Canada becomes first nation to recognize Holodomor as Genocide

Private Members Bill C-459 (now law):

Throughout Canada, in each and every year, the fourth Saturday in November shall be known as “Ukrainian Famine and Genocide (“Holodomor”) Memorial Day”

Reads the newly assented law by Selkirk-Interlake MP James Bezan. On Tuesday in the House of Commons, in one motion moved by Bezan the bill was deemed to have been read a second time, considered in committee, reported, concurred in, read a third time and passed. The bill then went the Senate, where it passed all stages on Wednesday. The bill received Royal Assent yesterday at Rideau Hall.

This bill is about recognizing a historic wrong ignored by the West. The communist ideology of Soviet Dictator Joseph Stalin targeted and exterminated millions of Ukrainian men, women and children through forced famine.

-James Bezan

In a show of solidarity, opposition Etobicoke-Centre MP Borys Wrzesnewskyj supported the move and ensured the bill would pass at all stages. Wrzesnewskyj already had Bill C-450 for quite some time respecting a national day of remembrance of the Ukrainian Holodomor-Genocide in first reading, but rose immediately in the House to seek unanimous consent for Lezan’s Bill after a number of Conservative MPs in the House of Commons blocked the passage of their own caucus member’s bill, twice!

With Mr. Bezan having voted in favour, Mr. Wrzesnewskyj then crossed the aisle and together and alongside of Mr. Bezan began a series of intense negotiations with the Hon. Jason Kenney, Secretary of State (Multiculturalism and Canadian Identity).

During these negotiations, Wrzesnewskyj and Bezan were adamant that the Holodomor bill pass all stages of the House of Commons today, and proceed immediately to the Senate. Wrzesnewskyj underscored that he did not want the bill to go to committee where it would potentially be delayed and not be reviewed until the Fall when an expected election could derail its passage.

Minister Kenney stated amendments and word changes were necessary and that this would require the bill to go through the committee stage. However, following discussions, amendments were agreed to and an agreement was struck to pass this historic bill at all stages.

In the concluding remarks during his address in the House of Commons on the historic passage of the Holodomor bill through the House of Commons, Wrzesnewskyj stated:

“Discussions have taken place this afternoon among all parties and in the spirit of those two words, БІЛЬШ НІКОЛИ – “never again”, at the end of today’s debate there will be an unusual display of goodwill among all parties and respect for the millions who perished. There will be agreement on amendments to the Holodomor famine-genocide bill which will allow its passage at all stages so it can be sent to the Senate.” – (courtesy: UCC Press Release 5/28/08)

Senator Raynell Andreychuk also sponsored the bill through the Senate:

It is important that this bill be recognized by Parliament and the Government of Canada, which will allow us to honour the victims and survivors of the Holodomor that are in Canada, Ukraine and around the world. It will also let Ukraine and the International community know that Canada supports calling Holodomor, a genocide

Also a big thanks to the many other politicians who showed their support:

Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Hon. Stephen Dion, Hon.  Jack Layton, Gilles Duceppe, Secretary of State Jason Kenney and Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko who visited Canada this week.

БІЛЬШ НІКОЛИ – “never again”

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