Politicians & groups that support substantial change to current makeup and design of CMHR
Over the past few weeks and months, a number of prominent Canadians have come forward to note their objection on the record to the current iteration of the Canadian Museum of Human Rights being built in Winnipeg.
Noting that it is a federal institution funded entirely by taxpayers, on par with other national museums like the Museum of Civilization in Gatineau, Que., and the War Museum in Ottawa, the growing list of politicians, experts and stakeholders below have noticed the inherent unfairness of a museum supposedly dedicated to the human rights of all Canadians favouring the story of just one or two groups.
This list continues to grow and updates will be made as more people go on the record.
– Dec. 23, 2010: Elizabeth May and the Green Party of Canada:
"… we need to document the history of all Canadians and show how their experiences have shaped and will continue to shape our values of equality, dignity and inclusiveness. Genocide, no matter where or under what pretense it happens, is unacceptable to Canadians. The Green Party of Canada notes the genocide of between 7 and 10 million people in the (sic) Soviet Ukraine during 1932-1933 as an example that needs to be interpreted at the museum. Also, the history of internments during the two world wars should be better recognized by Canadians."
– Jan. 20, 2011: Paul Dewar, MP (NDP, Ottawa Centre), NDP Foreign Affairs Critic, in a latter addressed to Hon. James Moore, Minister for Canadian Heritage and Official Languages:
“Dear Mr. Moore, (UCCLA Chair R.W. Zakaluzny) points out that there will be two galleries in the museum devoted to the suffering of aboriginal peoples and of the Jewish people. All other crimes against humanity will (be) grouped in a third single gallery. He requests that other atrocities that have profoundly affected Canadians be accorded equal treatment in the museum.
Mr. Zakaluzny raises an important and troubling point. I would appreciate it if you would address his concerns directly. I too am concerned that all atrocities be well addressed by the Human Rights Museum.”
– Feb. 2, 2011: James Bezan, MP (Conservative, Selkirk-Interlake):
" I believe that: The Holodomor genocide should have a unique, autonomous and prominent place in the CMHR; the CMHR Board of Directors contain respected members of the Ukrainian community with knowledge of the Holodomor and other human rights violations."
– Feb. 8, 2011: Leon Benoit, MP (Conservative, Vegreville-Wainwright):
"Benoit has heard from constituents about their specific worries – that the Holodomor will be lumped into a general section of ‘Mass Atrocities’ which does not provide autonomy and permanent recognition of the event in the museum. They are also worried that other elements of their history will not receive ample recognition and be subsumed under other permanent exhibits promoted by the Content Advisory Committee Report. ‘I think the Advisory Committee is to be thanked for their report, but it is also important to remember that it is just a report,’ states Benoit. ‘It isn’t the final decision and it isn’t government policy.’
‘I certainly believe that the Holodomor genocide should have a unique, autonomous and prominent place in the CMHR,” affirms Benoit. “I also think it is quite important that the CMHR Board of Directors contain respected members of the Ukrainian community with knowledge of the Holodomor and other human rights violations. I’m proud of our Government’s support for the CMHR. I hope the Museum’s Board of Trustees finds the courage to provide the Holodomor with the appropriate and respectful recognition it deserves.”
– Feb. 8, 2011: Devinder Shory, MP (Calgary Northeast) issued this statement (excerpts below):
"…Our Canadian government was one of the first around teh world to recognize the Holodomor genocide as just that: genocide . . . I would like to add my voice in support of the Ukrainian community to recognize the Holodomor with a unique and appropriate place within the CMHR"
– ~Feb 13, 2011: The Latvian, Lithuanian, Estonian, Hungarian, and Slovakian communities of Canada: In the Globe and Mail, called for “an embargo on any further or incremental funding” until there’s an independent review of the museum’s contents and a new board created. “We are dismayed that the hard lessons learned by our communities … are callously ignored at present,” said CECC chair Markus Hess.
– ~Feb. 13, 2011: Polish Canadian Congress, in the Globe and Mail: The CMHR in its current form is “an inequitable display of what has happened in the world that has gone against human rights.”
Having “a separate, permanent room that says ‘the Holocaust’ leaves you questioning what the value is of all the other people who died otherwise . . . Without minimizing the Holocaust, we just feel that whole idea of ‘mass atrocities’ has to be rethought and perhaps have a larger display area in which the Holocaust, the Holodomor, the Armenian genocide, those things, [are] part and parcel of that,” said CPC president Teresa Berezowski.
