Mr. Jack Yazer, C.M., O.N.S. Congratulations on One Hundredth Birthday


Senator Statement: Mr. Jack Yazer`s 100th Birthday Senator Jane Cordy March 27th, 2013

Hon. Jane Cordy: Honourable senators, I am truly pleased today to speak in honour of my friend Mr. Jack Yazer from Sydney who will be celebrating his one hundredth birthday on April 7 with family and friends. Jack was born in 1913 in the small village of Suprasl in Poland. He said it was very difficult growing up Jewish in Poland at that time. With the help of relatives, Jack immigrated to Sydney Mines, Cape Breton, when he was 14 years old. He joined his brother and a sister who had come to Cape Breton previously.

When he arrived in Canada, the only English words that he knew were "can't speak." However, it did not take him long to learn the language. Jack and his brother, Mendel, peddled clothing, which they carried on their backs to the small communities around Cape Breton, like Bosidale, Bay St. Lawrence and Grand Narrows. The people in these small remote communities did not have access to clothing stores, so the Yazer brothers were a welcome sight when they made their rounds on the island. As Jack once said, "We brought the store to them."

A few years later, Jack and his brother started Yazer Brothers Men's Clothing Stores in Sydney Mines and later another store in Sydney. Through hard work, the stores became a success and a staple in the community. Jack became a successful and respected businessman and a community leader. His ability to envision what had to be done and his determination to get things done resulted in positive changes to his community. He was the driving force behind the Cape Breton Regional Hospital and the Cape Breton Cancer Centre, and he led a group of volunteers to raise $6 million for the project. The hospital foundation, for which he was the founding chair, honoured Jack by renaming the Caring Spirit Award in his name.

Jack did volunteer work for the Canadian Cancer Society, the Canadian Red Cross, United Jewish Appeal, and the Nova Scotia Family and Child Welfare Association. He drafted the Yazer graduated licence two-point merit plan to promote safe driving, and he founded the Youth Speaks Up program, which promotes healthy choices for young people. I was proud to speak to this group about the Senate.

Jack Yazer is the recipient of the Order of Nova Scotia and the Order of Canada, and he also received an Honorary Doctor of Law degree from St. Francis Xavier University. He is one of the most amazing people I have ever known. Jack is an outstanding Canadian, and I am proud that he is my friend. Please join me in wishing Jack Yazer a happy one hundredth birthday.