National Holocaust Monument

Development Council

The National Holocaust Monument Act requires the Minister responsible for the National Capital Act to oversee the creation of a Development Council of no more than five (5) members. Minister of Foreign Affairs John Baird is, in this case, the responsible Minister, and as such will ensure the timely establishment of the Development Council.

The members of the Development Council are not entitled to be paid any remuneration for acting as Development Council members by the National Holocaust Monument Act. Their travel costs will be reimbursed based on government guidelines.

The Development Council's main role is to spearhead a fundraising campaign to cover the cost of the planning, construction and maintenance of the National Holocaust Monument. The Development Council will also submit an annual report to the Minister and the appropriate Committee of the House of Commons on its activities.

National Holocaust Development Council

From left to right: Daniel Friedman, Ralf E. Lean, Fran Sonshine, Alvin Segal

Council Member Biographies

Daniel Friedman is serving as rabbi at Beth Israel Synagogue in Edmonton. He is also past-president of Jewish Family Services Edmonton, an executive member of the Rabbinical Council of America and a member of the Chicago Rabbinical Council. He served as rabbi of Newtown Synagogue in Sydney, Australia, campus rabbi of Congregation Beth Sholom in Mineola, New York, and associate rabbi at Temple Beth El in Long Beach, New York. Rabbi Friedman writes and speaks regularly about Judaism in a number of forums. In 2005, he earned an Alberta Centennial Medal for outstanding community service. He is pursuing a doctorate in international relations at the University of Alberta.


Ralph E. Lean is senior partner at Cassels Brock & Blackwell, a Toronto legal firm. He serves on the board of governors of both B’nai Brith Canada and the Portage Program for Drug Dependencies, and as chair of Right to Play Canada. He has also served on several other boards, including those of the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan and the Waterfront Revitalization Corporation and Exhibition Place in Toronto. Mr. Lean holds a BV distinguished peer-review rating from Martindale-Hubbell.


Alvin Segal is chairman and chief executive officer of Peerless Clothing. A member of the executive committees of the Apparel Manufacturers Institute of Quebec and of the Canadian Apparel Federation, Mr. Segal played a pivotal role in negotiations leading to both the Canada-United States Free Trade Agreement and the North American Free Trade Agreement. Mr. Segal is president and chairman of the board of the Segal Centre for Performing Arts. He was the recipient of the 2006 Conseil des arts de Montréal [Montréal arts council] and Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal’s Arts/Business Personality award. Mr. Segal is the benefactor of the Segal Cancer Centre at the Jewish General Hospital. For his contribution to the apparel industry, he was appointed a member of the Order of Canada in 2002 and promoted to officer of the Order of Canada in 2010 for his continued philanthropy. Additionally, he was appointed officer of the Ordre national du Québec in June 2011 for his dedication and contribution to arts and health care in the city of Montréal.


Fran Sonshine is currently national chair of the Canadian Society for Yad Vashem, the country’s leading authority for Holocaust education, commemoration, documentation and research. A former schoolteacher, she served as co-chair of the United Jewish Appeal (UJA) Federation of Greater Toronto’s 2009 annual campaign and as chair of the UJA Federation’s 2005 Women’s Campaign and Advocacy. She is a past chair of both the Baycrest board of directors and its foundation and a former member of the board of National Women’s Philanthropy, an organization of the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA; formerly, United Jewish Communities). In 2010, JFNA named her the Toronto recipient of the Kipnis-Wilson/Friedland Award. Ms. Sonshine’s other accolades include the UJA Federation’s 2011 Ben Sadowski Award of Merit, the UJA’s 2003 Shem Tov Award and the 1996 Hadassah-WIZO’s Volunteer of Distinction Award.

Elliot Lifson is president of the Canadian Apparel Federation (CAF). He is also vice chairman of Vêtements Peerless Clothing Inc. and one of the longest-sitting members of the Apparel and Footwear Sectoral Advisory Group on International Trade. In addition to his duties with CAF, he is a member of the boards of Apparel Quebec and Export Development Canada (EDC), and is a director of the Fondation de la mode de Montréal, the Tolerance Foundation and the Apparel Human Resource Council. As well, Mr. Lifson is a past chairman of the board of the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal. He also sits on the boards of many charitable institutions. Mr. Lifson serves as professor at McGill University’s Desautels School of Management.

Please visit the Development Council's official website for more information.