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.

Sponsor

Tim Uppal  Conservative

Introduced as a private member’s bill.

Status

This bill has received Royal Assent and is now law.

Summary

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.

Elsewhere

All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

National Holocaust Monument ActPrivate Members' Business

December 8th, 2010 / 5:45 p.m.
See context

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDP Outremont, QC

Madam Speaker, it is an honour for me to speak about Bill C-442, An Act to establish a National Holocaust Monument.

The idea proposed by our Conservative Party colleague is timely. With anti-Semitic incidents tragically on the rise around the world, I believe that it is necessary to understand the reality of the worst example in world history of where religious hatred can lead. Canada already has the Holocaust Memorial Centre in Montreal and the Holocaust Education Centre in Vancouver. This bill proposes that a Holocaust monument be built in the nation's capital. I believe this to be the best way to mark the significance of this event in human history.

Anne Frank's house is in Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands. There is a commemorative centre in Budapest, Hungary. There is a Holocaust centre in Cape Town, the capital of South Africa. There is a historical institute that focuses on the Holocaust in London and a memorial in Hyde Park. Vienna, Austria, has the Judenplatz Memorial. Paris has the Mémorial des martyrs de la déportation. There are commemorative monuments in Berlin, Stockholm, Washington and Buenos Aires too. In short, many countries have recognized the importance of commemorating, of recognizing this major event in world history that influenced them. This is a way of recognizing that the Holocaust was the greatest tragedy inflicted on a group of people in human history.

Bill C-442's whereases are simple and eloquent, especially the first one, which states that, “there is no public monument to honour all of the victims and Canadian survivors of the Holocaust in the National Capital Region”. I just mentioned that there is a monument in Vancouver and another in Montreal, but none here in the capital.

This is also a way to recognize the survivors—there are still some in Canada—their children and, most importantly and most relevant today, their grandchildren and great-grandchildren and to show how important we feel this is. The children and grandchildren of anyone who was in the same situation as Anne Frank will know that Canada recognizes the importance of this event.

The whereases sketch a brief history of the Holocaust and its importance to our society. The bill proposes building a monument to commemorate that. The proposed approach is relatively simple. It calls for the creation of a volunteer committee; nobody would be paid. It also calls for the monument to be built within three years. A committee would be responsible for deciding how to build the monument and what it should look like. The space would be provided by the federal government and the monument paid for by public donations.

There are other countries that, like us, in certain other cities, have their own way of acknowledging the horrors of the Holocaust. In Germany, near Munich, we can still see and touch the reality of the Holocaust by visiting Dachau, one of the concentration camps in the interior of the country. There are a number of other camps in Poland. In France, there is the Oradour-sur-Glane memorial. People who know history know that, in terms of barbaric treatment, the Holocaust was one of the worst examples of everything that happened during World War II.

The very act of planning this monument, building it, having it in our capital makes it significant. The idea is so simple that we have to ask why no one thought of it before? It is never too late to do something good.

Bill C-442 simply proposes a good thing and we support it.

National Holocaust Monument ActPrivate Members' Business

December 8th, 2010 / 5:50 p.m.
See context

Fort McMurray—Athabasca Alberta

Conservative

Brian Jean ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Madam Speaker, I am pleased and honoured today to address Bill C-442, An Act to establish a National Holocaust Monument. I do appreciate the opportunity to be here and I appreciate the mover. We have been working on this bill for some time.

The government sought to provide greater transparency and accountability in the establishment of the national holocaust monument by proposing a number of amendments at committee stage. The amendments proposed were also intended to ensure consistency in the roles, responsibilities and policies of the minister responsible for the National Capital Commission, NCC, and the commission itself. I would consider these very important principles, indeed, for any piece of legislation.

For example, in this particular case, the government presented a motion that would have provided for the minister to direct the council to form a legal entity, which seems to be very obvious on the face of it. This proposed amendment is consistent with the requirement contained in Bill C-442 for the council to adopt bylaws, which of course are a corporate function, which itself suggests the value of a legal framework.

The intent of this provision was to ensure that the council is properly structured to strengthen its corporate governance and accountability, which of course is the hallmark and pillar-stone of this Conservative government.

The government also presented a motion providing that the council would oversee the establishment of the monument in consultation with the National Capital Commission with regard to where this particular monument was going to be placed.

While this motion is not reflected in the present version of the bill, the government anticipates that the commission will be involved in fulfilling the objective of this bill. The NCC, of course, is a federal crown corporation that facilitates and assists in the design and placement of commemorations on federal lands in the national capital region, of which there are many.

The responsibility actually flows from the National Capital Act, which obligates the NCC, the National Capital Commission, to approve all development projects on federal lands in the region.

While the NCC acts as a facilitator in the realization of monuments, proponents are responsible for raising funds that cover not only the cost of the design itself but the construction and installation, and also the ongoing maintenance and preservation of the monument for future generations.

Over the years the commission has overseen the installation of a number of monuments in the national capital region, as I mentioned, with strong participation by individuals and associations that have supported these initiatives in the past, as well as this particular initiative. We have no doubt there will be many.

As amended by the standing committee and further modified to reflect the Speaker's ruling, Bill C-442 proposes that the minister responsible for the National Capital Act would oversee the planning and the design of the monument in co-operation with a newly created council. The minister would be responsible for the construction of the monument in the national capital region and, of course, for the ongoing maintenance of the monument.

