Bill C-238 (Historical)
Holocaust Monument Act
An Act to establish a Holocaust Monument in the National Capital Region
This bill was last introduced in the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session, which ended in March 2011.
This bill was previously introduced in the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session and the 40th Parliament, 1st Session.
Anita Neville Liberal
Introduced as a private member’s bill. (These don’t often become law.)
Introduction and First Reading
(This bill did not become law.)
National Holocaust Monument Act
Private Members' Business
December 8th, 2010 / 5:55 p.m.
Anita Neville Winnipeg South Centre, MB
Madam Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity to speak to third reading of Bill C-442, an act to establish a national Holocaust monument. I am very pleased to speak to the bill because approximately two years ago I introduced the same bill myself. It is a very important bill.
Part of the bill's preamble reads:
Whereas the establishment of a national monument shall forever remind Canadians of one of the darkest chapters in human history and of the dangers of state-sanctioned hatred and anti-Semitism;
And whereas a national monument shall act as a tool to help future generations learn about the root causes of the Holocaust and its consequences in order to help prevent future acts of genocide;
This is a long overdue bill. It was introduced by my Conservative colleague, the member for Edmonton—Sherwood Park, and I strongly support this new initiative to recognize the Holocaust.
I want to reiterate that Bill C-442 is almost identical to a bill first introduced by my former colleague, the member for Thornhill, Susan Kadis. That bill, known as Bill C-547 died when the last election was called. Therefore, I reintroduced it as Bill C-238 on December 1, 2008.
I was also concerned to see the sponsor of the bill, the member for Edmonton—Sherwood Park, use his last opportunity to speak to the bill to argue why the Conservatives deserved credit for their actions. This is not an issue of who supports a community more than others or who likes monuments better than others. This is an important non-partisan issue that all members of the House should support and should be supported by all Canadians.
This is about how a country acknowledges the history of a genocide that had a profound impact on many of its citizens and of people in all corners of the world. This is a bill that, in creating a monument, remembers not only the victims of the Holocaust but its survivors. It is a bill to honour those who fought on our behalf. It is a bill to ensure that future generations do not forget.
My colleagues and I in the Liberal Party are fully supportive of a bill to establish a national Holocaust monument in the national capital region that is built on public land with a plan, design, construction and ongoing maintenance funded by the Government of Canada. This intention is at the core of my bill, Bill C-238, and was at the core of Bill C-442 when it received the unanimous consent of the House at second reading.
In committee members opposite, despite the unanimous support for the principle of public funding, amended the bill to take away the concept of public lands and funding for the development and maintenance of the monument. I was listening to part of the speech by the member opposite and I am not sure if he was speaking to the amended bill or the bill as it is today.
Amendments were put forward by members opposite for every clause of the bill, which gutted the spirit of it. It was a bill with amendments that, on one hand, giveth and, on the other hand, taketh away. Fortunately, my colleague, the hon. member for Eglinton—Lawrence, challenged the amendments and the Speaker subsequently ruled that they were out of order and ordered that the original version of the bill, which is what we are debating today, be presented.
I want to reiterate that it is a publicly funded bill on public land, design and construction, given in memory of those who survived and those who were victims of the Holocaust and honoured by all Canadians.
Ultimately, some might suggest we did not even need a bill, that the government might have gone ahead and done this itself, with the minister instructing the National Capital Commission to erect the monument with existing funds.
I had the opportunity to visit Auschwitz, Dachau and Majdanek this past year. It was a profound experience. It reiterated to me the importance of monuments, symbols, obviously of a very different nature there. It reiterated the importance to me of having a tangible remembrance of what took place. The enormity of the tragedy is difficult to comprehend. The Holocaust was quite singular why biology determines the fate of individuals.
It is important that all parties support the bill, that it receive unanimous approval. It will be a national monument that as the preamble says “shall forever remind Canadians of one of the darkest chapters in human history and of the dangers of state-sanctioned hatred and anti-Semitism”.
National Holocaust Monument Act
Private Members' Business
October 27th, 2010 / 7 p.m.
Joe Volpe Eglinton—Lawrence, ON
Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to speak to Bill C-442. Like every other member of the House, in the spring I stood in my place and I voted in favour of Bill C-442, which was a virtual carbon copy of Bill C-238 presented by my colleague from Winnipeg South Centre. That bill tried to do something on behalf of all Canadians, irrespective of background, religious background, ethnic origin, any other kind of national racial origin. Why? Because every member in this place was taken seriously by the significance of the Holocaust, what it meant in human history and the importance of recognizing the tragedy that could visit humankind when evil went unstopped.
