Volume Message Traffic Between PMO and Various Armenian Organizations
24, 2009, Mr. Rick Dykstra, Member of Parliament from
St. Catharines and Parliamentary Secretary to Hon. Jason
Kenney, the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism,
made the most one-sided and incriminating statement yet from
any Government official on the Turkish-Armenian controversy
regarding the events of 1915:
"…between 1915 and 1923, … brutal and systematic
destruction of the Armenian people, … one and half million
Armenian perished, … first modern genocide…"
Had Parliamentary procedure allowed a longer statement, it
would have probably included rest of the language that so
clearly identifies radical groups within the Armenian Diaspora.
Why has the Government caved in so unabashedly to the aggressive
Dykstra was the guest of honour
at the gala dinner - charity fundraiser organized by the
Turkish community of Ottawa on the occasion of the Turkish
National Sovereignty and Children's day.
night, on April 23, 2009, Mr. Dykstra was the guest
of honour at the gala dinner - charity fundraiser organized
by the Turkish community of Ottawa on the occasion of the
Turkish National Sovereignty and Children's day. Mr. Dykstra
made a nice speech at the event, on behalf of the government
and the office of the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration
and Multiculturalism. In less than 24 hours, he stood up in
the House of Commons and made the above speech. This is ethnic
politics at its worst.
to say Turkish Canadians were appalled. Being brought up in
a culture which is world famous for its hospitality, Canadians
of Turkish descent are deeply committed to the spirit of the
Turkish saying that when they drink a cup of coffee offered
by their host, they are indebted to their host for forty years.
Turkish community was shocked by Mr. Dykstra's behaviour
as a member of the Government.
intellectual tradition was long compromised when the Canadian
Parliament and Government, ignoring the ongoing scholarly
debate, took upon itself to give a verdict on events thousands
of miles away, almost a century ago. Is this the new way to
rewrite history, legislate it by a show of hands under the
stare of lobbies? Should we then expect foreign countries
to pass judgments about Canadian history?
But this year a new low was hit. From Mr. Dykstra's
message, we understand that, after having successfully distorted
history in the eyes of the less acquainted, now the Armenian
Lobby is pushing their claims one step further and succeeding.
The well-connected Armenian lobbyists and insiders are now
able to implicate modern Turkey through governmental statements.
So much for the nice words we had heard from politicians trying
to explain how they were merely talking about a past event
that had nothing to do with modern Turkey. The events of 1915,
triggered by a revolt of the Armenian citizens of Ottoman
Empire, resulted in the deaths of thousands of Turks and Armenians
alike. Turkish Canadians were greatly disappointed to see
a representative of the government to make a speech that extended
the blame all the way up to 1923. According to his logic,
Turks perpetrated a vicious crime, genocide, when they were
under the occupation of the major European powers at the end
of the First World War.
was not all. April was stormy indeed. Compared to previous
years, this year there was a deluge of "genocide commemoration"
messages delivered to various Armenian organizations from
the Prime Minister's Office and from Hon. Jason Kenney,
the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism.
Let's look at the sequence of events:
- On April
14, 2009, Prime Minister sends a "genocide commemoration"
letter to Congress of Canadian Armenians which they publish
on their web site. The next day the letter is withdrawn, and
the in the following days it is posted again with the modification
of a few words.
- On April
21, 2009, several Armenian organizations hold an event at
the Parliament Building which is attended by the members of
- On April
23, 2009, the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of the Republic
of Armenia, the Republic of Turkey and the Swiss Federal Department
of Foreign Affairs issue a joint statement: "Turkey
and Armenia, together with Switzerland as mediator, have been
working intensively with a view to normalizing their bilateral
relations and developing them in a spirit of good-neighbourliness,
and mutual respect, and thus to promoting peace, security
and stability in the whole region.." In unison
with the radical groups within the Armenian Diaspora, the
Government simply ignores this development.
- On April
23, 2009, MP Rick Dykstra comes to the Turkish Canadian
gala dinner for CHEO on the occasion of the Turkish National
Sovereignty and Children's Day, the 89th anniversary of the
establishment of modern Turkey's parliament. Members of the
Turkish community talk to Mr. Dykstra about the new
positive developments and mention the joint statement issued
by Switzerland, Turkey and Armenia.
- On April
24, 2009, Hon. Jason Kenney sends a message to Armenian
General Benevolent Union of Canada Inc., from which we learn
that his new chief of staff, Mr. Agop Evereklian, is
of Armenian origin.