Further, the national holocaust monument development council would be created through Bill C-442. The council would spearhead a fundraising campaign for the cost of constructing the monument.

I must acknowledge that councils with dedicated mandates are not usually created in federal statutes; however, there is nothing objectionable to the government or, for that matter, common law to this proposal in principle.

Although not specified in the present version of this bill, the government would expect that the funds raised by the council would sufficiently cover not only the construction costs of the monument itself but also the costs of planning, design, installation and maintenance of the monument.

With the level of interest displayed by various organizations and individuals in Canada, I am confident that this initiative will generate adequate financial resources, in fact, I would suggest more than adequate financial resources, that can be applied in all aspects of the realization of the monument and its long-term preservation, which is so important to future generations of Canadians.

The bill also requires the council to submit an annual report on its activities to the minister and to the appropriate committee of the House. This provision will help to ensure that Canadians are informed of the measures taken in realization of this monument, which would be their expectation.

The bill further provides that once the monument has been installed, it must be legally transferred to the NCC. With this clause, Canadians will be certainly afforded a permanent public symbol that honours the victims and the survivors of the Holocaust.

I would like to once again underscore the importance of the bill to the government and to the people of Canada, and I have heard clearly this message. The Holocaust resulted in the unimaginable genocide of approximately six million European Jews. This was just during the second world war. Given the magnitude of these atrocities, it is absolutely crucial that we pay tribute to this crime, its victims and their families, no matter where they are.

This historic initiative is indeed one which the government holds in high esteem as we remember and remind ourselves that such atrocities should never happen again and that we should never forget.

National Holocaust Monument ActPrivate Members' Business

December 8th, 2010 / 5:55 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Anita Neville Liberal 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;

As I said at the outset, this is not a new bill. In fact, during the last hour of debate on Bill C-442, the member for Abbotsford said:

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 ActPrivate Members' Business

December 8th, 2010 / 6:05 p.m.
See context

NDP

Dennis Bevington NDP Western Arctic, NT

Madam Speaker, it is my pleasure to have an opportunity to speak to Bill C-442, An Act to establish a National Holocaust Monument. I think all parties in the House were very interested to see this bill move forward, in different ways of course. Through the debate that took place in committee, we have now come up with the final version of this bill.

This bill is very important because it speaks to the need for a public monument to honour the victims and survivors of the immense tragedy of the Holocaust that came out of the second world war. It speaks to the conclusion of the second world war; to the role Canada played in the victory over the Axis to ensure that the Holocaust came to an end and that it would not occur again in that area of the world; to the tremendous blotch on human history; and to those very unfortunate people who, with their whole race, did not in any way deserve this.

We now have a bill that will put forward a monument, but one might ask why we had some degree of debate in committee about it.

I think the government recognized the importance of this, but as with recognizing the importance, there is also the understanding that responsibility goes with setting up a monument. I felt that the government worked very hard to take away the public responsibility to create the monument. However, certainly within committee, we worked very hard to keep the Government of Canada's role in developing, designing and commissioning this monument as an important role. We can see this in the bill as it stands now, “The minister, in cooperation with the Council”, which he will establish, “shall oversee the planning and designing of the Monument...”.

The minister will ultimately be responsible for the design and planning of the monument. The minister will work with a council that he will select from very worthy citizens, I am sure, who will come forward to serve on this council.

The minister, in the end, will be responsible for ensuring that the design and planning of this monument are appropriate for Canada and for the victims and survivors of the Holocaust. That is something that still remains in the bill, but it was something that was the subject of much debate in committee.

I think the bill stands well as it is and will give a monument over time that the public can take pride in. It will be Canada's monument to the Holocaust and to the survivors. I think that is a very important distinction that we have to keep within this bill.

The terms of the bill are such now that I am very confident that the council that will be constructed to do the fundraising will be successful so that the bill will move forward. The minister can ensure that as well. He has the capacity to increase the funding to make sure this project moves ahead in good fashion. Also, the minister is ultimately responsible to ensure that sufficient funds are available through the council before the monument is commissioned.

Therefore the responsibility will lie with the minister to make this happen. I think that is something that is a very important difference from what the government wanted to do with its amendments. The end result of this is very much in speaking to the principles that the originator of the bill put forward.

I want to thank that member for his work in doing that. His presentation at committee was excellent and was part of how the committee came to grips with making this happen.

My father was a veteran of the second world war. He was in the European theatre for five years, engaged in supporting the bomber groups that ultimately were the ones that pounded the aggressor into the ground, we might say. The burden of doing that, which the Canadian army and air force had to take on to end the terrible conflict in Europe, is a burden that all those people carried throughout the rest of their lives.

I think of the construction of this holocaust monument and the importance it has to the Canadian public and to all those brave Canadians who took on that burden, and with that burden perhaps to many of them came the knowledge that out of this they wanted peace, they wanted a settlement of war, they wanted to stop that kind of conflict and to put an end to that kind of human behaviour in this world.

To me, this is a very appropriate time to construct a monument to this immense tragedy of humankind and to cast a light on the hope that can come from the end of this type of conflict, the hope that can come for all mankind.

