National Holocaust Monument Act

An Act to establish a National Holocaust Monument

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.


Tim Uppal  Conservative

Introduced as a private member’s bill.


This bill has received Royal Assent and is now law.


This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

This enactment requires the Minister responsible for the National Capital Act to establish and work in cooperation with a National Holocaust Monument Development Council to design and build a National Holocaust Monument to be located in the National Capital Region.


All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, an excellent resource from the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

National Holocaust Monument ActPrivate Members' Business

December 8th, 2009 / 5:45 p.m.
See context


Tim Uppal Conservative Edmonton—Sherwood Park, AB

moved that Bill C-442, An Act to establish a National Holocaust Monument, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to introduce my private member's bill, Bill C-442, An Act to establish a National Holocaust Monument.

As a student growing up in Edmonton, I learned about the history of the Holocaust as part of the second world war. Textbooks recount the events that unfolded, the battles that were waged, the sacrifices of our soldiers, airmen and sailors, along with their families, and the eventual victory of the allies over the Nazis. I also learned about the Holocaust, how groups of people who did not fit certain stereotypes were exterminated in the name of racial purity.

However, as a student reading from a textbook, those events seemed distant and dated. They happened before I was born, to people I did not know much about, in countries on the other side of the world. I had only a superficial understanding of the Holocaust. It was a part of history. It was something I learned about but never truly understood or appreciated.

For young people today, it is even more remote. Privileged to live in a country like Canada, the Holocaust can seem totally foreign, something which people have difficulty understanding because they cannot relate to the atrocities and horrors.

For some, a deeper understanding of those terrible events is provided through the stories and retelling of family members and veterans who were witness to the Holocaust, and in some cases, survived it. Elie Wiesel and Branko Lustig have done much to remind us of what they experienced. However, as time passes and the ranks of those who are able to tell those stories dwindle, there comes a danger that this unparalleled crime will become just a part of history, something which may exist in a textbook but whose real significance is lost.

In a way, it is a tribute to the progress we have made that our children have difficulty understanding this brutality. Today's Canada is a nation of hope and opportunity, a beacon to those around the world seeking to find a new home and brighter future for themselves and their families. As Canadians, we pride ourselves on a nation that values and demands respect toward other people, affords a personal dignity to all people and provides an environment of tolerance and understanding. Our society is the dream for many around the world and is something that the thousands of men and women in our armed forces have fought for in distant, war-torn and oppressed nations.

My own parents came to Canada in order to take advantage of all that Canada affords to newcomers and we remain deeply grateful toward this country that values its new Canadians as positive assets to our national identity.

Today's Canada and those who are honoured to call Canada home would have tremendous difficulty identifying with the deep horrors of the Holocaust. The concept of state-sanctioned killing and ethnic cleansing is completely alien.

The dangers we as a country now face are complacency and fatigue, to allow things like the Holocaust to rest in the pages of history. To do so, invites a return to the terror of those dark years, and losing those very things which we hold most dear.

We must remember that just because no crime so horrible has occurred in Canada does not mean we need not concern ourselves. After all, the history of our country is not perfect: the internment of Japanese Canadians; the events surrounding the Komagata Maru incident; and the treatment of aboriginal Canadians. We should not pretend that crimes against whole groups of people are something that only ever happen far away and long ago. Time and time again our government has urged vigilance and for people to learn the lessons of history so we never find ourselves ignoring the signs of trouble.

And lest we think that hatred and anti-Semitism are relics of the past, we are reminded on an almost daily basis that there are individuals around the world who continue to deny the very existence of the Holocaust, or who seek to downplay the extent of the crimes that were committed against humanity.

President Ahmadinejad of Iran continues to outrage people with his denial of the Holocaust. His myopic and ignorant comments on the subject of the Holocaust have resulted in condemnation from virtually all quarters of the world, but there are people even in our country who agree with him.

The denial of the Holocaust and those who voice such opinions must continue to be fought in the public square. This monument will be a testament to where Canada stands.

Others have not been so vocal and public with their hatred, but have cloaked their denial of the Holocaust behind a veneer of claiming respect for human rights. The rise of anti-Semitism in some places around the world, whether overt or subtle, is another compelling reason why Canada must continue to ensure that the Holocaust is both acknowledged and condemned.

