Milton L. Klein

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Milton L. Klein
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Cartier
In office
Preceded byLeon Crestohl
Succeeded byDistrict was abolished in 1966
Personal details
Born(1910-02-21)February 21, 1910
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
DiedDecember 31, 2007(2007-12-31) (aged 97)
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Political partyLiberal

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

Personal life[edit]

Klein was born in 1910 in Montreal, Quebec. 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.[1]

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.[1]

Political career[edit]

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.[2] He served for two terms, in the Parliaments elected in 1963 and 1965.[3] He retired before the 1968 federal election when the riding of Cartier was abolished due to redistribution.[4] During his time in Parliament, he served twice as the Chair of the Standing Committee on Indian Affairs, Human Rights and Citizenship and Immigration.[3]

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 was intended to "outlaw not only Nazi-type hatred, but all hatred.".[1] However, it died on the order paper when Prime Minister Lester Pearson called the federal election of 1965.

In January 1965, the federal government appointed the Special Committee on Hate Propaganda in Canada, chaired by Maxwell Cohen and including Pierre Trudeau (at that time a law professor at the Université de Montréal) The Committee's mandate was to study the issue of hate propaganda and make recommendations on legislation. One of the first things the Committee did was to meet with Members of Parliament who were interested in the issue, including Klein, to co-ordinate the work of the committee and the members of Parliament.[6]

In 1966 the Cohen Committee reported in favour of legislation. The Pearson government then introduced a bill to amend the Criminal Code, making it an offence to advocate genocide, similar to Klein's draft bill.[1] The bill also created an offence of publicly inciting hatred in a way likely to induce a breach of the peace, and a third offence, of wilfully promoting hatred. The government bill took four years to wend its way through Parliament, but in 1970, it was passed by the federal government of Pierre Trudeau, now Prime Minister.[7][8]

Klein was also a proponent of bilingualism and French immersion in schools and was an advocate of the new maple leaf flag during the Great Flag Debate.[1]


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.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f An MP who loved to dance, who championed French Archived 2012-11-03 at the Wayback Machine, Montreal Gazette, January 6, 2008
  2. ^ 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
  3. ^ a b Milton L. Klein – Parliament of Canada biography
  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, p. 246.
  6. ^ Kaplan, p. 248.
  7. ^ Kaplan, pp. 259-264.
  8. ^ An Act to amend the Criminal Code, Statutes of Canada 1969-70, c. 39, adding s. 267A, s. 267B and s. 267C to the Criminal Code (now s. 318, s. 319 and s. 320 of the Criminal Code, Revised Statutes of Canada 1985, c. C-46). The legislation originally protected members of an "identifiable group" distinguished by "colour, race, religion or ethnic origin." The definition of "identifiable group" has been expanded over the years, and now protects groups distinguished by "colour, race, religion, national or ethnic origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or mental or physical disability".

External links[edit]