April 24, 2015

NDP

Philip Toone

New Democratic Party

Mr. Philip Toone (Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to close this first debate on Bill C-640, VIA Rail Canada Act. This bill is very important to me personally. For one thing, it guarantees passenger rail service to my region, in the Gaspé. Regions like the Gaspé need reliable, affordable passenger rail service. In our regions, bus service is far from exemplary, and air travel is simply too expensive.

Our regions need a Canada-wide passenger rail system. It is more affordable than air travel, it is the best option for the environment, it would connect our remotest regions, and it would help develop the economies of the regions served. Let us be clear: this bill is in the best interest of our environment, our economy and our regions.

I cannot emphasize enough the benefits such a passenger rail service could have, not only in the communities that are served directly, but also for society in general. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, every dollar invested in passenger rail service produces between $3 and $4 in economic spinoffs.

However, our current system is not reaching its full potential. The status quo is simply not working. This becomes clear simply by comparing VIA Rail with the Amtrak passenger rail system in the U.S.

With Amtrak, a traveller can get from Seattle to New York in three days for the equivalent of 275 Canadian dollars, and departures are offered daily. With VIA Rail, a trip from Vancouver to Montreal takes a day longer than with Amtrak, four days in other words, and costs an extra $200, or $475. What is more, VIA Rail offers just three departures a week during the summer and only two departures in winter. In fact, it would be cheaper, better and faster to travel with Amtrak in the United States to get from Vancouver to Toronto.

In the United States, politicians of all stripes understand that a modern country cannot afford not to invest in passenger train services. In Canada, we recognize the importance of investing in public infrastructure such as schools, hospitals, and fire stations. We even allocate a lot of money to road and air transport. Why then refuse to recognize the importance of passenger rail service?

It is not a question of nationalizing a private company because VIA Rail is already a crown corporation and is already subsidized by the federal government. Bill C-640 simply proposes to clarify VIA Rail's role, rights and responsibilities. Canadians deserve to know what they are getting for their investment and to have the power to ensure that their expectations will be met.

The VIA Rail Canada Act would give passenger trains priority over freight trains. This is not all that outrageous. Such a system is already in place in the United States. What is more, VIA Rail was created to free CN and CP from their obligation to provide passenger service. In return, CN and CP now allow VIA Rail to use their rail lines for a fee. It is important to note that VIA Rail pays more than Amtrak for those same rights.

Bill C-640 would allow VIA Rail Canada to negotiate on equal footing with these host railway companies and would ensure that it had scheduling preference in order to promote increased passenger use. Let us not forget that the preference of passenger trains would not apply if it were to unduly impair the freight service of a railway company. This is not about penalizing railway companies. It is simply about ensuring effective passenger transportation.

Bill C-640 would also establish a list of mandated routes. We are paying for a Canada-wide network so we expect to see a Canada-wide network, especially since the service would generate economic spinoffs in the communities being served. This model was very successful in the United States.

I would like to close by quoting the former president of Amtrak, David Gunn. He said:

No national rail passenger system in the world is profitable. Without public subsidy, there will be no passenger rail transportation systems....

We cannot get along without a national passenger rail transportation service in the 21st century. Privatizing VIA Rail is out of the question. The reason why the crown corporation was created was that the private sector was unable to provide this essential service. We must have a Canada-wide service. This bill is the first step in that direction.

Topic:   Private Members' Business
Subtopic:   VIA Rail Canada Act
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CPC

Bruce Stanton

Conservative

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bruce Stanton)

The question is on the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Topic:   Private Members' Business
Subtopic:   VIA Rail Canada Act
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?

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

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Subtopic:   VIA Rail Canada Act
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CPC

Bruce Stanton

Conservative

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bruce Stanton)

All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.

Topic:   Private Members' Business
Subtopic:   VIA Rail Canada Act
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?

Some hon. members

Yea.

