Canadian Parliament, With Overwhelming Majority, Recognizes Genocide

Armenian National Committee of Canada
3401 Olivar-Asselin
Montreal, Quebec
H4J 1L5
Tel. (514) 334-1299 Fax (514) 334-6853

April 21, 2004

The Canadian Parliament, With Overwhelming Majority, Recognizes the Armenian
–A Historic Day for Canadian-Armenians

OTTAWA, April 21 – On the eve of the 89th anniversary of the Armenian
Genocide, the Canadian House of Commons, with overwhelming majority,
recognized the Armenian Genocide. The non-partisan vote was 153 for 68
against. When the result of the vote was announced, the House of Commons
chamber, which was packed with Armenians from Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto and
other Canadian cities, burst in applause and ringing `bravo.’ Tears of joy
could be seen in the eyes of many Armenians.

Motion M-380, which reads: `That this House acknowledges the Armenian
genocide of 1915 and condemns this act as a crime against humanity,’ was
moved by MP Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral (Laval Centre, BQ) and was seconded by
MPs Sarkis Assadourian (Brampton Centre, Liberal), Jason Kenney (Calgary
Southeast, Conservative Party of Canada) and Alexa McDonough (Halifax, New
Democratic Party). Voting, which began at 6: 15 pm, lasted 30 minutes.

Although Minister of Foreign Affairs Bill Graham used every means available
to him to defeat the Motion, he was unable to change the historic outcome.

The second reading of M-380, to recognize the Armenian Genocide, took place
on April 20. During the one-hour debate, only one member of the House spoke
against the motion. The other seven speakers were favoured of the motion.

In the last two days, the Turkish Embassy and its public relations firms had
launched a concerted campaign against the adoption of the bill. A delegation
from the Armenian National Committee of Canada (ANCC) was on hand to counter
the Turkish Embassy’s campaign of falsification and distortion of the
historical facts.

Dr. Girair Basmadjian, president of ANCC, was elated by the result of the
vote. `As an Armenian, I was moved and felt grateful for the respect that
was shown by the Canadian Parliament to the memory of the victims of the
Armenian Genocide. As a Canadian, I am proud that the House of Commons
adopted this historic motion.’

The ANCC was actively involved in promoting the passing of the motion. For
the last six months, the ANCC worked very closely with parliamentarians and
foreign affairs critics of all the political parties represented in the
House. The ANCC received strong support from numerous parliamentarians,
including Jim Karaygainnis, Eleni Bakopanos, Stephane Dion, Derek Lee,
Stephane Bergeron, Jason Kenney, Svend Robinson, Real Menard, and Senators
Raymond Setlakwe and Shirley Maheu. Ms. Libby Davies’ (Vancouver East)
gesture to switch her motion with madam Dalphond-Guiral motion, to allow the
vote to take place before the 89th anniversary commemorations of the
Armenian Genocide on April 24, was greatly appreciated. Within the Liberal
caucus, the contribution of Mr. Sarkis Assadourian (Brampton Centre) also
should be noted.

The ANCC mailed a specially-prepared brief to all members of the House. The
ANCC also mobilized the Canadian-Armenian community to counter the Turkish
Government’s propaganda campaign through e-mails, postcards and telephone
calls to parliamentarians.


Contacts: Aris Babikian (416) 706-4934 Mobile

Roupen Kouyoumdjian
(514) 336-7095