Dear Mr. Prime Minister,
We are sending you an open letter from the Eastern and Central European communities in Canada, their national representative organizations and leaders for your consideration regarding a future Parliamentary resolution to establish Black Ribbon Day as an annual Canadian day of remembrance for the victims of totalitarian regimes.
Most of today's 3.4 million Eastern and Central European Canadians, were affected by the tyranny of the Soviet and Nazi regimes. Their legacy is not their suffering, but their lasting contribution towards building the Canada we know today. By remembering the victims of tyranny and the contributions of our citizens to bring an end to these regimes we will further encourage the ensconcement of the principles of freedom and equality in the future of our nation.
We hope that you will support such a resolution in the coming session of Parliament and look forward to assisting you in this regard.
Central and Eastern European Council of Canada
• • •
August 27, 2009
Rt. Honourable Stephen Harper
Prime Minister of Canada
Re: Proposal for a Canadian Parliamentary Resolution to establish an annual day of remembrance on August 23rd, called Black Ribbon Day, to memorialize the victims of totalitarian Communist and Nazi regimes.
We, the undersigned, as individual members and representatives of nearly 3.4 million Canadians of Eastern and Central European heritage, ask the Parliament and Senate of Canada to adopt a resolution to memorialize annually, on August 23rd, the victims of totalitarian Communism and Nazism and to condemn crimes against humanity committed by those regimes.
On August 23rd, 1939, Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany formally signed a surreptitious agreement, commonly known as the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, to eliminate the sovereignty of European nations caught between these two regimes. Consequently the Pact targeted the people of those nations and the various ethnic minorities within them, with systematic repression and annihilation.
Canadians’ efforts and sacrifices in the last century and Canada’s historical commitment to ensuring global human rights, freedom and liberty, permitted millions of post World War Two refugees to settle peacefully in Canada: allowing and encouraging them to become active partners in the process of building this great nation.
By actively supporting these sacred principles it helped advocate for The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and United Nations General Assembly Resolution 260 (III) A of 9 December 1948 on Genocide, Canada has demonstrated leadership in ensuring the global observance of human rights. By adopting a resolution to memorialize the millions of victims of totalitarian Communism and Nazism, Canada will again demonstrate leadership in supporting human rights so that such violations are not repeated.
The first Black Ribbon Day, an initiative of Canadian citizens and communities to commemorate and remember the victims of these regimes, was observed on August 23, 1986 on three continents. It has since been declared as a day of remembrance by many nations and has been adopted by legislators in the European Parliament and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
By adopting a resolution to annually observe Black Ribbon Day, Canada will recognize the hardships and sacrifices of the forebears of millions of Canadians and honour those whose efforts and sacrifices furthered the principles of liberty and equality that are the cornerstones of the Canada we know today.
Canadian Polish Congress
Estonian Central Council in Canada
Canadian Hungarian Heritage Association
Latvian National Federation in Canada
Lithuanian Community of Canada
Slovak Canadian National Council
Ukrainian Canadian Congress
Black Ribbon Day letter to Stephen Harper