Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

Canadian Jewish Congress Presents ‘bill of Rights’ to Royal Body

April 28, 1965
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

A virtaal “Jewish bill of rights,” spelling out the Canadian Jewish community’s attitudes toward a wide range of issues, was presented by the Canadian Jewish Congress today to retired Chief Justice J.C. McRuer, the sole member of the Ontario Royal Commission Inquiry into Civil Rights and Civil Liberties.

Among the items covered in the 30-page, CJC submission were such questions as personal freedom and the police power; freedom of expression; freedom of religious practice; the right to bias-free opportunity of employment, without religious barriers; “private” discrimination; fair practices; and education.

With respect to police matters, the document proposed that “police officers be instructed in the basic religious requirements of minority faiths, insofar as these may affect police action.” A proposal was made that, in cases of persons arrested who need to furnish bail, such persons be granted a “parole affirmation” if the bail must be made on a Cabbath or Jewish holy day, when an observant Jew is forbidden to sign his name. It was also proposed that Hebrew Bibles be available in court rooms.


On the subject of hatemongering, the CJC indicated that it preferred that that subject be handled on the Federal, rather than the Provincial, level. In the field of education, it was requested that Jews be exempted from taking examinations on a Jewish holiday or on the Sabbath.

Other requests included: Avoidance of holding elections and plebiscites on the Sabbath; exemption of observant Jews from jury duty on religious holidays or the Sabbath; the right of observant Jews and Seventh Day Adventists to open their businesses on Sundays, if they close on Saturdays; a general, anti-discrimination clause or bill of rights for the Province of Ontario.

“Spurious” golf clubs, “which are in reality public courses, excluding unwanted religious practitioners or races” were attacked in the document. Another proposal asked that racial stereotypes in school textbooks be eliminated. The CJC also reiterated its opposition to religious instruction in public schools, and requested that more attention be given to those teaching Nazism and other extremist, political philosophies, “of the right and left.”

The Congress delegates who presented the document to Justice McRuer consisted of Meyer M. Gasner, chairman of the central region; J.S. Midanik and Sydney M. Harris, representing the regional and national joint committees on community relations of the Congress and B’nai B’rith; Prof. Bora Laskin, Congress legal committee chairman; and Max Shekter, incoming chairman of B’nai B’rith District No. 22.

Recommended from JTA