As a member of Parliament, I am privileged to represent the citizens of Edmonton—Sherwood Park in Ottawa. In my opinion, members of Parliament are charged with two important roles: fighting for the interests of their constituents; and pursuing issues which will benefit Canada as a whole. I believe that establishing a national Holocaust monument speaks to both of these roles and will help to instill in generations of future Canadians an understanding of the atrocities of the Holocaust through a visible, tangible icon in the nation's capital.

Some people have suggested that a monument is not necessary. After all, who has not heard of the Holocaust, they say. Do we really need a monument? I believe that yes, yes we do. Remember, after the second world war was over, people began speaking about the Holocaust. Newspapers printed the crimes that had been committed, but they were not fully understood or appreciated. No one really grasped what happened. It was not until we saw the photographs, until there was a more tangible and visible way to understand, that the significance of the Holocaust began to sink in.

This is why I believe that reading about the Holocaust in a textbook is not enough. Every year there are thousands of Canadians who come to visit our capital, many of them schoolchildren. A physical, tangible monument, given space in our nation's capital, will make a different impression than the words they read on a page.

Like many, I was surprised to learn that Canada remained the only allied nation without a Holocaust monument in its nation's capital. As it is the case in these other countries, with the passage of time there are fewer and fewer survivors who can bear the personal witness to the Holocaust.

A permanent monument to those who died in concentration camps or in their own homes at the hands of the Nazis will serve as a lasting reminder of a dark era of hatred and violence that we must ensure never occurs again. By placing the monument in the nation's capital, at the seat of government, we accord an appropriate respect and acknowledge the gravity of this terrible event. Great Britain, the United States, France, all our allies have understood the importance of remembering the Holocaust, and so should Canada.

I would like to express my sincere appreciation to those who have made fighting anti-Semitism, bigotry and racism their cause, and in doing so, have helped make our nation and our world a better place. In particular, I would like to extend my deepest appreciation to the men and women of the armed forces who continue to battle extremism and uphold our values of freedom and justice around the world. As Canadians, we owe them a tremendous debt which we can never repay.

I have been thrilled with the broad level of support I have received to establish a national Holocaust monument, both from my colleagues in the House and from organizations throughout Canada, specifically Laura Grosman from the Canadian Holocaust Memorial Project, senior parliamentarians such as the hon. member for Mount Royal and the hon. member for Winnipeg North, along with a number of my colleagues in the Conservative caucus, and in particular, the hon. Minister of State for Foreign Affairs. They have been strong supporters of moving this initiative forward.

I see this bill as an example of the best of what Parliament can do when we transcend traditional party lines and move forward on an issue of tremendous importance to Canadians. I would urge all hon. members to support this legislation. Let our commitment to remembering those who died in the Holocaust and those who continue to be confronted with anti-Semitism be represented by a visible, concrete reminder of that dark time. Let it stand as a testament to our own ideals and values and be the embodiment of the words and stories inscribed in the textbooks of history, read but not fully appreciated.

Our Prime Minister, when he visited the Nazi death camp in Auschwitz in the spring of 2008 commented that on one hand he was profoundly moved by the inconceivable suffering of the Jewish people who were killed, but on the other hand he felt hope from the limitless spirit and strength of the Jewish people.

This monument is a statement made by Canadians to the world that honours those to who died in the tragedy of the Holocaust and says to future generations of Canadians, never again.

National Holocaust Monument ActPrivate Members' Business

December 8th, 2009 / 5:55 p.m.
See context


Jim Maloway NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate the member for his Bill C-442.

I must admit I was very surprised that Canada remains the only allied nation without a Holocaust monument in the national capital. I am very pleased that this bill is receiving all-party support. I think that is a very good sign. The bill itself merely provides a framework for a monument to be built within a three-year period. There is a lot of work to be done during that three-year period.

Could the member tell us whether he has any ideas as to where it is going to be, the cost of it, who is going to pay for it, and so on? Could he give us a better idea? Also, what sort of memorials or monuments exist in other allied countries?

National Holocaust Monument ActPrivate Members' Business

December 8th, 2009 / 5:55 p.m.
See context


Tim Uppal Conservative Edmonton—Sherwood Park, AB

Mr. Speaker, the member is right, the bill lays out a framework and some timeline of how this monument will move its way through government.

