February 21, 2008
High Court Won’t Hear Passport Appeal
OTTAWA— The Supreme Court said last week it won’t hear an appeal by a Toronto man who wants Jerusalem, Israel, to be listed as his birthplace on his passport.
Eliyahu Yoshua Veffer, who was born in Jerusalem but moved to Canada with his family in 1998, has fought the federal government since 2004 to have his passport reflect his belief that the city belongs to Israel. He has argued that the government’s policy that Jerusalem’s final status will be determined in peace talks violates his Charter rights, since seeing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is “an integral part of my religious belief and my personal identity.”
Last year, the Federal Court of Appeal upheld an earlier ruling affirming the policy.
Veffer’s Winnipeg lawyer, David Matas, said the decision – for which, as per custom, it gave no reason – means Veffer is out of legal options.
In a statement, B’nai Brith Canada said it will “ask for the [passport] policy to be changed by elected officials.”
Museum Bill Tabled
TORONTO — Canadian Jewish Congress last week praised Ottawa for tabling a bill to establish the Canadian Museum for Human Rights (CMHR) in Winnipeg. The $126-million museum will “enhance the public’s understanding of human rights… promote respect for others and… encourage reflection and dialogue,” the bill says. The museum, which is being funded by three levels of government and donations, was the brainchild of the late media mogul Izzy Asper and is being spearheaded by the Asper Foundation.