Tribute to Liberty, a recently established Canadian organization, whose first project is to have a permanent memorial built in Ottawa commemorating the Victims of the Crimes of Communism, held a pre-Christmas event for representatives of Canada's ethno-cultural communities on Wednesday, December 10th, at the Faculty Club, University of Toronto. In attendance were members and friends of the Latvian, Lithuanian, Polish, Czech, Armenian, Cuban, North Korean, Chinese, Ughur, Tibetan, Mennonite, Muslim and Estonian communities, including Honorary Consul Laas Leivat.
Canada's Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism the Hon. Jason Kenney sent greetings offering his support and the support of the Government of Canada to this project.
Minister Kenney first brought Canadian government support for Tribute to Liberty into the public forum in his remarks on November 28th at the International Forum: My People Will Live Forever in Kyiv, Ukraine commemorating the 75th anniversary of Holodomor. In Kiev, Mr. Kenney spoke about why the Canadian Parliament and Government established a Ukrainian Famine and Genocide Memorial Day earlier this year. In his remarks he quoted Prime Minister Stephen Harper as follows: "remembering those who died, and why they died, is our best hope against history repeating itself."
Mr. Kenney went on to say:
"This also explains our Government's decision to cooperate in the creation of a Canadian monument to the victims of communism, to be established in our nation’s capital, Ottawa. It will stand as a lasting place of sacred memory to the millions whose lives were taken by a brutal, utopian ideology during Holodomor, and throughout what Pope John Paul II called "the Century of Tears."
The Tribute to Liberty Board will be establishing a Community Advisory Council early in the New Year, to raise awareness about the project and begin a broad fundraising initiative. Reet Marten Sehr, member of the Canadian Estonian community, is a Board member of Tribute to Liberty.
Here are Minster Kenney’s remarks as sent to Tribute to Liberty:
December 9, 2008
Greetings from the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism
Although I cannot be with you, I would like to extend my warmest greetings to those attending the Tribute to Liberty Christmas Party. On behalf of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the members of Tribute to Liberty for spreading awareness about the many great historical injustices perpetrated by Communist regimes.
I was proud to be a member of the parliament that unanimously voted to recognize November 22nd as Ukrainian Famine and Genocide Memorial Day. Recognizing the Holodomor, and other such atrocities, as acts of genocide, expresses the fundamental values of democracy, freedom and the rule of law that all Canadians embrace. By increasing awareness of historical injustices and atrocities, we are able to help ensure that they will not be repeated. I hope that you can take this opportunity to reflect on the meaningful work that Tribute to Liberty has undertaken so far.
Thank you for your efforts in shining a light on these dark periods of history that have affected so many.
The Honourable Jason Kenney, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism
Jason Kenney offers support for Tribute to Liberty (7)