National Holocaust Monument ActPrivate Members' Business

December 8th, 2010 / 6:10 p.m.
See context

NDP

Jim Maloway NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Madam Speaker, I am very pleased to speak today to Bill C-442. I am very happy with the resolution of the bill thus far, although there have been some hiccups along the way. The last time I heard debate in this House on this particular bill, it was quite acrimonious, as I recall, but things seem to have calmed down.

At the outset, I want to give thanks to the Conservative MP for Edmonton—Sherwood Park. He is the sponsor of the bill and, having done this before, I know there is an awful lot of work involved in getting a bill like this together. I recognize that the original impetus for this started elsewhere, but he carried the ball and took it this far, through what we saw during the last go-round here. It is surprising that we are all still standing after the battles involving this bill.

In the beginning, we have Ms. Laura Grossman from Toronto, I believe, but who is a student here in Ottawa. She is actually the originator of the idea. She evidently went to her member of Parliament, who was in the cabinet of the government two or three years ago, and got him onside, and then of course he got the member for Edmonton—Sherwood Park onside, because he was unable to introduce private members' bills.

There is a great amount of thanks and gratitude owed to Ms. Grossman, because she is a younger person and is going to carry on the fights long after we are gone. She is a full-time student at the University of Ottawa, a fourth year honours student in public administration with a minor in Jewish studies, and she has been working on this idea now for at least two years, maybe three years now. Congratulations to her for at least recognizing something that no one else did. This memorial probably should have been built many years ago, and it took a young person to recognize the need, to think it through and to push the idea through her member of Parliament and on to another member of Parliament. We should all wish that more young people would be inspired to take on projects like that and drive ideas like that forward.

It has been mentioned by others here that Canada is the only allied nation without a Holocaust monument in its national capital, which also came as a bit of a surprise to me. The former member for Winnipeg North, in her speech to this bill on December 8, 2009, which goes to show how long we have been debating this bill, gave us a list of other memorials that exist around the world. She had indicated that there is a Holocaust museum in Jerusalem. There is the Anne Frank house in Amsterdam. I think we have all heard of Anne Frank. We certainly studied Anne Frank when we were in public school. There is the Auschwitz Jewish Centre in Poland, the Austrian Holocaust Memorial Service, the Beth Shalom Holocaust centre in England, the Holocaust Memorial Center in Budapest, the Cape Town Holocaust Centre in South Africa, the Dallas Holocaust Museum and Center for Education and Tolerance, the Forest of the Martyrs in Jerusalem, the Ghetto Fighters' House museum in Israel and the Holocaust project in Detroit. There are many other monuments to the Holocaust.

This is not a lengthy bill but there are some interesting provisions, and I think there was some confusion out there about the provisions of the bill. I had the privilege and pleasure of travelling to Israel. I am due for another visit, because it was in December of 1986, 24 years ago now. It was a very inspiring visit that I made there. I was there only a week.

I was amazed to see the progress made by Israel in turning deserts into productive lands and cultivating crops in the middle of the desert.

We had the privilege of visiting a kibbutz. We went to the Ein Gedi Spa, where I had my first sulphur and mud baths. I would recommend those to anybody who goes to Israel. Visiting Israel was a very inspiring experience, albeit 24 years ago.

With respect to the provisions Bill C-442, we are dealing now with the amended version. The bill is an act to establish a national holocaust monument. The preamble reads:

Whereas there is no public monument to honour all of the victims and Canadian survivors of the Holocaust in the National Capital Region;

Whereas Hitler’s plan to exterminate the Jews of Europe led to the murder of six million men, women and children;

Whereas the Nazis sought to eliminate vulnerable groups such as disabled persons, the Roma and homosexuals in their bid to establish the hegemony of the Aryan race;

Whereas it is important to ensure that the Holocaust continues to have a permanent place in our nation’s consciousness and memory;

Whereas we have an obligation to honour the memory of Holocaust victims as part of our collective resolve to never forget;

I might remind members that the number of victims is diminishing every year as they age. It continues:

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;

The bill then goes on to describe how the monument would be structured and how it would be set up. What was contemplated by the member who sponsored the bill was that we were to set up a development council established by the minister under clause 4 and directed as such by the minister to form a legal entity in order to properly manage the functions and ensure good governance and accountability of said council.

The idea is to involve people in the community, not only in the organization by forming the committee, but also to do fundraising, as I understand it, to help build the monument. Within one year after the coming into force of the act, the minister is to establish a council to be referred to as the national Holocaust monument development council, composed of not more than five members. The minister is to hold an open application process whereby members of the public who possess a strong interest in, connection to or familiarity with the Holocaust must apply to the minister to become a council member.

In reading these provisions, all of this sounds very reasonable. How could anybody have any fight with these provisions? Yet we have seen that happen.

The members of the council are not allowed to be paid any remuneration for acting as council members. The minister is also supposed to:

(a) oversee the planning and design of the Monument;

(b) choose a suitable area of public land in the National Capital Region for the Monument to be located; and

(c) hold public consultations and take into account the recommendations of the public when making any decision under paragraph (a) or (b).

That, too, is an absolutely reasonable requirement.

The minister shall be responsible for the construction and maintenance of the monument and the council shall spearhead a fundraising campaign to support the costs, planning, designing, constructing, installing and maintaining the monument and any other costs incurred by the council.