The bill also asks the minister responsible to put together a council of no more than five members from the community. Canadians at large will be asked to submit their names to apply to be on this council. This council will be responsible for the design of the monument, arranging or putting together the funds for it as well, and for raising funds throughout Canada, through the community. I definitely believe it will be well beyond just the Jewish community. I think Canadians in general would be very eager and willing to support this monument.

It is the design and the funds that will come from this council. I have spoken to a number of organizations that are very eager and willing to support this council and their work in putting this national monument together.

National Holocaust Monument ActPrivate Members' Business

December 8th, 2009 / 5:55 p.m.
See context


Larry Bagnell Liberal Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate the member for bringing this forward and the work he has done on it. The member for Mount Royal will be speaking soon. As people know, he is world famous for his work on human rights. I would like to ask the member if he hopes, as I do, that this monument will also be a signal to the world that we do not forget extrajudicial killings, that they are not acceptable to the world, and that we will follow-up to ensure that they do not happen as they are occurring today in places like Burma, Darfur, Congo and Tibet?

National Holocaust Monument ActPrivate Members' Business

December 8th, 2009 / 5:55 p.m.
See context


Tim Uppal Conservative Edmonton—Sherwood Park, AB

Mr. Speaker, this monument is obviously a monument for the Holocaust but it is so much more. It is a monument to those who fought in World War II, for the many who went over and were killed in that war, the families of the victims of that war. It honours the men and women in uniform today. I believe it honours the survivors of the Holocaust, and others who also face racism and anti-Semitism. I believe this monument will be appreciated by many Canadians in many different ways.

National Holocaust Monument ActPrivate Members' Business

December 8th, 2009 / 6 p.m.
See context

Nepean—Carleton Ontario


Pierre Poilievre ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, this private member's bill deserves the support of this House of Commons. It is a real testament to the exceptional work of this particular member of Parliament for Edmonton—Sherwood Park.

I had the solemn honour this year to represent this government at the March of the Living which takes place at the Auschwitz death camp. As a Canadian I was deeply moved by the suffering and the courage of the victims and the survivors. It is important every day to condemn the evil that gave birth to the Holocaust and to never forget. I thank the member and I congratulate him for his exceptional contribution.

National Holocaust Monument ActPrivate Members' Business

December 8th, 2009 / 6 p.m.
See context


Tim Uppal Conservative Edmonton—Sherwood Park, AB

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for his comments. He was one of the first people who seconded this bill and I appreciate that. The bill definitely transcends all party lines. We have spoken to most parties and I believe we will receive support from all parties. It is important that a bill like this, which is supported by so many Canadians, receives the support of all parliamentarians.

National Holocaust Monument ActPrivate Members' Business

December 8th, 2009 / 6 p.m.
See context


Irwin Cotler Liberal Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak in support of the member for Edmonton—Sherwood Park and in support of his private member's bill respecting the establishment of a national Holocaust monument in the national capital region. In remembrance of Holocaust victims, in recognition of survivors, in tribute to those who fought so that we may live and that our values may endure, and in order to ensure, as the preamble to the act puts it, our collective resolve never to forget, so that never again will not only be a matter of rhetoric but will be a matter of resolve and commitment to act.

I am now citing from the preamble: to ensure that the Holocaust continues to have a permanent place in our nation’s consciousness and memory; to forever remind Canadians of one of the darkest chapters in human history and of the dangers of state-sanctioned hatred and anti-Semitism; and to ensure that future generations learn about the root causes of the Holocaust and its consequences in order to help prevent future acts of genocide.

Such is how the preamble speaks and this frames my support. I must say that whenever I speak on the subject-matter related to the Holocaust, I do so with a certain degree of humility and not without a deep sense of pain, for I have neither the wisdom of the Holocaust scholar nor the horrifying experience of the Holocaust survivor.

But I am reminded of what my parents taught me while I was still a young man, the profundity and pain of which I only realized years later, that there are things in Jewish history, in human history, that are too terrible to be believed but are not too terrible to have happened.