- On April
24, Prime Minister makes another statement repeating his support
for the Armenian claims.
on April 24, 2009, Mr. Dykstra, Parliamentary Secretary
to Hon. Jason Kenney, the Minister of Citizenship and
Immigration, makes the unfortunate speech in which he repeats
the most atrocious claims of ultra-nationalist Armenian lobbyists
in Canada. He does not mention the reconciliation efforts
or the very current joint statement.
- On April
28, another Armenian group that opposes the normalization
process with Turkey holds an event at the Parliament with
the support of the Government.
Why have those responsible for this file in Government allowed
so much one-sidedness this year? Who really handles this file
after all? Are the moderate Armenians really happy with the
radical position of the government which marginalizes Canada's
position internationally? Minority governments are a fact
of life. But should this necessarily be at the cost of Canadian
traits of fairness and even-handedness? These are worrying
questions. Less than a year ago we established a warm and
positive relationship with the Prime Minister. We would like
to count on that relationship to ask Mr. Harper to
listen to the concerns of a large group of Canadians and refrain
from allowing bias control his relationship with us.
It is not good to end on a negative note. And there is some
good news. First, constructive statements were made on April
24th, by two MPs, Mr. Maurice Vellacott of the Conservative
Party and Mr. Mauril Bélanger of the Liberal Party.
Their statements, given below, reflect an approach that deserves
to be called truly Canadian. The second development, has been
the agreement between Turkey and Armenia, mediated by Switzerland
(where was Canada?), to normalize their relations. This can
open the way to a proper study of the historical tragedy and
eventual reconciliation. Perhaps we will at least see peaceful
Armenians in Canada, though not the aggressive lobbyists,
support this process. And maybe, the Government will come
to its senses, hold accountable those who created this mess
and stand on the side of peace and reconciliation. Although
the last few weeks caution us against naivety, we can still
by Hon. Mauril Bélanger
of Parliament, Ottawa-Vanier, Liberal Party
House of Commons, April 24, 2009
Speaker, in 2004 the majority of this House voted to
recognize the terrible suffering endured by the Armenian
people in 1915 as genocide. The opposition of 68 hon.
members to this motion underlined the still ongoing
debate about the sequence of events that led to this
terrible tragedy. Canadians have built a reputation
as fair arbitrators in conflicts all over the world.
Let us continue in this tradition and encourage the
governments of Turkey and Armenia to move forward in
their desire to normalize their relations. It is with
great encouragement that we learned yesterday that a
comprehensive framework has been agreed upon by the
governments of Turkey and Armenia to improve their bilateral
relations. We must make sure that this road-map succeeds.
In the spirit of this agreement, let us support Canadians
of Armenian and Turkish origin in their efforts to also
come together in mutual understanding and respect. BelanM@parl.gc.ca
by Mr. Maurice Vellacott
of Parliament, Saskatoon-Wanuskewin, Conservative Party
House of Commons, April 24, 2009
Speaker, the 20th century has been witness to some of
humanity's greatest tragedies. One of these tragedies
took place in 1915 when the Ottoman Empire collapsed
under the onslaught of World War I. After more than
four centuries of peaceful relations, a wave of nationalism
broke into a frenzy of violence between Turks and Armenians.
Hundreds of thousands lost their lives in countless
revolts, pitched battles and massacres. Others fled
abroad. Many have come to Canada and made it their new
home. This terrible tragedy continues to haunt Turks
and Armenians alike. Recently however, as mentioned
before, the Turkish and Armenian governments have undertaken
important steps toward normalizing their relations in
a spirit of mutual respect and understanding. Our government
supports recent efforts by the Turkish and Armenian
governments to jointly study the still unresolved questions
of their shared past. Canadians have a reputation as
fair arbiters in conflicts all over the world. We encourage
the governments of Turkey and Armenia to move forward
in their desire to normalize their relations. Let us
also encourage Canadians of Armenian and Turkish origin
to come together in a spirit of mutual understanding
and respect. VellaM@parl.gc.ca
April 23, 2009, the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of the
Republic of Armenia, the Republic of Turkey and the Swiss
Federal Department of Foreign Affairs issued a joint statement:
"Turkey and Armenia, together with Switzerland
as mediator, have been working intensively with a view
to normalizing their bilateral relations and developing
them in a spirit of good-neighbourliness, and mutual respect,
and thus to promoting peace, security and stability in
the whole region.
two parties have achieved tangible progress and mutual
understanding in this process and they have agreed on
a comprehensive framework for the normalization of their
bilateral relations in a mutually satisfactory manner.
In this context, a road-map has been identified.
agreed basis provides a positive prospect for the on-going