Canada Marks Centenary of Capt. Ezekiel Hart, Pioneer Jewish Legislator
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Canada Marks Centenary of Capt. Ezekiel Hart, Pioneer Jewish Legislator

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Jewish communities throughout Canada are observing this week, the centenary of the death of Capt. Hzekiel Hart, the first Jew to be elected to the Canadian Assembly.

Capt. Hart, who was a member of a family which settled in Canada early in the 18th century, was barred by the House of Commons from taking his seat in the Assembly because he refused to take the customary oath “on the faith of a Christian.” He was elected in both 1807 and 1809, but was not seated and his fight to be admitted to the Assembly precipitated a long struggle for Jewish rights which culminated in the Act of 1831 which gave full civil and political rights to Jews.

The election of Capt. Hart is proof that French Canada was not and is not intolerant, Mayor Adhemar Renault of this city declared at the local Hart commemoration celebration. “We are proud,” Mayor Renault said, “that by electing Capt, Hart, we established the principle to which we owe such distinguished legislators as Disraeli, Reading, Hore-Belisha and many Jewish Canadians who have served their country well.”

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