Polish Heritage Month Bill Passes Second Reading

Published on November 12, 2021

Polish Heritage Month Bill Passes Second Reading

This past week, Bill 18, an act to proclaim the month of May as Polish Heritage Month co-sponsored by PA John Yakabuski and PA Christine Hogarth, passed second reading and was referred to the Standing Committee on Regulations and Private Bills for consideration. The month of May was selected for this annual occasion given the fact that May 3rd is widely celebrated by Polish people around the world to commemorate the 1791 Constitution, a symbol of the Polish people’s aspiration for freedom, democracy and independence. Many parades and festivities take place in the month of May to mark this solemn occasion that is close to the hearts of every Polish person, both in Poland proper and in the diaspora.

In proposing that the month of May to be Polish Heritage Month, the co-sponsors of this legislation are ensuring that the Province of Ontario recognises the contributions of Polish-Canadians within Ontario’s industries, culture, democracy, and history. Polish Heritage Month will be able to serve as an opportunity to educate Ontarians of all ages about the hardships and struggles that Polish-Canadians have endured to live in a free and democratic society that respects human rights and the rule of law. These values are ones that are parallel to the ones that both Ontarian and Canadian civil society dearly values, and are the reason the Polish-Canadian community has contributed so greatly to both the strength and diversity of Ontario.

“An important aspect of fostering Ontario’s rich and diverse cultural mosaic is recognising the achievements of the communities that have come to call our province home,” said Natalia Kusendova, MPP for Mississauga Centre. “With this Bill, we are ensuring that the place of Poles in Ontario is both recognised and celebrated. As a Canadian of Polish heritage, I take great pride in the contributions of Polish immigrants to Ontario’s history, culture, and our democratic institutions. Poles, like Canadians from coast to coast, share a strong commitment to freedom, democracy, and the rule of law that has made their place within our country’s national story so important. By proclaiming the month of May as Polish Heritage Month, we commemorate the commitment and aspiration of Poles to these important principles that were forever enshrined in the 1791 Polish Constitution.”

“Polish Heritage Month will help contribute to the education of Ontarians regarding the hardship Canadians of Polish decent have endured to achieve their freedoms,” said Hon. Kaleed Rasheed, MPP for Mississauga East-Cooksville. “I am pleased there will finally be recognition of the significant contributions of the Polish Canadian community in Ontario’s history.”

“One of the reasons why I got into public life was to safeguard Ontario’s democratic spirit,” said Christine Hogarth, MPP for Etobicoke-Lakeshore. “In tabling An Act to proclaim the month of May as Polish Heritage Month, there’s no better way to do that than to celebrate the ways in which our immigrant communities have enriched our province. This applies especially to Polish-Ontarians, whose ancestors fought for freedom and to achieve liberty – against centuries of invasion and aggression including Nazi and Soviet occupation.”

“The Polish community has contributed significantly to Ontario, its development and culture ever since the first major wave of Kashubians immigrated in 1858. The recognition of the Polish community’s contributions by the Province of Ontario through Bill 18, Polish Heritage Month in May, honours this historic bond,” said the Consul General of The Republic of Poland in Toronto, Magdalena Pszczolkowska.