Oswiecim, Majdanek, Dachau, Treblinka, these are beyond vocabulary. Words may ease the pain, but they also can dwarf the tragedy. For the Holocaust was uniquely evil in its genocidal singularity, where biology was inescapably destiny, a war against the Jews in which Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Laureate Elie Wiesel put it, “not all victims were Jews, but all Jews were victims”.

As it happens, we meet at an important moment of remembrance and reminder, of witness and warning appropriate that we should be, in fact, speaking to this issue now of establishing a national monument to the Holocaust. We meet on the eve of the 60th anniversary of the Nuremberg Principles, the double entendre of Nuremberg, the Nuremberg of hate, the Nuremberg of jackboots, as well as the Nuremberg of judgments.

On the eve of the 61st anniversary of the Genocide Convention, which we will be commemorating tomorrow, as it happens, sometimes spoken of as the “Never Again Convention”, but which has been violated again and again.

On the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the second world war, in fact, there were indeed two wars at the time. There was the Nazi war against the Allies and there was the Nazi war against the Jews, and where the Nazi war against the Jews sometimes overtook the Nazi war against the Allies.

We meet on the 70th anniversary of the doomed voyage of the St. Louis known as “the voyage of the damned” where those who sought to enter our country Canada and those who sought to enter the United States at the time were turned away, so that those seeking a safe haven were forced back into the inferno that was engulfing Europe.

This came a year after the Evian Conference when the nations of the world met to ask themselves what to do about the plight of the Jewish refugees at the time, of those living and wishing to leave. It ended up that the world was divided into two parts: those countries from which the Jews could not leave or indeed could not live in, and those that they could not enter which took us down the road to the Holocaust.

And so, on this anniversary of anniversaries, we should ask ourselves: What have we learned? What must we do? And why is this national Holocaust monument so important for that learning and for those lessons?

For reasons of time, I will share only two, and if time permits, three, lessons which the establishment of this Holocaust monument will serve.

Number one is the importance of Zachor, of the duty of remembrance itself. For as we remember six million Jews themselves defamed, demonized and dehumanized, as prologue or justification for the Holocaust, we have to understand that the mass murder of six million Jews and the mass murder of the millions of non-Jews is not a matter of statistics.

As we say on the occasion of the national Holocaust remembrance ceremony that this Parliament itself enacted as a bill for that purpose, as we say at that time and as we should say again today, unto each person, each person has a name. Each of the victims had an identity. Each one was a universe.

As our sages teach us, if we save a single person, it is as if we have saved an entire universe, but if we kill a single person, it is as if we have killed an entire universe. And so, the overriding imperative which should always govern us and which underpins this national Holocaust monument is that we are each, wherever we are, the guarantors of each other's destiny.

That brings me to the second lesson; that is, the dangers of state-sanctioned incitement to hate and to genocide, that the enduring lesson of the Holocaust and the genocides that followed, in Srebrenica, Rwanda and Darfur, occurred not simply because of the machinery of death but because of state-sanctioned cultures of hate.

It was this teaching of contempt, this demonizing of the other, where it all began.

As our Supreme Court of Canada put it in words echoed by the international criminal tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, “The Holocaust did not begin in the gas chambers--it began with words”. These, as the court put it, are the chilling facts of history. These, as the court put it, are the catastrophic effects of racism.

And tragically, we are witnessing yet again, in our own time, a state-sanctioned incitement to hate and genocide whose epicentre is Ahmadinejad's Iran. I say Ahmadinejad's Iran because I want to distinguish that from the people in Iran who are otherwise the targets of mass domestic repression.

Let there be no mistake about it. Iran has already committed the crime of incitement to genocide prohibited under the Genocide Convention. Iran is already in standing violation of international prohibitions against the production and development of nuclear weapons, along with prohibitions respecting crimes against humanity which are being committed regarding Iranian citizens as we meet.

And so, the second lesson, namely, the dangers of state-sanctioned incitement to hate takes us down the road to genocide, as we have seen.

In fact, may I make reference to the unspeakable genocide in Rwanda? I say “unspeakable” because nobody can say that we did not know. We knew, but we did not act. Just as nobody can say, with respect to Darfur, that we did not know. We knew and we did not act.

This brings me to the last lesson: the dangers of indifference and inaction in the face of such incitement and mass atrocity.

