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Milton Lowen Klein, QC (February 21, 1910 – December 31, 2007) was a Montreal lawyer, a former Member of Parliament[1] and a figure in the Jewish-Canadian community.

Personal life

Klein was born in 1910 Montreal. His parents were real estate agents who immigrated from Hungary. He was one of five children. He was educated at Fairmont High and at Strathcona Academy, and obtained his law degree from Université de Montréal in 1933.[2]

Klein eloped with his late wife, Dorothy Ruby, on New Year's Eve, 1935. They had two children. He was active in the Jewish community and was a member of the executive council of the Canadian Jewish Congress and a co-chairman of the Israel Bond Organization. His wife, Dorothy, died in 1991.[2]

Political career

Klein was drafted as the Liberal candidate in the largely Jewish riding of Cartier when incumbent Liberal MP Leon David Crestohl died suddenly during the 1963 federal election campaign.[3] He served for two terms, until retiring at the 1968 federal election when the riding of Cartier was abolished due to redistribution.[4]

In 1964, Klein introduced a private member's bill which would have been Canada's first hate crimes legislation had it been passed. Bill C-21 proposed the death penalty for anyone who committed murder with genocide in mind and a mandatory 10-year sentence for anyone who, with genocide in mind, caused bodily harm or deliberately inflicted conditions designed to bring about the physical destruction of a group.[5] The bill, which died on the order paper when Prime Minister Lester Pearson dissolved his minority government to fight a new election, was intended to "outlaw not only Nazi-type hatred, but all hatred."[2] Klein and the Liberal government were re-elected and, in 1966, the government amended the Criminal Code of Canada to include crimes "motivated by bias, prejudice or hate based on race, national or ethnic origin, language, colour, religion, sex, age, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation, or any other similar factor."[2]

He was also a proponent of bilingualism and French-language immersion in schools and was an advocate of the new maple leaf flag during the Great Flag Debate.[2]

Death

Klein was admitted to Montreal Jewish General Hospital two weeks before his death. He died there on December 31, 2007 at the age of 97. He was survived by his two daughters.[2]

References

  1. ^ Parliamentary Biography: Milton L. Klein, Parliament of Canada website
  2. ^ a b c d e f An MP who loved to dance, who championed French, Montreal Gazette, January 6, 2008
  3. ^ Garth Stevenson, Community Besieged: The Anglophone Minority and the Politics of Quebec, McGill-Queen's University Press, 1999, ISBN 0-7735-1839-8, page 93
  4. ^ The Regenstreif Family of Canada, accessed December 25, 2007
  5. ^ William Kaplan, "Maxwell Cohen and the Report of the Special Committee on Hate Propaganda" in Law, Policy, and International Justice: Essays in Honour of Maxwell Cohen, McGill-University Press, 1993, page 246