I have a question about that. There seems to be a conflict here because it said that the council should be spearheading the fundraising campaign, but then, further on, it indicates that the minister has the option. There is nothing to prevent the minister from contributing funds for the costs of exactly the same things, planning—

National Holocaust Monument ActPrivate Members' Business

December 8th, 2010 / 6:20 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Tim Uppal Conservative Edmonton—Sherwood Park, AB

Madam Speaker, I thank hon. members from all parties for their support for the bill and for underlying the importance and need for a Holocaust monument in the nation's capital. I specifically thank the member for Fort McMurray—Athabasca for his work in the transportation committee. I also thank the Minister of State of Foreign Affairs for his guidance and his support on the bill. As I mentioned before, he brought the idea to me.

I also thank Laura Grosman for her work and dedication to the bill. She has been working on the bill for a long time with some different formations from different members. When she and the Minister of State of Foreign Affairs came to me, we sat down and discussed the bill and truly appealed to me. I felt that it was something the nation's capital needed. I again thank Laura for her dedication to the bill. I also thank a number of organizations that came forward to give their guidance and support, the Canadian Jewish Congress, B'nai Brith and a number of other organizations that supported us in getting the bill to this point.

This public monument would honour all victims of the Holocaust and the Canadian survivors, survivors like Anna Heilman who I had the opportunity to sit down and speak to about the proposed monument and the importance that she placed on this and how important it would be for us to pass the bill and have such a monument in the nation's capital.

It would honour the Canadian soldiers who fought and paid the ultimate sacrifice because of the atrocities that were taking place.

When I went to Israel last year, I learned more about the Holocaust and the effect that it had on the Jewish people and on all those who were affected, and it made me feel stronger about this initiative and the importance of Parliament passing a bill for a monument in the nation's capital.

This monument would be a testament to the Canadian commitment and resolve to never forget and to always stand up for justice, human rights and equality for all.

Once again, I thank all the members who have spoken to the bill and who have supported it. I would be grateful and hope that we can pass the bill tonight.

National Holocaust Monument ActPrivate Members' Business

October 27th, 2010 / 6:45 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Tim Uppal Conservative Edmonton—Sherwood Park, AB

moved that the bill be read the third time and passed.

Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak this evening to Bill C-442, An Act to establish a National Holocaust Monument.

The horrific events of the Holocaust are a stark testament to what can happen when humanity and fundamental basic rights are discarded. This monument will serve as a symbol of Canadian value and diversity as much as it will be a memorial for the millions of victims and families destroyed. This monument will be a testament to the Canadian commitment and resolve never to forget, and always to stand up against such atrocities.

In addition to supporting the establishment of a national Holocaust monument in the nation's capital as proposed in Bill C-442, the government also undertakes other efforts to ensure that Canadians remember the Holocaust. These initiatives are very important, especially in light of new forces of anti-Semitism.

The Holocaust, also known as the Shoah in Hebrew, resulted in the genocide of approximately six million European Jews during the second world war. With 40,000 Holocaust survivors settling in Canada after the war, our country has the third-largest population of these survivors in the world.

Our country's Prime Minister, when he visited the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz in the spring of 2008, commented that, on the one hand, he was deeply moved by the suffering of the innocents who died, but that, on the other hand, he felt hope from the spirit and strength of the Jewish people.

Worldwide, there has been an increase in the number of major violent manifestations that are anti-Semitic in nature. This increase is linked to Holocaust denial and questioning the legitimacy of Israel. Similar events are being reported here in Canada, and there currently appears to be less understanding of other cultures and religions.

The government does not tolerate public expressions of anti-Semitism. In support of this sentiment, we have created a fund that provides security-support grants for synagogues, Jewish schools, and other communities that have faced hatred or violence.

I would like to explain some of the actions that our federal government has recently taken to remember the Holocaust and thereby to underscore the importance of protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Holocaust Memorial Day, which is also called Yom HaShoah, is determined each year by the Jewish lunar calendar. The Parliament of Canada has formally recognized this annual event through the Holocaust Memorial Day Act, which was adopted with the support of all parties. This Act, which came into force on November 7, 2003, reaffirms our country's commitment to human rights and provides an occasion to focus on the lessons of the Holocaust. I should mention that all provinces and territories also have acts that recognize the Holocaust Memorial Day.

In 2005, Canada co-sponsored a resolution at the United Nations General Assembly, which led to the designation of January 27 as the International Day of Commemoration to honour the victims of the Holocaust. This date is the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp in 1945. Shortly, we will join in the sixth annual international commemoration of the Holocaust.

In 2009, the Government of Canada became the 27th member of the Task Force for International Cooperation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research. This organization was established in 1998 and is mandated to promote national and international policies and programs in support of furthering understanding of the Holocaust.

One of the requirements for becoming a member of this task force is to complete a project with liaison partners. To fulfill this requirement, Canada co-hosted a conference with B'nai Brith Canada that was held in Toronto this past June. With 200 attendees, including representatives from other countries, this two-day conference focused on Canada's restrictive immigration policy during the second world war, which led to the exclusion of refugees seeking sanctuary.

