Jewish settlement in Canada, have been postponed because of the death of Premier Maurice Duplessis of Quebec. The late Premier, a native of Trois Rivieres, was to have been a leading participant in the ceremonies.
The town was chosen as the site for starting the bicentenary because it was the home of Aaron Hart, said to be the first Jewish settler in Canada, and his son, Ezekiel, the first Jew elected to the Legislative Assembly, in 1807. of what was then Lower Canada.
Referring to the refusal by the Assembly to permit Ezekiel Hart to take his seat because he was Jewish, the Toronto Star noted in an editorial on the bicentenary that it would be “unthinkable” today to bar a Jew from taking his place in any elected body in Canada.
“Jews may be proud of their role in the development of Canada, in its arts, trade, industry and public life, ” the paper declared. “Barring a Jew from taking his place in any elected body in Canada today would be unthinkable. This does not mean that anti-Semitism is dead; discrimination takes more subtle forms in 1959.
“But open intolerance has withered on the vine and there is reason to hope that social and employment bars will disappear in the years ahead, so that citizens of Jewish faith may make an untrammelled contribution to Canada’s development. “