Irving Himel was an important figure in Canada’s early civil liberties movement. As a Toronto lawyer with close ties to the Jewish community, he was in a strong position to bring together various organizations and individuals to lobby for anti-discrimination legislation in the 1940s and 1950s. He was involved in the Civil Liberties Association of Toronto and led the Association for Civil Liberties (ACL). The driving force behind the latter, Himel was active until the 1960s.
In Repression and Resistance, Ross Lambertson notes that
“Himel was another nodal actor in the human rights community. He worked with the Workers’ Education Association and the CJC [Canadian Jewish Congress] in the Drummond Wren case against restrictive covenants, served as lobbyist and legal counsel for the Committee for the Repeal of the Chinese Immigration Act, and helped to run the ACL-affiliated Committee for a Bill of Rights. He remained with the ACL from its conception until the early 1960s, when he assisted in its reincarnation as the Canadian Civil Liberties Association. He was also, during the Dresden affair, a member of the Joint Public Relations Committee.”
Lambertson, Ross. Repression and Resistance: Canadian Human Rights Activists, 1930-1960. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2005.