In February 2009, the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, along with 11 other members of the Parliament of Canada, attended the inaugural conference of the Inter-parliamentary Coalition for Combating Anti-Semitism in London, United Kingdom. This conference was also attended by parliamentarians from 40 countries.

Following this event was the London Declaration on Combating Anti-Semitism, which calls on governments and societies to affirm democratic and human values, promote respect and citizenship, and combat any manifestations of anti-Semitism and discrimination.

The Government of Canada is proud to have provided financial support to the Parliamentary Centre, which, along with the Inter-parliamentary Commission on Combating Anti-Semitism, will be hosting the follow-up conference here in Canada, November 7-9 this year.

In the summer of 2009, Canada was a signatory to the Terezin Declaration, which emerged from the Prague Holocaust Era Assets Conference held in the Czech Republic. This declaration speaks to the need to take care of elderly Holocaust survivors to ensure that their last years are filled with dignity, and imposes a moral obligation to pursue the restitution of property and to attend to the needs of survivors.

The Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism was commended for his leadership efforts, and the Government of Canada was recognized for its commitment to Holocaust commemoration and education. As follow-up to this conference, Canada was among the 43 countries that signed the new restitution guidelines in June 2010 to deal with some outstanding issues related to property confiscated by the Nazis.

The Department of Citizenship and Immigration has also been taking concrete steps that further the recollection of the Holocaust on our own soil. In May 2009, the minister established a Jewish-Canadian advisory committee for historical recognition projects to review projects such as monuments, plaques, and exhibits for the Jewish-Canadian community. That same month, Citizenship and Immigration announced that it would contribute a total of $2.5 million to the Jewish-Canadian community for projects such as monuments, commemorative plaques, and education materials.

To date, of this total amount, $1 million has been contributed to assist in the operation of the National Task Force on Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Education, which brings together Canadian experts on the subject to learn from each other and improve co-ordination.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada has also contributed $485,000 to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the MS St. Louis incident. This will include a memorial, which will be installed at Pier 21 in the Halifax harbour. Renowned architect Daniel Libeskind has been selected by the Canadian Jewish Congress to design the monument. When describing his proposed design, Libeskind stated, “This work of memory will express the importance of eradicating the evils of hatred, racism, xenophobia and anti-Semitism”.

I should pause at this moment to recount the relatively unknown story of the ship known as the MS St. Louis. On the eve of World War II, this German ocean liner transported 900 Jewish passengers from Germany who were denied entry into Cuba, the U.S.A., and Canada. These individuals were eventually accepted by various European countries and subsequently over 250 lost their lives.

The Canadian Museum of Human Rights will also promote the remembrance of the Holocaust. The museum will include exhibits on the Holocaust, since it serves as an invaluable tool to teach people the extreme consequences of racism and the responsibility of everyone to promote societies based on respect, equality, and understanding.

I would like to turn my attention to Bill C-442. This bill is favoured by various stakeholder associations such as the Canadian Jewish Congress, B'nai Brith Canada, and others. Therefore, I would expect these associations to be extremely interested in participating in the work carried out to achieve the objective of this bill, possibly by providing advice to the national Holocaust monument development council proposed in the bill.

If Bill C-442 were to become law, which I certainly hope will occur, Canada would be one of several countries, including Austria, France, Germany, Sweden, and the United States, that have memorials or monuments to recognize the Holocaust.

It is also important to recognize the support of all parties for this bill. We as members of Parliament, through our support for a national holocaust monument, are taking a stand against hatred of the worst kind and saying to future generations, never again.

National Holocaust Monument ActPrivate Members' Business

October 27th, 2010 / 6:55 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Joe Volpe Liberal Eglinton—Lawrence, ON

Mr. Speaker, this is a very serious subject and I am glad the member finally turned his attention to Bill C-442. He spent the first part of his 15 minutes talking about initiatives of the country and of the government associated with the Jewish community. I might remind him that it is not the intention of the legislation for him to glory in rewriting history about Liberal initiatives with which he had the opportunity to cut a ribbon to commemorate.

I want to ask him how he feels today, seeing Bill C-442 restored by a decision of the Speaker and by an appeal on a point of order by myself. Did he support the bill in its original form or did he listen to the Prime Minister tell him to change it because he would not put any public moneys, nor public lands to the erection of a monument that he now thinks, or says, or claims is an initiative of his?

National Holocaust Monument ActPrivate Members' Business

October 27th, 2010 / 6:55 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Tim Uppal Conservative Edmonton—Sherwood Park, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is quite unfortunate that with a bill such as this, an act to establish an national holocaust monument, we cannot put partisan party lines aside and look at the bill for what it is intended to do.

Great organizations like B'nai B'rith have said that not only did Canada fight as one of the allied forces in the second world war, but it has also become home to many survivors of the holocaust. As a victor in this terrible war and as a haven for its victims, it is only fitting that a marker remembering the millions of Jews and other victims of the Nazis be erected on Canadian soil.

We are talking about a national holocaust monument for Canadians to remember. Let us put the politics aside.

National Holocaust Monument ActPrivate Members' Business

October 27th, 2010 / 6:55 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Anita Neville Liberal Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, I want to comment because I was in fact the sponsor of this exact same bill. I introduced Bill C-238 on December 1, 2008.

