• Open Letter to Leon Benoit, Member of Parliament for Vegreville—Wainwright

Open Letter to Leon Benoit, Member of Parliament for Vegreville—Wainwright

June 17, 2015

Upon reading the skewed rhetoric in your open letter with regards to the passing of Motion-587 in the House of Commons, one might rather be disinclined to acknowledge your position by choosing to not give any credence to your argument. The usual practice of the well-oiled and persistent anti-Genocide recognition lobby has been to revert to the perpetual offensive that any discussion of genocide recognition is hurtful to a particular segment of the population. This all too convenient and stale viewpoint has proven to be futile and does not deserve a reply. However, any attempt to suppress the truth of historical fact on this issue cannot be left unchallenged.

On April 24, 2015 your colleagues from all sides of the aisle of the House of Commons stood up for Justice and sent a stout word to all violators of human rights and civil liberties, to States and individuals who perpetrate Genocide that Canada is watching them. Your argument suggesting that the vote was not of unanimous consent is a meaningless endeavor to cast shadow on the motion and belittle the gravity of the voting.

Motion-­587 passed in the House of Commons designates the month of April in Canada as Genocide Remembrance, Condemnation and Prevention Month. The focal point of your letter is the rejection of the recognition of the Armenian Genocide. You present petty arguments that this “is an extremely divisive issue for many” and “hurtful to Turks from around the world”. Indeed, a position that state-­run denial machine in Ankara has officially proclaimed for many, many decades. We, as Canadians, with the ultimate sense of responsibility towards humanity tell you that your chosen position is hurtful to the people of Armenia and to all those who stand up for Human Dignity and Justice.

We must not choose to adopt and promote Ankara’s gag rule, camouflaged with the freedom of expression or the infamous cliché that Turkey is our NATO ally and we do not want to upset them. Canada’s efforts must focus on encouraging Turkey to come to terms with its own past and wipe off the shame from future generations. Gratefully, nowadays a significant number of people in Turkey have broken from the taboo of decades, and although they are faced with deep state intimidation and threats; they speak up on the truth about Armenians, the Genocide, and about the injustice of men towards men.

It is very rewarding to know you will not be sitting as a parliamentarian after October 19, 2015. Canada, the champion of human rights in the community of nations, shall not tolerate similar efforts of casting doubts on the historical truth of the Armenian Genocide. You may well inform your friends in Ankara that they will have one less voice in the next assembly of the House of Commons.

Roupen Kouyoumdjian, Former Executive Director - Armenian National Committee of Canada
Hagop Arslanian, Chairman  - Canadian Armenian Political Affairs Committee