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Subtopic:   VIA Rail Canada Act
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CPC

Bruce Stanton

Conservative

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bruce Stanton)

All those opposed will please say nay.

Topic:   Private Members' Business
Subtopic:   VIA Rail Canada Act
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?

Some hon. members

Nay.

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Subtopic:   VIA Rail Canada Act
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CPC

Bruce Stanton

Conservative

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bruce Stanton)

In my opinion the nays have it.

And five or more members having risen:

Pursuant to Standing Order 93, the recorded division stands deferred until Wednesday, April 29, immediately before the time provided for private members' business.

Pursuant to an order made Wednesday, April 22, the House will now proceed to the consideration of Motion No. 587 under private members' business.

Topic:   Private Members' Business
Subtopic:   VIA Rail Canada Act
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CPC

Brad Butt

Conservative

Mr. Brad Butt (Mississauga—Streetsville, CPC)

moved:

That the House: (a) re-affirm its support for (i) the Holocaust Memorial Day Act, (ii) the Armenian genocide recognition resolution adopted on April 21, 2004, (iii) the Rwandan genocide resolution adopted on April 7, 2008, (iv) the Ukrainian Famine and Genocide (“Holodomor”) Memorial Day Act; (b) call upon the government to honour the victims of all genocides by recognizing the month of April as Genocide Remembrance, Condemnation and Prevention Month; and (c) acknowledge the associated commemorative days of (i) Yom ha-Shoah (Holocaust Memorial Day), as determined by the Jewish Lunar calendar, (ii) Armenian Genocide Memorial Day on April 24, (iii) Rwandan Genocide Memorial Day on April 7, (iv) Holodomor Memorial Day on the fourth Saturday in November.

Mr. Speaker, it is my honour to present Motion No. 587 before the House today. I would like to thank the hon. member for Don Valley East for seconding the motion.

I would like to thank the House for the opportunity to start off this important debate on a motion that would reaffirm the support of the House for the recognition of historical genocides. It would also call upon the government to recognize April as genocide remembrance, condemnation and prevention month.

In August, 1941, shortly after British intelligence broke the Enigma code and began intercepting first-hand Nazi reports of mass slaughters and remorseless brutalities in occupied Ukraine and Russia, Winston Churchill spoke to an international audience in a live radio broadcast. He said, “We are in the presence of a crime without a name”. In the United States, the noted legal scholar, Raphael Lemkin, a Jewish refugee from Nazi-occupied Poland, heard Churchill's words. In the hope that naming the crime would help to prevent it, two years later, Lemkin coined the word “genocide”, defining it as “the systematic destruction of all or a significant part of a racial, ethnic, religious or national group”.

He tirelessly campaigned for its recognition in international law. Finally, in 1948, after the systemic nature and horrific scope of the Nazis' mass crimes had been more fully grasped, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Convention for the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. Canada has been a party to this convention for more than 60 years, and its resolve to combat and prevent genocide around the world continues to be strong and steadfast.

Some seven decades after the liberation of the Nazi death camps, our country remains committed to helping to prevent future atrocities by combatting oppression, hatred, and xenophobia, and teaching future generations about the lessons of genocide around the world. Canada has been profoundly shaped by survivors of genocide who have had first-hand experience with the horrific crime and have resettled across our great country. That is why this Parliament has officially recognized the historical genocides that have affected many Canadian immigrants and the ancestors of many Canadians. Those genocides include the Holocaust, the Armenian genocide, the Holodomor, and the Rwandan genocide.

The Holocaust Memorial Day Act, which was passed in 2003, recognizes the unique atrocities of the Shoah, during which 6 million European Jews, including 1.5 million Jewish children, lost their lives. Millions of other European civilians were slaughtered because they belonged to groups deemed expendable, according to the Nazis' heinous ideology.

The Armenian genocide resolution, adopted 11 years ago this month, recognized the terrible suffering and loss of life endured by the Armenian people in 1915 as a genocide, condemning it as a crime against humanity.