The bill has now been restored to its original form, a bill which the government will undertake to sponsor, to support, to build in co-operation with communities.

As my colleague said, I do not think any of us needed a litany or a listing of all that has been done for the Jewish community. As a member of that community I follow it closely and I watch carefully.

However, I, too, want to follow up with the member, and it is not a question of politics. I do not understand why he agreed to have his original bill amended in committee the way it was, stripped of its original intention. It really has done a disservice to those of us who are in the House and who want to honour the Jewish community and those who survived and perished in the holocaust.

National Holocaust Monument ActPrivate Members' Business

October 27th, 2010 / 7 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Tim Uppal Conservative Edmonton—Sherwood Park, AB

Mr. Speaker, I agreed to some administrative changes to the bill. Some of those changes were brought forward in committee. Some were included in the bill and others did not make it into the bill.

Parliament needs to focus on the bill itself, which reminds Canadians of the horrors of the holocaust. I also believe it is a beacon of light to all Canadians and even new Canadians, people who come to Canada. They will see the tolerance we have for other people across Canada, the belief and our respect for fellow human beings. I believe this monument will be a beacon of light for that.

National Holocaust Monument ActPrivate Members' Business

October 27th, 2010 / 7 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Joe Volpe Liberal 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.

National Holocaust Monument ActPrivate Members' Business

October 27th, 2010 / 7:10 p.m.
See context

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Montmorency—Charlevoix—Haute-Côte-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, my comments will perhaps be a bit less partisan than the comments of my Liberal colleague. That is his right. I sense a lot of frustration over the fact that this bill could have the same content as some bills previously introduced by Liberal members. That is not what my comments are about.

The bill before us would establish a monument in Ottawa to honour the victims and Canadian survivors of the Holocaust. I repeat, my Liberal colleague had every right to say what he wanted to. He did not use unparliamentary language, but I think that we must remember that we are talking about a monument to illustrate the horrors of the Holocaust, the horrors that Jewish people were subjected to, simply because they were Jewish. There is no room for partisanship here. I hope that this bill will receive the support of all parties.

I am sure my introduction made this clear, but I will state that the Bloc Québécois will be in favour of Bill C-442, which would establish a monument to honour the victims of the Holocaust.

As I said earlier, the Holocaust is one of the most horrific crimes of the 20th century. We have a black mark on our record—a real black eye, in the popular expression—meaning that we are not proud as a society to have known about the horrors of the Holocaust, even though we had nothing to do with their occurrence. While we believe that we must commemorate the victims of the Holocaust, we also believe that we must continue the fight against anti-Semitism and all other forms of hate speech and discrimination.

We in the Bloc Québécois have already taken action. I will probably not have enough time to come back to Bill C-384, which was introduced and studied by the Bloc Québécois, that would have made it a criminal offence to commit an act of mischief that targets certain institutions frequented by a given community. Do not forget that in west Montreal there have already been fires in book stores, libraries and schools frequented by Jewish people. We think it is completely wrong and unacceptable, which is why the Bloc Québécois introduced Bill C-384. I will talk about this bill again if I have time.

Anti-Semitism and all other forms of hate speech are contrary to the values of Quebec and Canada. The Bloc Québécois has always acted to secure social peace and ensure a public space without hatred, discrimination or violence. That fight is crucial for any society that claims to be democratic.

When we think of the Holocaust, the first images that come to mind are images of horror. Each of us here and each person watching remembers them well, no matter what our age, because we have seen the audiovisual documents that illustrate the horror of the camps. These barbaric acts shocked the entire world. And out of that shock came the vow, “Never again!”

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

The first step in the long process toward the Holocaust was the discriminatory legislation that targeted German citizens of the Jewish faith. They were identified as such by law. They were forced to sell their businesses. They were herded into buildings. They were forced to wear a yellow star in order to be easily recognized. The yellow star was a badge of shame. The goal was to chase the Jews out of Germany by any means possible, including by prohibiting Jews from holding more and more jobs.

When Germany annexed other countries, more Jews fell under the Nazi regime. At the height of the Nazi bloodshed, Europe's Jews were sent to concentration camps and then to extermination camps. It is estimated that about three-quarters of Europe's Jews, or approximately 40% of the world's Jewish diaspora, were massacred by the Nazis.

In terms of numbers, as my colleagues know, an estimated 6 million Jews died under the Nazi regime. The Holocaust was the first mass murder characterized by its industrial scale and its bureaucracy. Like a machine, the Nazis sought the systematic elimination of an entire people just because it existed. It was neither a political nor a military threat. The only crime committed by Jews in Nazi Germany was existing.

This mass murder was carried out by Hitler's regime and several Third Reich bureaucrats, as well as by numerous collaborators, including individuals and states. In addition to Jews, the Nazis massacred countless gypsies, homosexuals, people with disabilities and members of Slavic communities, including Poles and Soviets. We have to remember them too.

In the aftermath of the war and in light of the horror of the crimes committed by the German state, governments around the world agreed to add crimes of genocide and crimes against humanity to existing war crimes in international law. As a result, international law included two new concepts arising directly from the barbaric treatment of the Jews: genocide and crimes against humanity.

Bill C-442, which the Bloc Québécois will support, would erect a monument to remind us of that crime. This is a reminder to us all of humanity at its worst, a reminder that we must never allow this to happen again.

