OTTAWA–With Armenian National Committee of Canada (ANCC) representatives from throughout Canada watching from the gallery–the Senate of Canada–by an overwhelming vote–adopted a motion to recognize the Armenian Genocide. Motion 44 was sponsored by Senator Shirley Maheu and seconded by Senator Raymond C. Setlakwe–both from Quebec. The motion–see attached text–was adopted 39 to one.
An ANCC delegation has been in Ottawa for the past week educating Senators about the importance to Canada of standing up against Turkey’s campaign to deny the first genocide of the 20th Century.
After the vote–a beaming Senator Maheu said: "This recognition enables Armenia’s the world over to turn the page on this sad chapter of their collective history and resolutely face the future."
A tearful Senator Setlakwe said: "I supported Senator Maheu’s motion to preserve a historical memory. Humanity is far from being safe from a repetition of this massacre. That it is all the more important that the Genocide be recognized. Africa and many other places in the world are threatened by this sort of barbaric behavior."
"The Senate recognition of the Armenian Genocide is an important message to the world that such a mark on human dignity will not be tolerated," said Hagop Der Khatchadourian–The Armenian National Committee of Canada (ANCC) Chairman. "In keeping with the Canadian tradition of preventing such crimes against humanity–the adoption of the motion will enhance Canada’s standing as a compassionate and a fair-minded country–where principles take priority over expediency and short-term political or economic gain," said the ANCC chairman. "We congratulate Senators Maheu and Setlakwe for sponsoring the motion and we would like to salute the Senate of Canada for its principled stand on such an important human rights issue," said Der Khatchadourian.
The ANCC President–Dr. Jerair Basmadjian–urged the Government and the House of Commons to "call a spade a spade and follow in the foot-steps of the Senate–the legislative assemblies of Ontario and Quebec and recognize the Genocide of the Armenia’s as such." In 1980 the legislators of Ontario and Quebec recognized the Armenian Genocide and urged the Government of Canada to follow suit.
ANCC was the driving force behind the motion. During the past fifteen months ANCC and its coast-to-coast chapters worked closely with senators–providing them with voluminous documentation on the Armenian Genocide.