The Ukrainian Famine and Genocide (“Holodomor”) Memorial Day Act was passed in 2008. It established the fourth Saturday in November as an annual day to remember one of the greatest tragedies of the last century, the deliberate starvation of millions of men, women, and children in Ukraine, between 1932 and 1933, by the Soviet regime under Joseph Stalin.

Finally, in 2008, Parliament unanimously adopted a resolution commemorating the 1994 slaughter of 800,000 Rwandans, targeting ethnic Tutsis and political moderates, including ethnic Hutus, and designating April 7 as a day of reflection on the prevention of genocide. Parliament had previously declared April 7 a day of remembrance for the victims of the Rwandan genocide in 2004.

With the designation of April each year as genocide remembrance, condemnation and prevention month, we would be specifically remembering those unfathomable, tragic, historic events. At the same time, we would be more broadly acknowledging that genocide betrays the fundamental value of human dignity.

Genocide does not begin with the mass murder of a people. Its seeds are planted with hatred, racism and a denial of human rights. We must be vigilant and never allow such horrific crimes to be forgotten or repeated. We have an obligation to remember and to learn from some of the darkest events in human history. By doing so we renew our commitment to do everything we can to prevent such events from happening ever again.

In the words of author, Nobel Laureate and Holocaust survivor, Elie Wiesel:

An immoral society betrays humanity because it betrays the basis for humanity, which is memory…. A moral society is committed to memory.

As time passes, it becomes even more imperative for moral societies such as ours to remain firm in our commitment to memory. Without active efforts such as those proposed by this motion, there is always the risk that the memory of historical genocides could be lost, minimized, or even denied.

Indeed, in recent years, we have seen an unfortunate rise around the world in the heinous practice of Holocaust denial and in the denial of other genocides. The only appropriate response is to strongly reaffirm our collective commitment as a society to remember and commemorate genocide, to educate future generations about the poisonous effects of hate and intolerance, and to uphold the importance of preventing such atrocities from ever reoccurring.

Indeed, while the nation at the centre of any genocide holds the primary responsibility to protect its people from such atrocities, the international community also has significant responsibilities.

Canada has been a world leader in genocide commemoration and education. We have opened the Canadian Museum of Human Rights in Winnipeg, supported resolutions on the prevention of genocide at the Human Rights Council, and served as the 2014 chair of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, among many other recent recent initiatives.

The motion we are debating today is in the spirit of ensuring that our country continues to set an important international example. I call on all members of this House to support Motion No. 587.

I have appreciated the opportunity to address the House on this very important matter.

Topic:   Private Members' Business
Subtopic:   Genocide Recognition
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NDP

Alexandre Boulerice

New Democratic Party

Mr. Alexandre Boulerice (Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, I will soon have the honour of also speaking to Motion No. 587.

I would like to congratulate the member for Mississauga—Streetsville for his initiative. I would like to ask him what our country should do to honour the international agreements and treaties on the prevention of future genocides. What role should Canada play on the international scene in order to be more proactive and prevent such atrocities and horrors from happening again? What are his thoughts on that?

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Subtopic:   Genocide Recognition
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CPC

Brad Butt

Conservative

Mr. Brad Butt

Mr. Speaker, Canada continues to be a world leader and continues to play a very effective role in the international community in speaking out and making sure that we are honouring our international commitments and treaties.

Right now, of course, we are playing a very significant role in making sure another genocide does not take place in Iraq and Syria by committing Canadian Armed Forces and providing humanitarian aid and assistance to Iraq and Syria to protect religious minorities in those countries, Yazidis, Christians, Chaldeans, and Syrians who are being slaughtered at the hands of ISIL.

Canada will continue to play its very strong role where we are recognized internationally as standing up for vulnerable people in the world and speaking the truth about these tragedies at all times.

