Canada House recognizes “genocide” in Armenia, rebuffing FM

Agence France Presse
April 22, 2004 Thursday

Canada House of Commons recognizes “genocide” in Armenia, rebuffing

OTTAWA, April 21

Canada’s House of Commons rejected Tuesday appeals from Foreign
Minister Bill Graham by adopting a resolution to recognize that
Turkey, Canada’s ally in NATO, committed genocide in Armenia in 1915.

The 301-seat House of Commons voted 153 to 68 in favour of the
resolution, thanks to support from many members of the governing
Liberal Party. Several MPs said Graham had asked them to vote down
the measure during closed-door Liberal meetings.

The motion recognized Turkey’s alleged genocide as “a crime against

It has symbolic value and will not define policy.

In the vote, several leading members of the Liberal Party, including
parliamentary secretaries, voted in favour. However, no full cabinet
minister voted against.

Aris Babikian, of the Armenian National Committee of Canada, pointed
out that several key cabinet ministers, including Justice Minister
Irwin Cotler and even Prime Minister Paul Martin, were absent for the

He suggested they were absent because they did not want to vote
against the motion.

However, Babikian said it was a great “moral victory,” which would
add pressure on Turkey to at least recognize the genocide and even
apologize for it.

At a celebration party after Tuesday’s vote, Babikian said he owed
this victory to his grandfather who “lost six brothers and sisters in
the genocide” and “saw his own six-year-old sister burned to death.”