This monument will be a monument to remember, a monument to remind us. It will be an act of remembrance. It will be, also, a remembrance to act so that never to forget, which is underpinning this monument, will be translated into never again.

National Holocaust Monument ActPrivate Members' Business

December 8th, 2009 / 6:10 p.m.
See context


Carole Lavallée Bloc Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Bloc Québécois supports Bill C-442, An Act to establish a National Holocaust Monument.

The Holocaust was one of the worst crimes of the 20th century. The Bloc Québécois therefore supports the bill to commemorate both the survivors and the victims. We believe that we must commemorate the victims of the Holocaust, but we also believe that we must continue the fight against anti-Semitism and all other forms of hate speech and discrimination. We have done so in the past, and we intend to continue that fight.

Anti-Semitism and all other forms of hate speech are contrary to the values of Quebec and Canada. They must be denounced publicly, without hesitation.

The Bloc Québécois has always acted to secure social peace and a public space without hatred, discrimination or violence. That fight is crucial for any society that claims to be democratic.

The purpose of the bill is to create a national monument in Ottawa to honour the victims and Canadian survivors of the Holocaust. To that end, Bill C-442 creates the National Holocaust Monument Development Council, whose five members will be selected by the federal government from a list of volunteer candidates. Candidates will have to show that they have a strong interest in and familiarity with the Holocaust. The council members will not be entitled to any remuneration.

The Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, who is responsible for the National Capital Act, and the monument development council would supervise the monument's design and planning. They would also select an appropriate parcel of public land in Canada's national capital region, where the monument would be erected.

While the minister is tasked with designating the public land, the council would be responsible for a fundraising campaign to pay for the monument's construction. It must be completed within three years of Bill C-442 receiving royal assent.

When we think of the Holocaust, the first images that come to mind are images of horror. All of us have seen pictures of the concentration camps that shocked the entire world.

In the wake of the political and economic crisis that hit Germany after World War I, the National Socialist German Workers' Party singled out the Jews and blamed them for all Germany's troubles. They became scapegoats and the worst lies were fabricated about them.

It is estimated that about three quarters of Europe's Jews were massacred by the Nazis, representing approximately 40% of the world's Jewish diaspora. Six million Jews died under the Nazi regime.

This mass murder was implemented by the Hitler regime, as well as by a number of bureaucrats of the Third Reich and many collaborators, both individuals and states. In addition to Jews, the Nazis also massacred gypsies, homosexuals, disabled people and Slavs from Poland or Soviet countries.

After the war, faced with the horror of the crime that had been committed by Germany, governments the world over agreed to incorporate into international law the crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. These crimes have no equivalent in terms of their gravity.

The purpose of Bill C-442 is to establish a monument to serve as a reminder of this crime.

The Bloc Québécois is in favour of establishing a monument to commemorate the Holocaust. Such a monument would serve as a constant reminder of the violence inherent in intolerance.

In order to preserve a public space of freedom and democracy, we have to fight against intolerance here at home. We cannot remain silent before words or actions that are anti-Semitic, homophobic, sexist or racist and that aim at discriminating against fellow citizens.

We cannot help but be concerned when people are targeted and become victims of discrimination because of their religion, and more generally, their ethnicity, sex, sexual orientation or language.

Canada is not immune. According to Statistics Canada, Canada's police forces have indicated that 785 crimes in 2007 were hate crimes. That was a decline over 2006 when 892 such offences were reported. Of those crimes committed in 2007, 185 were religious hate crimes. Again, that was a decline over the 220 cases reported in 2006.

This data shows a slight decrease in the number of hate crimes, which is good news. Nonetheless, the fact remains that such acts still take place, even though they are unacceptable in democratic societies like Quebec and Canada.

One religious hate crime is one too many. There must be zero tolerance. We must work on putting an end to such crimes. We cannot remain silent, on the sidelines or attempt to downplay the situation.

We must oppose anti-Semitism and racism. Anti-Semitism stems from profound ignorance. Thus, education is the most effective way to oppose it.

We believe that we must raise awareness and foster dialogue to build a Quebec that is even more inclusive and respectful of all its citizens. Priority must be given to education and prevention in order to eradicate beliefs and activities based on hatred.