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LIB

Stéphane Dion

Liberal

Hon. Stéphane Dion (Saint-Laurent—Cartierville, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his speech and his initiative. I am pleased to co-operate to ensure that all communities will be on board. As he knows, we should perhaps consider adding another genocide that unfortunately happened to our friends in Bosnia. I would like to hear his views on that. As we have agreed, I understand that will not be today.

My colleague from Montreal has spoken with the minister. However, it might be good to explain where we are with respect to that, to ensure Canada is willing to commemorate in the month of April all of the genocides, including the one that happened in Bosnia.

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Subtopic:   Genocide Recognition
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CPC

Brad Butt

Conservative

Mr. Brad Butt

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my friends in the NDP, the Liberal, and Green parties who have all indicated their support for this motion. It is great to see Parliament come together over an issue like this. That is a credit to the fine men and women who serve in this chamber.

In the motion, I specifically referred to four genocides. However, it is obvious that should this motion pass, the month of April would be known as the genocide prevention remembrance month. It would include all genocides, including Bosnia and the others that have taken place. I would expect that this would cover all of those, and that we would find an appropriate way to commemorate these horrific events in human history and include all of those other organizations that would also like to be part of this in the month of April.

Topic:   Private Members' Business
Subtopic:   Genocide Recognition
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CPC

Paul Calandra

Conservative

Mr. Paul Calandra (Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and for Intergovernmental Affairs, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for bringing this motion forward. On the weekend, a number of people were in downtown Toronto in remembrance of the Armenian genocide. Across this country, we often stop and remember what has happened.

I wonder if the member could speak more emotionally to how important it is to remember, not only for government and for us, but for the victims and the people who have suffered through this.

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Subtopic:   Genocide Recognition
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CPC

Brad Butt

Conservative

Mr. Brad Butt

Mr. Speaker, even today, just a short couple of hours ago on the lawn at Parliament Hill, we had a commemoration for the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide. I had an opportunity to speak at that, which I am honoured to have done. When I looked into the crowd and saw the people's faces, I could see their pain and sadness for their relatives, friends, and ancestors who were affected by these acts.

There is an old saying that time heals all wounds. I am not always sure that is completely true. If we do not continue to recognize these events that have taken place in the history of our world, which have been our darkest moments in what human beings have done to one another, we are unfortunately doomed to repeat them. Therefore, we must continue to recognize these events each and every year.

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Subtopic:   Genocide Recognition
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NDP

Alexandre Boulerice

New Democratic Party

Mr. Alexandre Boulerice (Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, once again, I am extremely honoured to have the opportunity to participate in this debate and this discussion in the House of Commons. We are debating a fundamental and extremely important topic. Once again, I would like to thank my colleague from Mississauga—Streetsville for moving this motion and giving us an opportunity to put our thoughts together and have a rational discussion on some tragic events that took place over the course of the 20th century. There was the Armenian genocide, the first genocide of the 20th century, and then the Holodomor, the Holocaust and, more recently, the Rwandan genocide.

This is an important discussion for us to have, and this is an important week to have it. It is no coincidence that we are debating this motion today on April 24. The NDP worked very hard this week to ensure that the debate would be held on or before April 24. Why? April 24 is an important date. One hundred years ago, the interior minister of the Ottoman empire send a fateful telegram that would trigger a series of atrocities and massacres that went on for several years, during which time some 1.5 million Armenians were killed. That was the first time concentration and death camps were used. For the first time in the 20th century, there was a deliberate attempt to exterminate an entire population, to eradicate it from the planet. Fortunately, it failed.

Nevertheless, considerable force was unleashed for the purpose of destroying and killing people simply because of who they were. State resources were used to exterminate a people, a language and a culture from the face of the earth. The people who lost their lives over there are now considered saints and martyrs, as recently confirmed by the Pope. That is significant; it means something. Those people suffered through utterly horrible ordeals, and families were wiped out. People were killed and massacred. There were massive deportations of women and children, who were forced to walk in the desert for weeks. Obviously, they did not survive.