It was as well a unanimous expression by members of the House of Commons of Canada to commemorate the suffering of those survivors still resident in Canada. There was no expression of political gain. There was no expression of partisan one-upmanship. There was indeed a complete and total unanimous expression that Canadians from all parts of the country wanted to have the Government of Canada, on their behalf, locate some land in the national capital region, to put together a consultative group and together design, plan, construct and then subsequently maintain a monument to commemorate the Holocaust and to commemorate the sufferings of those who had survived, and to do it all with funds available to the Government of Canada or, in other words, with the contributions of every man, woman and child, every taxpayer in Canada. Every citizen needed to be a part of that project.
It was not a project designed for the Jewish community to commemorate its suffering. It was a project intended to be an expression of the Canadian view of all that was required to fight back evil no matter where it existed and then to celebrate those hardy people who survived it. We used as an example the Jewish community, but we wanted to make it universal.
There is no gain, no political agenda in that. In fact, some would say we did not need to debate this. We just needed to do it. There was not one dissenting voice, not one from any community. Think about the value and the merit of that exercise. Not a single community in Canada said that we should not do this or maybe we should adjust it. They were all one with the intent, an intent that had been introduced, as I said, by my colleague from Winnipeg South Centre and from her and my other colleague in a previous Parliament, the member for Thornhill, Ms. Susan Kadis, then known as Bill C-547. However, the government wanted to make it its bill and so we said that was not a problem, that we wanted to co-operate
What did the government do with the unanimity that was expressed in the House? We went to committee and the government produced an amendment for every clause of the bill.
If the member opposite, the sponsor of the bill, felt offended that I made a remark that he did not like, it is because I asked him in committee if the Prime Minister of Canada agreed with his bill. I asked him if his cabinet agreed with his bill and if it was voting against the wishes of the House. That would have been untrue because everybody in the House voted in favour. He said that the cabinet and the Prime Minister all agreed with his bill. Why would he amend it? The only thing that was left in the bill was the title.
The Conservatives introduced amendments that took away the concept of public lands, at public expense, to be funded by the Government of Canada through a plan, design and construction process that would be at the cost of the Government of Canada and then to maintain it in the national capital region.
Instead, the Conservatives said that the legislative authority of the minister would be devolved to the advisory council that was going to be established. They would ask it to raise the funds, because they were the only ones interested in this project, to go out into the community and ask people to give them money. With that money, they would build this monument, then buy the land and locate the monument here. Whatever expenses would be incurred and, in the end, whatever money was left over would be given to the National Capital Commission.
What is wrong with that? What is wrong is it reversed every intent and every indication that the House of Commons of Canada unanimously accepted.
I challenged those in committee. Then that challenge was unable to pass because government members challenged their chair. Then I asked the Speaker if these amendments were in order. Last week the Speaker ruled that those amendments were not in order and ordered that the original bill be presented. That is what we are talking about today.
We are talking about a restoration of what Canadians, through their members of Parliament, agreed to unanimously in the spring. What is being restored today is the bill that was presented initially by my colleague, Susan Kadis from Thornhill, and recently by my colleague from Winnipeg South Centre.
I was offended that the government member would start off with one of these spins about how the Conservatives deserve credit.
This is a non-partisan issue. Today we should be glorying in the fact that the Government of Canada is going to respect the unanimous wishes of the House of Commons and plan, design and build a monument to the Holocaust and the Holocaust survivors right in the national capital region.
We went so far as to write a letter to the minister responsible in the middle of May asking him to withdraw all of those amendments. Why? The Government of Canada did not need this legislation to do what we are discussing today. It did not need Bill C-442 to build a monument in the national capital region. That is already within the purview, the authority, of the National Capital Commission. It already has the funds for this.
If there is one regret in all of this it is that the Government of Canada had to ask the representatives of the people in the House of Commons to compel it first by unanimous decision of a vote of a bill and then to have the Speaker of the House withdraw, or cause to be withdrawn, all the amendments that would have gutted the bill. To do what? To do what the minister could have very simply done. He could have gone to the National Capital Commission and told it to get this done, erect this monument, the money was there and put it in the national capital region.
The people of Canada want this, demand it and they should get no less. There are 16 other such monuments already in the national capital region and they did not require legislation like this. The Jewish community, the Canadian public deserve no less.
Holocaust Monument Act
December 1st, 2008 / 3:10 p.m.
Anita Neville Winnipeg South Centre, MB
moved for leave to introduce Bill C-238, An Act to establish a Holocaust Monument in the National Capital Region.
Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to introduce in the House today my private member’s bill, an act to establish a Holocaust monument in the national capital region.
This proposed permanent monument here in the nation’s capital would ensure that Canada as a nation will never forget the Holocaust and the millions of people who died at the hands of the Nazi killing machine, including over six million Jews.
This monument would serve to forever remember the victims and survivors, and inspire everyone to be vigilant and take action against acts of hate, anti-semitism and racism. We must not forget that at the time there was a universal belief that a mass genocide could never happen. That was certainly proven wrong in the most heinous and tragic way.
This monument would serve as a memorial to the past and a beacon to the future. I hope all will support it.
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)