By Haykaram Nahapetyan
Mirror-Spectator Video Correspondent
OTTAWA – The annual Armenian Genocide commemoration took place in Ottawa on April 24. After a prayer at the embassy of the Republic of Armenia, the main gathering was held in front of the Canadian Parliament building. Participants included high-ranking representatives from both legislative and executive branches of the Canadian political leadership such as the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Canadian Heritage, members of the Parliament from both ruling and the opposition parties and representatives of the Jewish, Greek, Ukrainian and Rwandan communities.
Minister of Canadian Heritage Melanie Joly thanked the participants for being part of the Genocide commemoration event and praised the Canadian-Armenian “strong and vibrant community” for assisting their compatriots from Middle East who continue to find refuge in Canada.
Bryan May, the chair of the Canada-Armenia Friendship Group, spoke of his trip to Yerevan in April 2015, where he represented “not only the Canadian-Armenian community, but all of Canada, laying a wreath for the government of Canada.” David Cooper, Director of Government Relations at the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, affirmed his solidarity with the Armenian community and highlighted that it was the Armenian Genocide that became the predecessor of the Holocaust and opened the bloody chapter of the atrocities of the 20th century.
“Your struggles for education, recognition, remembrance and finally justice are our struggles too,” said Hellenic community activist Dr. Theodore Halatsis, president of the Canadian Hellenic Congress. The Greek community has been working hard to have the atrocities against Greeks committed by Young Turks and Kemalist forces to be recognized as genocide. Even though the recognition on federal level is lacking as of now, about a dozen of cities and various settlements of Canada have already adopted resolutions calling the Greek massacres “genocide.” MP of Greek origin Emmanuella Lambropoulos was also present at the event. Garnett Genuis, MP from the opposing Conservative party sharply criticized Ankara for sending its troops across the border of her sovereign neighbor Syria and called the Canadian government to stand against it. MP also criticized Azerbaijani leader Ilam Aliyev for waging and arms race in the region.