It is important for us to remember this because it must never be used to justify more such atrocities and attempts to exterminate a people. Though not unknown, these events are not well known enough. Remember what Adolf Hitler said when attempting to justify his plan to exterminate the Jewish people from Europe: “Who speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?” He was trying to prove that it was okay to kill millions of people because of their identity, their ethnicity, their religion or their language. That is extremely tragic, and people need to know what happened if only to prevent it from ever happening again. Sadly, it did happen again. We have a moral duty to make sure people are informed about and aware of what happened.

Earlier today I attended the rally on Parliament hill with my colleague from Mississauga—Streetsville and thousands of other people who came here today at the invitation of the Armenian National Committee of Canada to mark what happened 100 years ago. I shared a fact. It is not an anecdote, but indeed a fact. There are a few photos on our piano back home. One of the photos is of my wife's great-great-grandfather. He was a photographer. It is a lovely photo. He looks like a very dignified and upstanding man. The photo next to his is of this three oldest children, three sons. We look at those photos every day and we know full well that he and his three sons did not survive what happened in 1915. They were all killed. It is the story of millions of Armenian families. It is no coincidence that today in the Republic of Armenia there are three million people, but the Armenian diaspora represents eight million people.

Naturally, those who survived or were able to escape went to other countries, such as Uruguay, Canada, Australia, France and the United States.

Fortunately, in addition to the three sons who died, this man also had a daughter, who today lives in Paris, and another son. This fifth child went to Greece and also had two children, including a son, Andranig, who came to Canada and had three children: Shant, Gary and Lisa, my wife. We have a young son whom we called Sevan, an Armenian name, to preserve this family tie, history and continuity. It is important for us to proclaim this message about the fight against intolerance, racism and xenophobia. We must work every day, here in Parliament, but especially beyond these walls, to find a way to live a life that is good and congenial and allows us to respect differences by accepting them.

Then, in the 20th century, other tragedies and genocides also occurred. The Holodomor, the Ukranian genocide, is not very well known either. Stalin industrialized the U.S.S.R. on the backs of the people of Ukraine, by stealing and extorting Ukranian wheat and other grains, and then selling them on international markets in order to buy factories that were crumbling, which is what made possible the industrialization of the U.S.S.R. However, he did this on the backs of millions of people who lost their lives. He caused an intentional, deliberate famine, an act of organized crime. This was later repeated with the Holocaust, as we all know. We cannot forget the death camps, the extermination camps and the trains that led Jews to their deaths in furnaces and gas chambers. Six million people died at that time.

In 1994, not all that long ago, we saw the massacre of the Tutsis in Rwanda, when 800,000 people were killed in three and a half months. It is our duty to remember. The Parliament of Canada is the ideal place to reaffirm that we know what happened, that we acknowledge it and that we remember those men, women and children who were killed simply for who they were. We need to do everything in our power to ensure that it never happens again.

That is why the NDP is calling on the Canadian government and Canada to do more with our international treaties on genocide prevention and to punish the government officials responsible for these atrocities. We have already done so. In 2004, Alexa McDonough was one of the sponsors of a motion that was adopted here in the House on the recognition of the Armenian genocide, and we are proud of that. My colleague from Ottawa Centre also tabled a resolution in 2010 to make April 23 the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Mass Atrocities. This is a day to commemorate the victims of all atrocities, including genocide, crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing and major war crimes.

It is unfortunate to see that these types of crimes are still being committed today. I would also like to point out that even though they are not included in this motion, crimes were committed against the people of Cambodia, where between 1975 and 1979, one in five people in that country went missing or was murdered. That is completely unacceptable and atrocious. War crimes and crimes against humanity are still being committed even today. We need to talk about them, condemn them and take action to stop them and to keep them from happening again.