Funds from anti-racism programs must be first allocated to groups that are victims of racism and hate crimes. All too often, acts of hatred target children in schools. These children very regrettably learn about violence or hatred motivated by race or religion.

In an effort to effectively combat anti-Semitism and all other forms of racism, the Bloc Québécois member for Châteauguay—Saint-Constant presented a concrete proposal in April 2008: she introduced Bill C-384, which was passed at second reading. This bill amended the Criminal Code and created a new offence to prohibit hate-motivated acts of mischief that target specific identifiable groups at institutions such as schools, daycare centres, colleges, universities, community centres, playgrounds, skating rinks and sports centres or any administrative, social, cultural, educational or sports establishment used exclusively or mainly by such groups.

The creation of this offence sends a clear message and reaffirms that society does not tolerate acts of violence against places attended or used by identifiable groups.

This bill—now law—sends the message that violence motivated by hate of a group or community is not tolerated. The specific offence allows us to denounce not only the material damage to a building, for example, but also, and above all, the fact that hatred of an identifiable group, which is the cause of the act, is morally wrong.

Such crimes fly in the face of the values of Quebeckers and the society we wish to create for ourselves. These crimes only increase tensions between members of our society. That is why we must do everything we can, still in line with our own values, in order to prevent such acts from ever happening again.

The bill introduced by my colleague, the hon. member for Châteauguay—Saint-Constant, is already receiving support from minority groups in Quebec and Canada. For instance, the Canadian Jewish Congress sees this bill as an appropriate response to the concerns of the Jewish community.

The Bloc Québécois recognizes the importance of the fight against discrimination and hate crimes. Such acts go completely against the core values that drive Quebec and our party, which always represents the interests of Quebeckers here in the House.

The Bloc Québécois has always opposed anti-Semitism and all other hate crimes, which fly in the face of the values of the Quebec nation.

What kind of shared values are we talking about? It is becoming increasingly necessary to remind people of the shared values on which the Quebec identity is based. The most important values, those that form the foundation of our nation, would, we think, include the following: gender equality—and it is no accident that that is at the top of the list; French as the official language and common public language; democracy; basic human rights; secularism; pluralism; and so on.

In closing, all citizens of Quebec have the same rights. Quebec citizenship is inclusive and unifying. It transcends differences by promoting a collective identity that focuses on civic identity.

In that regard, the monument in question, to be built outside of Quebec, in no way contradicts the values of Quebeckers, and the Bloc Québécois will be pleased to vote in favour of this bill.

National Holocaust Monument ActPrivate Members' Business

December 8th, 2009 / 6:20 p.m.
See context


Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to participate in the debate on Bill C-442, sponsored by the member for Edmonton—Sherwood Park. I am honoured because this is a significant presentation to the House and one that ought to be adopted unanimously. In fact, I wish our procedures would allow us to seek the unanimous consent of the House to pass the bill at all stages and ensure that it becomes law immediately. I know it has to go through a process, and I understand there are some technical amendments that have to be made, but the essence of the bill is something very basic, something very fundamental around which there can be no disagreement, and that is the establishment of a national Holocaust memorial.

It is interesting that it was about six years ago this month that the House came together with all parties agreeing to a bill to establish a national Holocaust memorial day. With that bill and this bill today, the best has been brought out in people in this place. We have come together across party lines and we have done something important.

Today is a historic moment when together we resolve to deal with the fact that we are the only country among the allies from World War II that has not yet established a national Holocaust memorial in its capital.

We have heard about the range of memorials that exist around the world. I found it fascinating that there are many that form the basis for the establishment of such a memorial here in Ottawa. Just to name a few, there is the Ani Ma'amin Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem, the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, Netherlands, the Auschwitz Jewish Center in Poland, the Austrian Holocaust Memorial Service and the Beth Shalom Holocaust Centre in England, the Holocaust Memorial Center in Budapest, the Cape Town Holocaust Centre, Centre de la mémoire d'Oradour in France, the Dallas Holocaust Museum and Center for Education and Tolerance, the Forests of the Martyrs in Jerusalem, the Ghetto Fighters' House in Israel, the Holocaust History Project in Detroit. The list goes on and on. I have named but a few of the memorials that exist in other parts of the world.

