Montreal Mayor Agrees to Build Genocide Monument

Montreal Mayor Pierre Bourque has agreed to allow the construction of a monument dedicated to victims of all genocides–and in particular–those of the 1915 Armenian Genocide–reported the Armenian National Committee of Montreal and the Montreal City Hall Monday.

The construction of the monument was originally slated to begin in 1994 as per a campaign promise by the city’s previous administration. The new administration–headed by Mayor Bourque and including three council-members of Armenian origin–decided to move forward with the project–and agreed with the proposal of the ANC which called for the Armenian community to dedicate the $100,000 monument–while the city would provide the public space at Marcelin Wilson Park–and carry the $75,000 price tag for its foundation.

In April 1995–Mayor Bourque took part in the sod turning ceremony of the site–but after being pressured by the Turkish government as well as Canadian federal officials–shelved the project.

According to the local media–in an attempt to reconcile with the local Armenian community a year before the next municipal election–Bourque has decided to make good on his promise. The Montreal City Council will vote on the proposal this week.

The city plans to unveil a scale model of the monument in April 1998. Cast in bronze–the monument should be in place before the end of 1998.

Another focus of controversy surrounding the monument had been regarding the inscription on the monument. Following several meetings between the Armenian National Committee of Montreal and Mayor Bourque–an agreement has been reached on the final text of the inscription–which will read: "On the 83rd anniversary of the 1915 Armenian Genocide–in which 1.5 million Armenia’s perished–we dedicate this monument to all the victims of genocides and encourage citizens to commit themselves to tolerance and social harmony."

The Armenian National Committee of Montreal has expressed its satisfaction regarding the Mayor’s decision to go ahead with the plan.

The ANC of Montreal has also thanked the Montreal City Executive Committee–led by Mayor Bourque himself–and all the members of the Montreal City Council–who have supported the monument project.

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