For a humble, modest and soft spoken pediatrician Dr. Victor Goldbloom was a giant in Quebec society. I have known Dr. Goldbloom my entire life. In fact, he was my first pediatrician and made house calls to care for my brothers and me. We remained in contact ever since. I followed his career from medicine to politics to community services and he followed mine.

Years later I would be invited to serve on the board of Jewish Immigrant Aid Services together with Dr. Goldbloom. I would look forward to each meeting and listening to his eloquent and wise counsel.

Our paths would cross time and again. I wrote to him about language issues while he served as Commissioner of Official Languages of Canada. I spoke with him when he chaired the Regional Health Agency. I met with him during his leadership of organizations such as Canadian Jewish Congress, Quebec Region. At every community event we both attended there was always a friendly embrace, a kind word of regard to my parents and brothers.

I received several hand written letters from Dr. Goldbloom through the years noting significant achievements in my professional and personal life.  I was always so touched by these kind and personal gestures.

In a letter to me in December 2012 Dr. Goldbloom wrote, “Pediatricians develop a quasi-parental relationship with some of the young people they help bring up, and I take continuing pride in the outstanding job you are doing for the hospital.”

He was truly a remarkable individual. He made enormous contributions to my family and to Quebec and Canadian society.

Two years ago Pope Benedict XVI conferred papal honours upon Dr. Goldbloom at Temple Emanuel in Westmount in tribute to the exceptional role that he played in reinforcing the values that define us as Canadians. How extraordinary.

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Dr. Victor Goldbloom, CC, O.Q., M.D., was made a Knight of the Equestrian Order of Saint Sylvestre, one of five Orders of Knighthood awarded directly by the Pope as Supreme Pontiff and head of the Catholic Church and as the Head of State of Vatican City. By receiving Dr. Goldbloom into the ranks of one of the oldest and most esteemed of the papal orders, Pope Benedict XVI honoured his exceptional dedication and service to the cause of promoting dialogue and understanding between Christians and Jews. He became one of a handful of non-Christians ever to be knighted by the papacy.

Dr. Goldbloom helped to transform our understanding of “the other” and greatly contributed to the elimination of the social, religious and institutional barriers that divided Christians and Jews for centuries.

Dr. Goldbloom is a Companion of the Order of Canada and an Officer of the Ordre national du Québec. He was born and educated in Montreal, graduated in 1945 from McGill University and became a pediatrician. He practiced and taught his specialty for many years, and was actively involved in the Quebec Association of Pediatricians, the Quebec Medical Association and the Canadian Medical Association. In 1962 he was elected a Governor of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Quebec.

In 1966 Victor Goldbloom was elected to Quebec’s National Assembly, for the riding of D’Arcy McGee, and reelected in 1970, 1973 and 1976.  He served as Liberal MNA until  1979.  He was Quebec’s first Minister of the Environment, and later Minister of Municipal Affairs and Minister Responsible for the Olympic Installations Board. He was also the first member of the Jewish community to serve as a cabinet minister.

In 1972 and again in 1976, he was one of Canada’s delegates to United Nations conferences on the environment. He resigned his seat to become President and CEO of the Canadian Council of Christians and Jews. From 1982 to 1990 he was also President of the International Council of Christians and Jews. He is founding president of Christian-Jewish Relations Canada and of L’Amitié judéo-musulmane du Québec.

He headed Quebec’s Environmental Public Hearings Board and was Executive Director of the Quebec Health Research Foundation. From 1991 to 1999, he was Canada’s fourth Commissioner of Official Languages. Dr. Goldbloom chaired the board of the Health and Social Services Agency of Montreal. He was a founding director of the Jules and Paul-Émile Léger Foundation in 1981 and was its president from 2000 to 2003. He held honourary degrees from five Canadian universities: Toronto, McGill, Concordia, Ottawa and Sainte-Anne.

In October 2013 Global News featured the Goldblooms. Click here to watch the episode.

I have been a big fan of Dr. Goldbloom my entire life and found him to be one of the most remarkably accomplished individuals I have ever been fortunate enough to meet. His dedication and commitment to improving society was extraordinary. His compassion for people of all walks of life was inspiring. He was a true gentleman and a remarkable scholar. And, he was the best pediatrician a kid could ever have! Dr. Goldbloom will be sorely missed. His accomplishments in enriching our society will be everlasting.

I speak for my entire family in extending heartfelt condolences to his wife Sheila and his children, Michael, Jonathan and Susan.

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In memorium (JGH.ca)

Veuillez trouver le lien, ci-dessous, à la motion déposée par David Birnbaum le 18 février, 2016 à l’Assemblée Nationale à l’hommage du Victor Goldbloom au nom du gouvernement libéral du Québec.

Below is a link to a motion deposited by David Birnbaum at the National Assembly on Thursday, February 18, 2016 in tribute to Victor Goldbloom on behalf of the Quebec Liberal Government.

https://www.facebook.com/birnbaumdarcymcgee/videos/vb.596140027139426/960354647384627/?type=2&theater

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