– Feb. 17, 2011: Tim Uppal, MP (Conservative, Edmonton-Sherwood Park):
"Recently I have heard from many representatives of the Ukrainian-Canadian community with their concerns regarding the Canadian Museum of Human Rights. Specifically, many are worried that the Holodomor genocide and the Canadian internment of Ukrainians of World War I will not be given proper recognition, and will be included in a general section of ‘Mass Atrocities.’
"I support the following statement made by my colleague, James Bezan, Member of Parliament for Selkirk-Interlake: ‘I believe that the Holodomor genocide should have a unique, autonomous and prominent place in the CMHR, and that the CMHR Board of Directors contain respected members of the Ukrainian community with knowledge of the Holodomor and other human rights violations.’ "
– Feb. 24, 2011: Statement of Liberal Members of Parliament on the Canadian Museum for Human Rights:
Borys Wrzesnewskyj, MP (Etobicoke Centre)
Gerard Kennedy, MP (Parkdale-High Park)
Kevin Lamoureux, MP (Winnipeg North)
Hon. Navdeep Bains, P.C., MP (Mississauga-Brampton South)
Bonnie Crombie, MP (Mississauga-Streetsville)
“The Canadian Museum for Human Rights presents an opportunity to illustrate the promise and the importance of human rights, but sadly part of its mission will necessarily also be to educate Canadians about the consequences of denying those rights. The Holodomor is as graphic and moving an illustration as can be imagined of the denial of the basic Human Right to Food.”
“We federal Liberal Party Members of Parliament hold that this publicly funded national Canadian museum should create and operate a permanent gallery dedicated to the Holodomor, and that the Board of Directors of the CMHR should embrace and include respected members of the Ukrainian Canadian community with expertise in the Holodomor.
“It was the Jewish-Polish scholar Raphael Lemkin, known as the ‘Father of The Genocide Convention’ who coined the term ‘genocide’ when referring also to the Holodomor in his 1944 book Axis Rule in Occupied Europe. Unfortunately, the full extent of this horrific “genocide by famine” of millions of Ukrainians was suppressed behind the Iron Curtain during the subsequent 58 years by the Kremlin’s communist regime.
“By taking a leadership role in establishing a permanent gallery for the Holodomor, Canada would encourage post-communist countries that are now our economic and security partners to begin to more critically address the human rights violations and genocidal crimes perpetrated in the name of communism and to cease the Holodomor denials which continue to this day.
“By having the Holodomor in a permanent zone (exhibit) in our national human rights museum, Canada would fulfill its traditional role in leading the world in the promotion of human rights.”
– Feb. 24, 2011: Joy Smith, MP (Conservative, Kildonan-St. Paul): "I believe the Holodomor genocide should be given a prominent presentation that is independent of the Mass Atrocity gallery. Providing a unique and prominent exhibit for the Holodomor will rightly expose the violations of human rights and restore the dignity of victims through the acknowledgement of their suffering. Visitors to the museum will learn of the brutal human rights abuses of the Holodomor genocide and this will enlighten them to strive for human rights for all people.
"The Holocaust and the Holodomor were both black spots of history of humanity. Having both stories as prominent displays is imperative. Nations must learn so these tragedies will never happen again.
"I also believe the Ukrainian community should have a representative voice on the Board of Directors for the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. Canada boasts the third largest Ukrainian population in the world and our Parliament has officially recognized the Holodomor as a genocide. Thus it is appropriate that strong Ukrainian representation be present when planning a national museum about Human Rights."
– Feb. 28, 2011, 2011: The Canada–Ukraine Parliamentary Friendship Group, from chair Mark Warawa, MP, moved the following motion: "That the Canada-Ukraine Parliamentary Friendship Group endorse that a prominent exhibit of the Holodomor Genocide be part of the Canadian Museum of (sic) Human Rights; an exhibit which would fully tell the story of this genocide and that a Board of Directors include representations submitted by the Ukrainian Canadian Congress."
