Canadian Parliament to Consider Genocide Resolution

OTTAWA–Canada–Officials at the Canadian Embassy in Ankara have apparently told the Turkish Daily News that the Canadian government refuses to characterize the events in 1915 as "genocide" and has conveyed its view to Parliament which is preparing to vote on the issue on April 25.

Turkish government sources claim they have contacted the Canadian Embassy in Ankara and asked for information about the voting in both the Canadian Senate and the House of Commons. Canadian diplomats made it clear that the initiative was not a government sponsored one–and on the contrary–the Canadian government–though admitting that regrettable things happened in 1915–refrains from calling it a genocide. The Canadian Embassy has also informed its government that Turkey had strongly reacted to a law approved in February by the French Parliament that recognized the genocide by canceling many tenders won by French companies and by calling back its Ambassador Sonmez Koksal to Ankara.

Liberal Party Deputy Sarkis Assadourian–the first Canadian parliamentarian of Armenian origin–has presented a bill to the House of Commons on the Genocide–while Senator Shirley Maheu has brought up a similar bill to the Senate floor. Assadourian’s bill is as follows: "That–in the opinion of the House–the government should: (a) recognize as genocide the killing of 1.5 million innocent Armenian men–women and children in the period 1915 to 1923; (b) condemn the genocide of the Armenia’s and all other acts of genocide as the ultimate act of religious–racial and cultural intolerance; (c) recognize the importance of remembering and learning from the mistakes of history; and (d) follow the recommendations of the Third Report of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage–in the second session of the 36th Parliament–regarding the establishment within one year of a research facility on genocide."

Senator Maheu’s draft is as follows: "(a) Senate calls on the Government of Canada to recognize the genocide of the Armenia’s and to condemn any attempt to deny or to distort a historical truth as being anything less than a genocide–a crime against humanity. (b) designates April 24th of every year hereafter throughout Canada as a day of remembrance of the 1.5 million Armenia’s who fell victim to the first genocide of the 20th century."

It should be noted that the Canadian House of Commons passed a resolution on April 23–1996 "recognizing the Armenian tragedy which claimed some 1.5 million lives that took place on April 24–1915–and in recognition of other crimes against humanity–the week of April 20 to 27 of each year as the week of remembrance of the inhumanity of people toward one another."

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