OTTAWA–The Canadian House of Commons debated on February 25–private member Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral’s motion to recognize the Armenian Genocide. After its first reading–Motion M-380–which states–"That this House acknowledges the Armenian genocide of 1915 and condemns this act as a crime against humanity," was tabled–Dalphond-Guiral delivered the opening speech recounting the history of the Armenian Genocide–its recognition in the Canadian Parliament–Turkish lobbying efforts to subvert its recognition–and the importance of the Armenian Genocide recognition by the House of Commons.
She urged fellow members to support her motion in order to "ensure that historical justice is rendered and give ourselves the tools we need to build a better world." In conclusion–Dalphond-Guiral stressed–"During their lives–individuals and peoples are often wounded. The deeper the wounds–the longer it takes to heal. I truly believe that by acknowledging the genocide perpetrated on Armenian people–we will be helping to heal their scars."
At the end of Dalphond-Guiral’s 15 minute speech–the floor was opened for questions and discussion.
The only dissenting voice came from the founder of the Canadian-Turkish Parliamentary Friendship group–MP Stan Dromisky–who touted the Turkish Government’s party line.
At the end of the one-hour debate–the motion–according to the rules of procedures of the House of Commons–was adjourned for the Second Reading to take place in late March. Motions by private member are subject to two readings of one hour each. The house must vote on the motion at the second reading.
The ambassador of Armenia–as well as the Ambassador of Turkey followed the debate from the gallery.
Actively involved in promoting the passage of the motion–the Armenian National Committee of Canada (ANCC)–sent a delegation to Ottawa prior to Dalphond-Guiral’s historic proposal. The delegation worked closely with Dalphond-Guiral during and after the debate to sensitize parliamentarians and to solicit their support for M-380–and mailed a brief to all members of the House two weeks before the debate. In addition–when The Assembly of Turkish American Associations launched a campaign to defeat the motion–the ANCC mobilized the Canadian-Armenian community to counter and expose the Turkish Government’s propaganda campaign–with a highly successful e-mail and postcard campaign to Canadian Parliamentarians.
ANCC president Dr. Girair Basmadjian–conveyed the Armenian community’s gratitude and appreciation to Dalphond-Guiral–to those who seconded Motion M-380–to Hon. Jim Karygiannis–and other speakers who withstood Turkish government pressure. "We salute the courage and the conviction of all Members who were determined to see the truth and allow justice to prevail. We urge all members of the House to follow in the footsteps of their colleagues and vote in favor M-380," said Basmadjian.