National Holocaust Monument ActPrivate Members' Business

October 27th, 2010 / 7:20 p.m.
See context

NDP

Glenn Thibeault NDP Sudbury, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is with mixed emotions that I stand before the House today in support of Bill C-442, An Act to establish a National Holocaust Monument.

On the one hand, the atrocities committed by Hitler and the Nazis are despicable and truly leave an empty, gut-wrenching feeling inside of me. On the other hand, ensuring that an open dialogue surrounding the Holocaust and other campaigns of genocide continues on an ongoing basis is integral for protecting current and future generations from similar plights.

Therefore, although discussions surround large scale atrocities, such as the Holocaust, can often be difficult to broach, raising awareness through open dialogue on the subject is certainly one of the most appropriate approaches for ensuring that similar campaigns of genocide and human rights abuses are not tolerated by members of the international community.

Currently, Canada's national capital region lacks a public monument to honour the victims and Canadian survivors of the Holocaust. It is my belief that the establishment of such a memorial is long overdue. Other cities across Canada and around the world which already have such a monument include Toronto, Montreal, Washington, Berlin, Paris, Boston, Los Angeles and Dallas.

Just this past summer, I joined other parliamentarians in Israel, thanks to the Canada-Israel committee, and I had the honour of visiting the Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial located in the heart of Jerusalem. This humbling experience evoked many emotions within me and, upon returning to Canada, it became clear to me that it was high time that the national capital region had a similar installation designed to honour and commemorate the millions of victims, as well as the survivors, of the Holocaust.

Hitler's vile plan to exterminate the Jews of Europe led to the murder of six million men, women and children. In addition to the atrocities committed against the Jews of Europe, the Nazis also sought to eradicate vulnerable groups, such as disabled persons, the Roma and homosexuals, in their revolting systematic campaign of evil.

Many Canadians are familiar with the stories of the atrocities committed against these minority groups during this dark period in world history. From Anne Frank to Eli Wiesel, brutal personal accounts of misery and suffering shed light on the widespread carnage and mayhem perpetrated on an unrivalled scale by Hitler's Nazis.

We, as Canadians, must make it our mission to ensure that a genocidal campaign such as the Holocaust is never allowed to occur again. The establishment of a public Holocaust monument in the national capital region would provide a tangible structure demonstrating Canada's intolerance toward hate-filled ideologies and campaigns of genocide, such as the Holocaust.

Pursuant to this, the creation of a public Holocaust monument in the national capital region is necessary for ensuring that the Holocaust continues to have a permanent place in Canada's consciousness and memory. We must resist viewing the Holocaust as a purely historical event as the seeds of hatred that spawned this brutality are still alive and, in some cases, continue to flourish in various regions of the world.

We need to actively work to deter and ultimately eliminate these hateful elements from sprouting up in mainstream political discourse through the refusal to accept these ideological underpinnings as anything other than the racist, anti-Semitic and bigoted positions that they are. More specifically, free and democratic societies, such as Canada, have a moral obligation to strongly condemn ideologies of hatred, anti-Semitism and despotism whenever and wherever they occur.

Canada has a responsibility to honour the memory of Holocaust victims as part of our collective resolve to never forget the atrocities that were committed upon them. The establishment of a Holocaust monument in the nation's capital would greatly assist in creating an environment in which these atrocities will never be forgotten. The establishment of a national monument shall forever remind Canadians of one of the darkest eras of human history and of the dangers of state-sanctioned hatred and anti-Semitism.

The persistence of anti-Semitic attitudes and the dangers of state-sanctioned violence and hatred continue to haunt the international community, with the current conflict in Darfur serving as an example of ethnically targeted violence and genocide.

Not only would such a memorial raise awareness amongst future generations about the Holocaust, but it would also serve as a catalyst that demonstrates Canada's refusal to let a future conflict escalate into the type of genocidal campaign that the Holocaust can accurately be described as.

Therefore, the erection of a Holocaust memorial will serve a dual purpose of honouring and commemorating the victims and survivors of the Holocaust, while drawing attention to the broader issue of state-sanctioned violence, genocide, anti-Semitism and hate-inspired ideologies that persistently rear their ugly heads. The monument will thus serve as a constant reminder, ensuring that we will not forget.

Next week marks the 30th anniversary of Holocaust Education Week in Canada. What better message can we send to the Canadian public that Parliament considers education an integral component in assisting future generations to fully understand the origins and consequences of the Holocaust than to commit to the erection of a memorial in our nation's capital?

The Holocaust memorial in Ottawa will signify to Canadians and foreign delegates alike that Canada continues to be a stern ally in the battle against religious and ethnically driven persecution and intolerance, both at home and abroad. Therefore, it is my firm belief that a national monument will act as a tool to help future generations learn about the underlying origins of the Holocaust, as well as its consequences, which will consequently assist in preventing future acts of genocide around the world.

This will ensure that the educational component is in place, as teaching future generations about the horrors of the Holocaust will create an environment in which Canadians will continue with their refusal to forget through the 21st century and beyond.

