OTTAWA, Canada—In his inaugural year in office, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau released a statement commemorating the 101st anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. In a statement dated April 24, 2016, which he shared with the Armenian National Committee of Canada (ANCC), Trudeau recalled the resolutions passed by both the Senate and the House of Commons recognizing the Armenian Genocide and stated that “[Canadians] preserve the memory of those who lost their lives and those who suffered during this genocide, and pay our deepest respects to their descendants, including those who now call Canada home.”
“We are encouraged to see that the PM Justin Trudeau is holding true to Canada’s commitment to condemn acts of genocide, including the Armenian Genocide,” said ANCC President Dr. Girair Basmadjian. “While the prime minister’s message reaffirms the Canadian government’s recognition of the Armenian Genocide and the need to prevent future genocides, it fails to condemn successive Turkish governments that perpetrated the Armenian Genocide between 1915 and 1923, nor does it condemn the ongoing denial campaign by the Republic of Turkey,” concluded Basmadjian.
The ANCC believes firmly that “Canada’s back,” and as a world leader in promoting and protecting human rights and democratic values in other states Canada should help Turkey acknowledge its past by condemning all forms of denial. The ANCC and the Armenians who have chosen Canada as their home will continue to work with the government and elected representatives throughout Canada to ensure that future statements include condemnation of any denial by successive Turkish governments.
On the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, the Canadian Parliament designated April as Genocide Remembrance, Condemnation, and Prevention Month and April 24 specifically as Armenian Genocide Memorial Day. On the 101st anniversary, the prime minister’s statement is an important part of the Canadian government’s commitment to remember and condemn past genocides and work to prevent future genocides.
Below is Trudeau’s statement in its entirety.
On this day, we mark the 101st commemoration of the tragic loss of life of the Armenian population during the waning days of the Ottoman Empire in 1915.
Both the Senate of Canada and the House of Commons have adopted resolutions referring to these events as genocide.
We preserve the memory of those who lost their lives and those who suffered during this genocide, and pay our deepest respects to their descendants, including those who now call Canada home.
In solemnly acknowledging this event, let us use this moment as an opportunity to look forward and strengthen our collective resolve to ensure such acts are never again repeated.
While we must never forget the lessons of history, we must also be reminded that past injustices do not serve our communities if they divide us. Canadians of all backgrounds and faiths stand together in reaffirming our collective commitment to the values of pluralism, human rights, and diversity.
On this anniversary, please join me in my hope for a peaceful future based on tolerance, respect, and reconciliation.
The Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau, P.C., M.P.
Prime Minister of Canada