– March 1, 2011: Laurie Hawn MP (Conservative, Edmonton Centre), issued this statement (excerpt below):
"Our government has made a positive investment in preserving Canada’s history through the Canadian Museum for Human Rights (CMHR) in Winnipeg, MB. It is important that this investment results in a museum which has value for all Canadians . . . The main concern that has been expressed to me is that the Holodomor will be grouped into a general section of ‘Mass Atrocities’ and will not be provided its own independent, permanent and distinct zone, similar to the Holocaust and Aboriginal zones . . . I must recommend that the Holodomor genocide receive a unique and permanent place in the CMHR which will adequately reflect its impact on the Canadian Ukrainian community, its relationship with Canada and our understanding of human rights and genocide around the world."
– March 3, 2011, an additional 10 sitting Liberal MPs (below in alphabetical order) agree to support this statement spearheaded by MP Borys Wrzesnewskyj:
Hon. Wayne Easter, P.C., M.P. (Malpeque)
Hon. Hedy Fry, P.C., M.P. (Vancouver Centre)
Andrew Kania, M.P. (Brampton West)
Hon. Jim Karygiannis, P.C., M.P. (Scarborough-Agincourt)
Hon. Keith Martin, P.C., M.P. (Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca)
Massimo Pacetti, M.P. (Saint-Léonard-Saint-Michel)
Hon. Bob Rae, P.C., M.P. (Toronto Centre)
Scott Simms, M.P. (Bonavista-Gander-Grand Falls-Windsor)
Alan Tonks, M.P. (York South-Weston)
Frank Valeriote, M.P. (Guelph)
– March 9, 2011, an additional 15 sitting Liberal MPs (below in alphabetical order) agree to support this statement spearheaded by MP Borys Wrzesnewskyj:
John Cannis, M.P. (Scarborough Centre)
Hon. Denis Coderre, P.C., M.P. (Bourassa)
Sukh Dhaliwal, M.P. (Newton-North Delta)
Marc Garneau, M.P. (Westmount-Ville-Marie)
Mark Holland, M.P. (Ajax-Pickering)
Hon. Maria Minna, P.C., M.P. (Beaches-East York)
Brian Murphy, M.P. (Moncton-Riverview-Dieppe)
Hon. Shawn Murphy, P.C., M.P. (Charlottetown)
Joyce Murray, M.P. (Vancouver Quadra)
Bernard Patry, M.P. (Pierrefonds-Dollard)
Todd Russell, M.P. (Labrador)
Mario Silva, M.P. (Davenport)
Michelle Simson, M.P. (Scarborough Southwest)
Hon. Judy Sgro, P.C., M.P. (York West)
Lise Zarac, M.P. (LaSalle-Émard)
– March 12, 2011, Peter Goldring MP, Conservative, issued this statement (pdf file). Excerpt below:
"When the CMHR was first planned, Ukrainian Canadians were led to believe there would be a permanent exhibit about the Holodomor a horrific time which saw some eight million people die. But apparently plans changed and now there will only be two human rights tragedies with their own permanent display.
"Certainly we should not be somehow ranking examples of man’s inhumanity to man. The issue is not eight million dead Jews and others in the Holocaust of World War II, as many as eight million during the Holodomor or the 1.5 million dead in the “killing fields” of Pol Pot’s Cambodia or the million killed in the Rwandan genocide.
"The Holodomor was a genocide on the size, scale and relative duration of the Holocaust. It does make sense that this atrocity that impacted so many Canadians (1.2 million of whom are of Ukrainian ancestry, my wife included) be on permanent display at the CMHR – particularly due to the lack of knowledge of this genocide, even by politicians."
– March 25, 2011, an additional 10 sitting Liberal MPs (below in alphabetical order) agree to support this statement spearheaded by MP Borys Wrzesnewskyj:
Scott Andrews, M.P. (Avalon)
Hon. Ujjal Dosanjh, P.C., M.P. (Vancouver South)
Kirsty Duncan, M.P. (Etobicoke North)
Hon. Lawrence MacAulay, P.C., M.P. (Cardigan)
Alexandra Mendes, M.P. (Brossard-La Prairie)
Glen Pearson, M.P. (London North Centre)
Marcel Proulx, M.P. (Hull-Aylmer)
Yasmin Ratansi, M.P. (Don Valley East)
Pablo Rodriguez, M.P. (Honoré-Mercier)
Paul Szabo, M.P. (Mississauga South)