I stand staunchly in support of Bill C-442. First and foremost, the creation of a national Holocaust memorial in the nation's capital will better allow future generations of Canadians to become educated about the causes and consequences of the Holocaust itself. More broadly, the memorial will act as a symbolic gesture indicating Canada's commitment to eradicating state-sanctioned violence backed by hate-filled ideologies that target a specific ethnic or religious minority.

Most important, the erection of such a monument will renew Canada's pledge to never forget. I therefore call on all members of the House to wholeheartedly support this endeavour so that future generations of parliamentarians will be able to stand in the House and commit that Canada will never forget.

National Holocaust Monument ActPrivate Members' Business

October 27th, 2010 / 7:25 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, I consider it an honour to speak to Bill C-442, An Act to establish a National Holocaust Monument.

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.

The Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities considered this bill and reported it to the House of Commons on June 3 of this year with a number of clarifying amendments.

Last week, unfortunately the member for Eglinton—Lawrence raised a point of order in the House that sought the Speaker's ruling on the admissibility of three amendments that had been presented to the committee. These same amendments had been ruled inadmissible by the chair but then overturned by a majority vote of committee members.

I note that in fact it was a strong majority of the committee that actually supported these amendments. The government was joined by some of the other opposition members as well.

The amendments in question provided additional clarity to the bill. They empowered the National Holocaust Monument Development Council to form a legal entity if directed to do so by the responsible minister. It also clarified that a fundraising campaign would support all costs associated with the monument and it authorized the minister to delegate certain responsibilities to the council under this bill.

Earlier this week, the Speaker ruled that these amendments should be removed from the bill. The government respects the decision of the Speaker, as we always do, with respect to the admissibility of the three disputed amendments to Bill C-442.

It is worth noting that the government's intention in presenting motions to amend Bill C-442 was to elaborate and clarify the means by which this very worthwhile initiative would be carried out. More specifically, the amendments at committee stage sought to provide greater transparency and accountability in the establishment of a national Holocaust monument.

They were also intended to ensure that the bill would be in line with the roles, the responsibilities and the policies of the minister responsible for the National Capital Commission, and also the commission itself. Those were the technical amendments that were made.

I want to speak from the heart. This important bill reflects Canada's long-standing values of freedom, democracy, the defence of human rights at home and abroad, and the defence of the rule of law.

My wife and I have taken it upon ourselves to educate our children about the Holocaust, about what happens when evil is allowed to flourish, especially when good people do nothing.

We have also taught our children the importance of never forgetting the millions of Jews and others who perished at the hands of the Nazis. Without understanding and firmly resolving to remember the lessons of our history, we are doomed to repeat the horrific chapters of our past.

Sadly, even Canada's history is stained by the memory of a callous government turning away the MS St. Louis, a ship filled with Jews desperately seeking a safe haven from hatred and bigotry. How many lives could have been saved had Canada done the right thing?

Quite frankly, I still struggle to fully grasp the depravity of the Nazi genocide, but I do understand the Hebrew word “Zachor”, which means to remember. That is why this bill is so important. It ensures that we continue to remember the darkest chapters in mankind's history and vow never to repeat it.

This past summer, my wife and I were able to accompany a number of other members of Parliament, including the member for Sudbury who just spoke, on a visit to Israel. In the “City of Peace”, Jerusalem, we visited Yad Vashem. That is the national Holocaust museum. It is one of the most powerful events I have ever taken part in.

This museum commemorates the millions upon millions of lives that were lost. It exposes the depths to which human depravity can sink. But at the same time it also shows the highest quality that mankind can aspire to. For example, the museum highlighted those who the Jews referred to as the “Righteous Gentiles” or the “Righteous among the Nations”. These were individuals in Europe who at great cost and risk to themselves, sometimes at the cost of their lives, hid and protected Jews who were fleeing for their lives.

That is what we experienced in the museum, the Yad Vashem Holocaust History Museum in Jerusalem. What a powerful experience.

I encourage every one of my colleagues in this House to take an opportunity to visit Israel someday and visit specifically that particular museum. It stands as a reminder of what happens when good human beings do nothing to stand in the way of evil.

That is the kind of monument we are addressing today in Bill C-442. This monument is long overdue. I am still puzzled why we as a nation have not dealt with this earlier.

I want to again congratulate my Conservative colleague, the member for Edmonton—Sherwood Park, for his dedication and hard work in bringing this bill forward. I would also be remiss if I did not acknowledge the work of Bernie Farber and the Canadian Jewish Congress, who in partnership with the Canadian Holocaust memorial project have been spearheading this initiative right here in the heart of our nation's capital. I cannot think of a better place in which to erect this monument than right here within the capital of our country.

Let me wind up by saying this: if this bill receives royal assent, the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, who is responsible for the National Capital Act, would diligently carry out the legislated responsibilities regarding this monument that are assigned to him in this bill. At the same time, the minister would certainly rely on the efforts undertaken by the council, along with the expert advice of the National Capital Commission and any approvals required by other applicable laws and regulations.

I would join my colleagues in the Bloc and my colleague from Sudbury in calling for all of the members of this House to support this bill with enthusiasm. This really is something that allows Canada to do its part in never ever forgetting the victims of the Holocaust.

With the expectation that both Houses of Parliament will eventually decide in favour of Bill C-442 and that the bill will receive royal assent, I am confident that our nation's capital will finally be graced with a national Holocaust memorial.