Mr. Speaker, yesterday Canadians were able to commemorate our first national Holocaust Memorial Day. Yom ha-Shoah has been commemorated by communities and governments across Canada for many years, but was formally recognized as Holocaust Memorial Day by Parliament last year.
As members may know, “Shoah” is the Hebrew word for “whirlwind”, the whirlwind of hatred that swept six million Jews to their deaths under the Nazi sponsored policy of hatred and genocide during the second world war.
Yom ha-Shoah provides an opportunity for all Canadians to be educated on the universal lessons of human rights and to reaffirm our commitment to protect Canadians from those who would commit crimes of violence, racism and hate.
It is my hope that on Yom ha-Shoah, Canadians of all religious and cultural backgrounds would take a moment to recognize this day and reflect on what religious and racial hatred can do to an individual, a community and a country.