Senate Motion Calls on Government of Canada to also Commemorate the Genocide

June 27, 2002

WASHINGTON, DC — The Armenian National Institute (ANI) welcomed news that the Canadian Senate has passed a motion calling on the Government of Canada to recognize and commemorate the Armenian Genocide. Led by Senators Shirley Haheau and Raymond Setlakwe, the motion was passed by a vote of 39 to one.

The motion (Motion 44) reads as follows:

That this House calls upon the Government of Canada:

(a) to recognize the genocide of the Armenians and to condemn any attempt to deny or distort a historical truth as being anything less than genocide, a crime against humanity, and

(b) to designate April 24th of every year hereafter throughout Canada as a day of remembrance of the 1.5 million Armenians who fell victim to the first genocide of the twentieth century.

The Senate’s motion regarding the Armenian Genocide follows similar action in the legislative assemblies of two of Canada’s largest provinces, Ontario and Quebec.

“The Canadian Senate’s initiative is most welcome, and follows on the heels of similar resolutions in the parliaments of France, Greece, Italy and Sweden as well as the European Parliament and the Vatican,” said ANI Chairman Robert A. Kaloosdian. “The Armenian community in Canada, led by Senators Maheau and Setlakwe, are justly proud and we hope this will encourage them to carry the battle to the House of Commons, which is the next step in obtaining official governmental recognition. We must remind governments everywhere that the act of denial is a continuation of the genocide itself.”

The Senate motion sets a precedent which will assist Member of Parliament Sarkis Assadourian who said he plans to reintroduce his Private Member’s Bill calling on the Government of Canada to recognize the Armenian Genocide.

The Bill will likely be put forward when the 301 Members of the House of Commons return to Ottawa next fall.

Assadourian praised the Senate initiative, saying “Senator Maheau and Senator Setlakwe deserve the thanks of the Canadian Armenian community for their long-standing efforts for recognition of the Armenian Genocide.”

Senator Maheau recently traveled to Armenia with a parliamentary delegation. Senator Setlakwe’s parents were survivors of the Armenian Genocide.

Armenian’s Ambassador to Canada Ara Papyan told reporters that, “This is the first resolution in which the Canadian Senate has recognized the Armenian Genocide at the federal level.” He added that he was sure that the Senate’s recognition of the Genocide will help the adoption of a similar document by the Canadian House of Commons.

The Montreal Gazette reported that Turkey’s Ambassador to Canada Erhan Ogut has refused to comment.

The Armenian National Institute is dedicated to the study, research, remembrance and re-affirmation of the Armenian Genocide. Please visit the ANI Web site: