Yesterday in Parliament – December 3, 2018
House of Commons
Statements by Members
Mr. Speaker, Sunday night was the first night of Hanukkah. This festival of lights commemorates the victory of the Maccabees and the subsequent miracle of rededicating the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and restoring its menorah.
For eight days, Jews around the world will celebrate by lighting a hanukkiah, feasting and playing games with family and friends.
However, despite the joy of this festive season, we still remember those massacred in Pittsburgh last month and take note of the rising rates of anti-Semitism in Canada and across the world. Intolerance today is by no means confined to anti-Semitism.
I call on all members of this House to work together on a plan of action to combat hate, including online hate. Canadian Jews seeing their leaders taking concrete measures to combat bigotry would be the best Hanukkah present of all.
International Day of Persons with Disabilities
Mr. Speaker, today is the United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities. This year’s theme, “Empowering persons with disabilities and ensuring inclusiveness and equality”, is at the heart of the Government of Canada’s commitment to build a Canada without barriers.
In June, our government introduced Bill C-81, the accessible Canada act, which if passed will address barriers to accessibility in the federal jurisdiction.
Earlier today, the Minister of Public Services and Procurement and Accessibility announced that Canada has acceded to the optional protocol to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. This means that Canadians will have additional recourse if they believe their rights under the convention have been violated.
These actions speak to our dedication to creating a truly inclusive and accessible Canada. Please join me in celebrating people with disabilities and the significant contributions they make to Canadian society.
The House resumed (from November 28) consideration of the motion that Bill C-75, An Act to amend the Criminal Code, the Youth Criminal Justice Act and other Acts and to make consequential amendments to other Acts. It was read the third time and passed. Included in the final text were CIJA’s recommendations to ensure those involved in terrorism and advocating genocide face the full weight of the law. For the full vote, click here.
Festival of Lights
Hon. Judith G. Seidman: Honourable senators, this evening marks the beginning of the second night of Chanukah, the Jewish Festival of Lights. There are many great lessons that can be drawn from the story of Chanukah, lessons not exclusive to the Jewish people but ones that can be relevant to us all.
This holiday tells the story of a courageous group of Jewish warriors, the Maccabees, who decided to stand up against their oppressors. The Maccabees were not known to be mighty, yet they exceeded all expectations, reminding us that even a small group of people can make a big difference.
Not long after their victory, the Jewish people returned to their desecrated temple and miraculously found a small jar of oil used to light the menorah. They thought this oil would last them one night, yet it lasted for eight. This was a miracle of light. To all those around, it sent a message of hope and redemption. Light will always triumph over darkness. We know this to be true, even today.
Following the harrowing event that shook Pittsburgh’s Jewish community in late October, Canadians and many communities around the world came together and united against anti-Semitism, prejudice and acts of terror. They showed us it is only through true spirit, commitment, courage and determination that we can triumph over evil.
Some of you may know the name for this holiday, Chanukah, comes from the Hebrew word for “dedication.” In the spirit of this holiday, let us dedicate ourselves to always protect our Canadian values of freedom, tolerance, peace and security. This is what binds us as a nation.
It’s my wish to all celebrating, either here in Canada or around the world, that these upcoming days of celebration bring you and your loved ones peace and joy. Thank you.
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