It is truly amazing that we do not have such a Holocaust memorial right here in Canada's capital city. Tonight with this bill we are actually making a significant attempt at redressing an oversight. I hope that we can accomplish this quickly.

The purpose of the memorial is no different from the bill establishing the national memorial Holocaust remembrance day. It is two-fold.

The first purpose is to remember the horrors of the past, the six million Jews who were killed, who were slaughtered, who were sent to the gas chambers by Hitler in Nazi Germany in World War II. It is a chapter in our history that must never be forgotten. It is in the establishment of a memorial that we have another way of remembering that sorry chapter in the history of our society. It is another way of ensuring that we never forget that horror that should never, ever be repeated. That is the fundamental reason for such a memorial.

The second purpose is to remind ourselves that apart from the Holocaust, the motivating factors behind the Holocaust, the hatred of Jewish people, the anti-Semitism, the discrimination, the vile nature of attitudes toward people of Jewish faith is repeated today, every day, in incidents that are increasing from accounts by many in our society. They must be part of our discussions today.

I am very pleased that I am part of a parliamentary coalition to combat anti-Semitism. That is an organization of all-party members in this House determined to come together to try to grasp the nature of anti-Semitism and to understand how we can stop the spread of it, and how we can actually ensure that people live in our society with a sense of freedom and security and identity without discrimination, without living under any kind of hatred or discriminatory attitudes.

It is an important initiative in Parliament, but it is one that is certainly in question today because of the fact that so much controversy has happened around mailings from Conservative members slandering Liberal members, accusing them in the most inappropriate way of anti-Semitism.

That has put a cloud over these hearings and in fact has given us all cause for concern. We are hoping that this sorry chapter here in Parliament can be resolved, that the cloud can be lifted and in fact that public apologies can be made.

I want to ensure that we continue with those hearings because we need to be able to say to Canadians that anti-Semitism in any shape or form is wrong. That does not mean, as we have said in our committee over and over again, that criticism of the State of Israel is anti-Semitic in any shape or form, or that constraints can be put on that debate.

However, we have to be sure at all times that we are in fact not giving audience to people allowing them to take this debate and to make broad or sweeping statements about a people suggesting in any way, shape or form that the Jewish people of this country or around the world do not have a right to their homeland, that being the State of Israel.

This is a difficult topic and a major issue before us today. I think the bill before us actually helps us to remember what we are here for and why it is important to stand up and say, “We will not tolerate any form of anti-Semitism, or hatred or discrimination against anyone because of their sex, or race, or faith.

I know that time is limited, but I want to say that it is imperative that all of us in the House go back to our respective communities and speak about the need to stop anti-Semitism and hatred of any shape or form.

I want to reference the work that is happening in Winnipeg, in particular the work by the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg. It is a force, a committee, an organization that is vigilant on a daily basis to ensure there is awareness that the very purpose, the very reason, for the solidarity of our community in Winnipeg is not being threatened by signs of anti-Semitism and a regular occurrence of incidents of hatred that have to be stopped.

In fact, in a recent brief to one of our committee hearings on anti-Semitism, the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg clearly documented a number of incidents that are hateful and growing and must be stopped.

I will conclude by citing the words of the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg to describe their concerns and why this bill is so important and why it is important we are vigilant every step of the way. The federation states:

Winnipeg Jewry over the past 40 years or more, has generally enjoyed both the physical and psychological security that comes from a sense of belonging to a free and democratic society.

That is the basis for pursuing all signs of hatred, for standing up in support today for the Holocaust memorial, because we want to ensure that people of Jewish faith, of Jewish background and Jewish identity are always able to feel that sense of belonging and to be part of a free and democratic society.

National Holocaust Monument ActPrivate Members' Business

December 8th, 2009 / 6:30 p.m.
See context


Tim Uppal Conservative Edmonton—Sherwood Park, AB

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order.

I think if you were to seek it you would find unanimous consent for the following motion.

I move:

That the motion for second reading of Bill C-442, An Act to establish a National Holocaust Monument, be amended by replacing the words “Canadian Heritage” with the following:

“Transport, Infrastructure and Communities”.

