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‘j’–designating Jewish–removed from Montreal Tax Forms

The letter J–designating Jewish–has been eliminated from the 1974 tax assessment notices sent to Jewish property-owners in Montreal and suburbs, there by ending a long-standing controversy that drew bitter protests from the Jewish community. The removal of the offending designation which had appeared on the tax bills for 1973 and earlier years–along with the designations “C” for Catholic and “P” for Protestant–was announced by Victor Goldbloom, the Municipal Affairs Minister.

He made the announcement as plans were under way for mass protests by Jews if the J appeared on this year’s tax notices. The notices are prepared by the Montreal Urban Council and mailed to property owners in Montreal proper and its suburbs including the mostly Jewish suburbs of Cote-St. Luc, Hampstead and Westmount. Just a year ago, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported that Jewish taxpayers of Cote-St. Luc were protesting that the “J” revived bitter memories of the letter J many of them were forced to wear while inmates of Nazi concentration camps during World War II.

Goldbloom explained at the time that the Real Estate Assessment Act required identification for school tax purposes and that Art. 93 of the British North America Act required the protection of Catholic and Protestant identity. But he noted that all that was really required on the tax invoices was a C, P or N for neutral, implying that the classification code need not include the grouping J.

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