Members of Parliament Being Honoured as Defenders of Human Rights at Event in Ottawa Marking 5th Anniversary of Recognition of Armenian Genocide



    OTTAWA, April 21 /CNW Telbec/ - On the fifth anniversary of the
recognition of the Armenian Genocide by the House of Commons, the Congress of
Canadian Armenians is hosting a special reception in the Parliament Building
in Ottawa this evening to honour the Members of Parliament who voted in favour
of Private Members' Bill M-380, which read: "That this house acknowledge the
Armenian Genocide of 1915 and condemn this act as a crime against humanity."
    Prime Minister Stephen Harper had supported the passing of the bill, and
has formally reaffirmed his and his party's recognition of the Armenian
Genocide every year since. In a recent letter, Harper stated: "I am honoured
to have this opportunity to extend my warmest greetings to all those attending
the Congress of Canadian Armenians event to mark the 5th anniversary of the
adoption of the resolution by the House of Commons recognizing the Armenian
Genocide. Your recognition of the members of the House of Commons who
supported the resolution is a truly gracious gesture."
    Canada's clear stance on this issue represents a major point of departure
from the current position of its closest ally, the United States. Potentially
signalling an important shift in official policy during his recent visit to
Turkey, U.S. President Obama re-iterated that his position on this issue is
already on the record and has not changed. As Senator, Obama had stated: "It
is imperative that we recognize the horrific acts carried out against the
Armenian people as genocide." Repeating such a statement as sitting U.S.
President is what Armenians are hoping for, although it will not be welcome by
Turkey.
    Several Ministers, Party Leaders and high-ranking Members of Parliament
have confirmed their presence at the event in Ottawa, including the four
co-sponsors of the bill, Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral (Bloc Quebecois), The
Honourable Jason Kenney Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and
Multiculturalism, Sarkis Assadourian (Liberal) and Alexa McDonough (NDP). Each
is being presented with a framed certificate of appreciation in recognition of
their stance in upholding human rights. Also expected to be present are
several Senators who had actively supported the passing of a similar motion in
the Senate of Canada on June 13, 2002, as well as Ambassadors of countries
that have also recognized the Armenian Genocide and leaders of the Canadian
Armenian community from across Canada.
    Taro Alepian, Chairman of the Congress of Canadian Armenians, states:
"All Canadians should be proud of their government's courageous stance on this
human rights issue, despite the obvious pressure they must have faced. We
thought it important to honour all those who made the passage of this bill a
reality. We hope that U.S. President Obama will follow Prime Minister Harper's
lead, as he had promised to do."
    To date over 21 countries, three provinces (Quebec, Ontario, B.C.) and
countless municipalities have recognized as Genocide the events that occurred
in 1915, when 1.5 million Armenians were systematically exterminated by the
Ottoman Empire. Modern day Turkey denies its history, despite its own official
records, overwhelming international evidence and consensus among historians.

    Established in 2004, the Congress of Canadian Armenians is comprised of
many of the large Canadian Armenian organizations. It serves as a united voice
to present Armenian issues to the Canadian public and to promote Armenian
interests.
    www.canarmcongress.com




For further information:

For further information: If members of the media would like to attend
the event tonight at 5:00 p.m or for more information, please contact Alida
Alepian, (514) 793-9233

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CONGRESS OF CANADIAN ARMENIANS

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