Today, on behalf of the NDP, I am extremely proud to be in the House with my colleagues to support this motion and to remind everyone of the Armenian genocide in 1915, the Ukrainian genocide, the Holocaust and the Rwandan genocide. We remember. We will never forget, and we will do everything in our power to ensure that this does not happen again.

Topic:   Private Members' Business
Subtopic:   Genocide Recognition
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LIB

Irwin Cotler

Liberal

Hon. Irwin Cotler (Mount Royal, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, earlier this month, on the occasion of the 21st anniversary of the genocide of Tutsis in Rwanda, I spoke at a gathering on Parliament Hill to mark Canada's National Day of Reflection on the Prevention of Genocide. Last week, I attended a Yom Hashoah Holocaust remembrance service in my riding, 70 years since the liberation of the death camps. Earlier today, I had the privilege to address the thousands assembled outside this building, who are commemorating the Armenian genocide, which began a century ago and which Pope Francis recognized as the first genocide of the 20th century.

What these genocides and others have in common, as I said at the gathering to commemorate the genocide of the Tutsis in Rwanda, is not only that these genocides are unspeakable because of the horror of the genocide, but also because these genocides were preventable. Nobody could say that we did not know. There were, as there always are, warning signs, forerunners to genocide. Yet time and again, the world has stood by, minimizing the threats of demonization and dehumanization, ignoring the ominous march to mass atrocity until it is too late and we find ourselves yet again promising never again and insisting that we mean it this time.

I therefore welcome the motion put forward by the member for Mississauga—Streetsville, which acknowledges four genocides that have been recognized by the House, along with the associated memorial days, and which calls on the House to establish April as genocide remembrance, condemnation and prevention month. A month so designated would provide an impetus not only to remember these tragic events, le devoir de mémoire, but to speak out and to act against racism, hatred, exclusion, demonization and dehumanization, the precursors to genocide, and in favour of justice, human dignity and the protection of human rights, including minority rights. Moreover, such a month would be an opportunity to continue the teaching and learning of the genocides past, with a view to preventing genocide in the future.

I will now touch on several lessons of remembrance and the remembrance to act always.

The first lesson is the danger of forgetting the importance and responsibility of remembrance itself, both in the sense of bearing witness to past collective failures to prevent genocide and in the sense of acknowledging and bearing witness to each victim of genocide as individuals. The numbers of genocide can be overwhelming: six million Jews killed by the Nazis, 10,000 Tutsis murdered every day for three months, 1,000 Ukrainians starved to death every hour at the height of the Holodomor, and I could go on. Genocide is not a matter of abstract statistics. As we say at these moments of remembrance, unto each person there is a name; each person has an identity; each person is a universe.

The second enduring lesson is that genocides have occurred not only because of the machinery of death, but because of state-sanctioned incitement to hate. The Supreme Court of Canada has recognized that the Holocaust did not begin in the gas chambers; it began with words. The international community must therefore bear in mind, as the Supreme Court of Canada affirmed also in the Mugesera case, that incitement to genocide is a crime in and of itself. Taking action to prevent it, as the genocide convention compels us, is not a policy option; it is an international legal obligation of the highest order.

The third lesson is the danger of indifference and the responsibility to act. In 1994, for example, while the UN Security Council dithered and delayed, Rwandans were dying. Ten years later, massacres in Darfur were met with a similarly dilatory global response. No one can say that we did not know. We knew, but we did not act.

In an effort to end this pattern of the international community as bystander, the United Nations adopted in 2005 the responsibility to protect doctrine, a Canadian initiative of which we should be very proud. According to R to P, whenever there are war crimes, crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing or, God forbid, genocide, and the government of the region in question is unable or unwilling to take action, or worse, is the author of that criminality, as in the case of the Syrian regime, the international community has a responsibility to intervene to protect targeted or innocent civilians. It is now the 10th anniversary of R to P and Canada must reaffirm its commitment to the abiding moral imperative in which it is anchored, that we are each, wherever we are, the guarantors of each other's destiny.

