TORONTO, November 30 – Member of Parliament for Toronto Centre, Hon. Bob Rae introduced a resolution today to recognize August 23rd –Black Ribbon Day- as a national Canadian day of remembrance for the millions of victims of totalitarian Communism and Nazism in Europe. The resolution, seconded by Etobicoke Centre MP, Borys Wrzesnewskyj, passed with the unanimous consent of all parties.
The resolution –supported by the Central and Eastern European Council- recognizes the suffering endured by those Europeans who were repressed and the millions who were murdered by Hitler’s Nazi and Stalin’s Soviet regimes and the contributions made in Canada by those refugees who were forced to flee their homes because of those regimes.
Black Ribbon Day founder and Acting Chairman of the CEEC, Markus Hess, said that the resolution offers important recognition of the positive effect that these communities had in building the Canada we know today. “The Eastern and Central Europeans who came to Canada, escaping Soviet Communist and Nazi tyranny, have made significant contributions towards building our great nation and ensuring that freedom and democracy prevail over the darkness of tyranny,” said Hess.
Award winning filmmaker, Marcus Kolga who spearheaded the initiative for the Central and Eastern European Council in Canada, stresses the global significance of the resolution: “it bears great global and historical significance, as it is the first resolution of its kind to be introduced outside of Europe and recognizes formally, for the first time, the terrible legacy of these two tyrannical regimes.”
The Central and Eastern European Council of Canada asked all Members of Parliament to support the Black Ribbon Day Resolution. The CEEC is an organization that represents the 3.4 million+ Canadians of Eastern and Central European heritage and includes the Czech, Estonian, Hungarian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Polish, Slovak and Ukrainian communities.
RESOLUTION TO ESTABLISH AN ANNUAL DAY OF REMEMBERANCE FOR THE VICTIMS OF EUROPE’S TOTALITARIAN REGIMES
1) WHEREAS the Government of Canada has actively advocated for and continues to support the principles enshrined by The United Nations Universal Declaration on Human Rights and The United Nations General Assembly Resolution 260 (III) A of 9 December 1948;
2) WHEREAS the extreme forms of totalitarian rule practiced by the Nazi and Communist dictatorships led to premeditated and vast crimes committed against millions of human beings and their basic and inalienable rights on a scale unseen before in history;
3) WHEREAS hundreds of thousands of human beings, fleeing the Nazi and Soviet Communist crimes, sought and found refuge in Canada;
4) WHEREAS the millions of Canadians of Eastern and Central European descent whose families have been directly affected by Nazi and/or Communist crimes have made unique and significant, cultural, economic, social and other contributions to help build the Canada we know today;
5) WHEREAS 20 years after the fall of the totalitarian Communist regimes in Europe, knowledge among Canadians about the totalitarian regimes which terrorised their fellow citizens in Central and Eastern Europe for more than 40 years in the form of systematic and ruthless military, economic and political repression of the people by means of arbitrary executions, mass arrests, deportations, the suppression of free expression, private property and civil society and the destruction of cultural and moral identity and which deprived the vast majority of the peoples of Central and Eastern Europe of their basic human rights and dignity, separating them from the democratic world by means of the Iron Curtain and the Berlin Wall, is still alarmingly superficial and inadequate;
6) WHEREAS Canadians were instrumental during the 1980’s in raising global awareness of crimes committed by European totalitarian Nazi and Communist regimes by founding an annual “Black Ribbon Day” on August 23rd, to commemorate the legal partnership of these two regimes through the infamous Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact and its secret protocols;
BE IT RESOLVED THAT every victim of any totalitarian regime has the same human dignity and deserves justice, remembrance and recognition by the Parliament and the government of Canada, in efforts to ensure that such crimes and events are never again repeated;
BE IT FURTHER RESOL-VED THAT the Parliament and the Government of Canada unequivocally condemn the crimes against humanity committed by totalitarian Nazi and Communist regimes and offer the victims of these crimes and their family members sympathy, understanding and recognition for their suffering;
BE IT FURTHER RESOL-VED THAT the Government of Canada establish an annual Canadian Day of Rememb-rance for the victims of Nazi and Soviet Communist crimes on August 23rd, called “Black Ribbon Day,” to coincide with the anniversary of the signing of the infamous pact between the Nazi and Soviet Communist regimes.
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