National Holocaust Monument ActPrivate Members' Business

December 8th, 2009 / 6:30 p.m.
See context


The Acting Speaker Conservative Barry Devolin

Does the hon. member have unanimous consent of the House to move this amendment?

National Holocaust Monument ActPrivate Members' Business

December 8th, 2009 / 6:30 p.m.
See context

Some hon. members


National Holocaust Monument ActPrivate Members' Business

December 8th, 2009 / 6:30 p.m.
See context


The Acting Speaker Conservative Barry Devolin

(Amendment agreed to)

National Holocaust Monument ActPrivate Members' Business

December 8th, 2009 / 6:30 p.m.
See context

Fort McMurray—Athabasca Alberta


Brian Jean ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I am very happy to be here today to speak in support of Bill C-442. In fact, I would like to thank the member for Edmonton—Sherwood Park and the Minister of State of Foreign Affairs for the Americas, as well as many persons in the House and outside of it, for their hard work on this bill.

As my colleague, the member for Edmonton—Sherwood Park, has stated, this bill proposes the creation of a national Holocaust memorial in Canada's national capital region. It is long overdue.

Our government appreciates the importance of remembering and understanding all events throughout history, even those that are inconsistent with the values of Canadians. Given the magnitude of the atrocities that occurred during the Holocaust in the extermination of millions of Jewish people, it is crucial that we pay tribute to the victims of this crime and to their families.

Last summer, with my mother and a good friend of mine, I visited a student rabbi. For some 30 years he has been a friend of my family. I visited his synagogue on Long Island and I learned a lot about the Jewish people who call Israel their home. It was quite impressive.

I must also acknowledge that a number of associations and centres across Canada are dedicated to remembering the Holocaust. I certainly would be remiss if I did not also mention the recently established Canadian Museum for Human Rights, which will allow people to learn about the values of democracy, freedom, human rights and the rule of law, and indeed to remember such atrocities. Democracy, freedom, human rights and the rule of law are the things we stand up for in Canada and the things we try to spread around the world.

I am very proud to say that I believe this particular museum was made possible in no small part by today's Prime Minister. Our government is very excited that this new museum broke ground in December 2008. While there are official plaques and monuments in Manitoba, Alberta and Ontario, it is indeed unfortunate, as the member suggested, that a federal memorial commemorating this very bleak period in our world's history of humankind does not exist in Canada's capital.

For these reasons, our government fully supports the intent of Bill C-442, and I am very confident that all members in the House would also agree that the ultimate objective of Bill C-442 is definitely justified and long overdue.

While I am sure all parties in both Houses of Parliament will certainly be in favour of this bill, I hope that the bill will also receive royal assent and that the national capital region will be graced with a national Holocaust monument in its midst. I am hopeful of that, as I think all members in the House are, but before arriving at that final stage, other events would have to transpire.

Of course, the minister would be expected to actively seek the interest of Canadians who would be willing to contribute their time and energy to this undertaking, but I am certain that a host of individuals would be interested in pursuing this endeavour and would together have a very positive impact on the realization of a national Holocaust monument and the content of it. I am looking forward to it, as I think most Canadians are.

Regarding the exact placement of the monument, the National Capital Commission has already established an inventory of potential sites. In accordance with its mandate and policies, the commission would identify appropriate sites from this inventory in consultation with the council. The commission would also approve the final design of the monument, with the construction phase commencing shortly thereafter.

Bill C-442 proposes to create a new council that would be responsible for spearheading a fundraising campaign for a Holocaust monument that would be established in this region. We suggest that it would not take very long to do so, because this is remembered by Canadians, and it is very important indeed to remember it.

With the pooling of the talents and resources of various stakeholder groups and committed individuals, the establishment of a national Holocaust monument in our national capital is feasible. I look forward to visiting it in a few short years, as I think many Canadians do.

Along with the many supportive actions by this government, our entire cabinet and our Prime Minister, my colleague from Edmonton—Sherwood Park has outlined many good reasons for this bill to proceed.

Indeed, I urge all members of this House to vote in favour of this important and necessary bill, just as I urge all members of the other place to do the same. Hopefully we will receive royal assent in due course thereafter.

This memorial will serve to forever remind Canadians and all visitors to this great country and this capital of one of the darkest periods and unimaginable genocides in recent history, so we do not forget and it never happens again.