The fourth lesson is a danger of a culture of impunity and therefore the importance of bringing to justice those who are engaged in mass human rights violations. If the past century was the age of atrocity, it was also the age of impunity. Far too few of the perpetrators of crimes against humanity have been brought to justice and far too many of them live comfortable lives in Canada and elsewhere. As such, I encourage the government to commit adequate resources to Canada's war crimes program in order that such war criminals will be brought to justice.

The fifth lesson is the cruelty of genocide denial in its most obscene form, where genocide denial actually even accuses the victim of falsifying the crime, of perpetrating a hoax, but by commemorating genocide, we repudiate such denial.

Today, with crowds gathered on Parliament Hill to observe the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide, we must be clear. The current Turkish government and the Turkish people are not responsible for the killing of Armenians a century ago. Yet, reconciliation requires recognition, and I trust we all hope for reconciliation between the Turkish and Armenian people anchored in recognition and truth.

Sixth is the importance of remembering the heroic rescuers, those who confronted and resisted evil, who remind us of the range of humanity that prevailed in the face of evil, and thereby transformed history.

I am reminded, for instance, of our former colleague, Senator Romeo Dallaire, who was a beacon of humanity amidst the inhumanity of the genocide of the Tutsis in Rwanda; and of Raul Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat who, in 1944, rescued more Hungarian Jews than any single government before himself disappearing into the Soviet gulag.

Finally, we must remember and pay tribute to the survivors who endured the worst of inhumanity, and somehow found in the resources of their own humanity the will to go on, to rebuild their lives, as they contribute to the building of the communities in which they live.

Thus, I thank the member for Mississauga—Streetsville for his motion, and my party and myself will happily support it. Indeed, I have introduced a similar motion. The only difference being that mine makes mention of the Srebrenica massacre.

In that vein, before I close, I inform the House of a letter I received earlier this week from the president of the Congress of North American Bosniaks and from the chairman of the Institute for Research of Genocide in Canada. They wrote to express their surprise that the Srebrenica Remembrance Day and the related motion unanimously adopted by the House, on October 19, 2010, were not mentioned in Motion No. 587. They request that it be included.

Indeed, Srebrenica Remembrance Day is the only genocide commemoration day recognized by the House of Commons, but not specifically referenced in the motion before us. As such, I intend to introduce a motion in the coming weeks that will reaffirm the House's recognition of the Srebrenica massacre as an act of genocide to be commemorated each year on July 12.

On Srebrenica Remembrance Day, on the other commemorated days mentioned in Motion No. 587 and soon, during the entire month of April, Canadians will unite in active remembrance of the victims and in furtherance of tolerance, human dignity, human rights and peace. Never again will be affirmed, and this time we will be able to not only remember but hopefully act always on that remembrance.

Topic:   Private Members' Business
Subtopic:   Genocide Recognition
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CPC

Brad Butt

Conservative

Mr. Brad Butt (Mississauga—Streetsville, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, I want to specifically thank my colleagues, the member for Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie and the hon. member for Mount Royal, for also speaking on behalf of their parties to this motion. I would also like to thank the hon. member for Saanich—Gulf Islands, who also indicated to me that her party supported this motion as well.

It is a great day for Parliament when we see all political parties working together for such an important motion, important commemoration that we can have in our country by establishing April as our genocide remembrance prevention and condemnation month in Canada.

I appreciate the comments of the hon. member for Mount Royal about Bosnia. I would be prepared to work with him, and there is certainly no reason why that situation could not also be included in the commemorations within the month of April.

I simply want to thank all members of the House for the support for this motion, and I look forward to it being approved.

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Subtopic:   Genocide Recognition
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CPC

Bruce Stanton

Conservative

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bruce Stanton)

The question is on the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Topic:   Private Members' Business
Subtopic:   Genocide Recognition
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?

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Topic:   Private Members' Business
Subtopic:   Genocide Recognition
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April 24, 2015