Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee
National Holocaust Monument Act

Mr. Speaker, I had not anticipated speaking because I did not know the bill was up tonight, but I am very pleased to have an opportunity to speak to it.
 
As it happens, I have a bill on the order paper that is virtually the same as this one. Unfortunately, I am much further down on the list and do not have the opportunity to present it.
 
I want to speak to this bill because I think it is very important. As one of the proposers of the Holocaust memorial day here on the Hill, I think it is a natural conclusion that there be a permanent memorial.
 
As members are undoubtedly aware, there are hearings going on in this building that deal with anti-Semitism in Canada. An all-party coalition is looking at the issue of anti-Semitism. Just yesterday we heard a very important discussion on the importance of remembering the Holocaust, how important the Holocaust is, not only for defining the history of the Jewish people but also for speaking to the atrocities that man is capable of and, as we heard earlier tonight, to say never again.
  
This is an important initiative. It is important that all parties and all members in the House support it. However, I want to digress a little. We heard a member opposite speak of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg, which is an important initiative in this country. The original capital funding of $100 million promised by the previous Liberal government is fully supported by the current government, which I applaud, as is the ongoing operating funding making it a national museum.
 
However, the important issue is that the genesis of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg was that it would be a Holocaust museum. There was much discussion over it and much input from a whole host of communities as to whether it should be a Holocaust museum or indeed a museum of human rights, as it is now established.
 
It is equally important that there be a permanent Holocaust gallery in the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. It was the vision of the late Israel Asper in promoting this museum. It was the basis upon which many private sector donors made their contributions to it. I think that however we acknowledge and look at the Holocaust, whether through the Holocaust Memorial Day or through a permanent remembrance of the Holocaust on the grounds of this building, as we have on the grounds of the legislative buildings in Manitoba, or a permanent museum in the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, every one of them is equally important and must be sustained.
 
I am pleased to have had the opportunity to speak however briefly, and I am hopeful that all members of all parties will see fit to support this. It is something that it is important, not just to acknowledge what happened in the past, but, as we have heard elsewhere tonight, to ensure that our children know what happened and will determine that it will never happen again in the future.

 To view the complete debate in the House of Commons click here