Statement by the Prime Minister of Canada on Black Ribbon Day
23 August 2013
Prime Minister Stephen Harper today issued the following statement to mark Black Ribbon Day, the National Day of Remembrance for the Victims of Communism and Nazism in Europe:
“Today, we pay tribute to the memory of the victims who suffered or lost their lives through unspeakable acts under Communist and Totalitarian regimes. We also express profound solidarity with the survivors and descendants.
“Canada has long been a beacon of hope and freedom for those escaping tyranny and oppression. Our country continues to be a land of promise for immigrants and refugees seeking peace, security, freedom, justice and respect.
“Black Ribbon Day marks the shameful anniversary of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact between the Communist Soviet Union and Nazi Germany, which directly led to the occupation of numerous European countries and to the slaughter and oppression of their citizens. This day serves as a reminder of the importance of protecting democracy and freedom, and of educating current and future generations about the crimes against humanity that occurred during the darkest chapter of human history.
“As we mark this day in remembrance of the victims of Communist and Nazi tyranny, I encourage all Canadians to be mindful of the importance of the values of freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law that we hold so dear here in Canada. We must never take them for granted.
Minister Kenney issues statement to mark Black Ribbon Day
Ottawa, August 23, 2013 — The Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister for Multiculturalism, issued the following statement to recognize Black Ribbon Day:
“Today we pay tribute to the memory of the tens of millions of European victims of Communist and Nazi tyranny of the last century.
“It was on this day in 1939 that Nazi Germany and the Communist Soviet Union signed the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact – the notorious non-aggression treaty that ultimately led to the Second World War.
“The pact paved the way for Nazi and Soviet cooperation in the violent occupation of the lands of many Central and Eastern European countries. The suffering inflicted on the people of these countries by both regimes was so horrific, that this part of Europe has since been referred to by many as the ‘Bloodlands.’
“In 2009, Parliament declared Black Ribbon Day a national day of remembrance. As Minister for Multiculturalism, I would like to commend all community leaders who organize annual Black Ribbon Day events across the country.
“Many Canadians experienced the horrors of these regimes first-hand, or have family members who did. Generations of these victims have escaped to Canada, which has long been a beacon of freedom, democracy, and the rule of law.
“That is why today the Government of Canada announced that we will partner with the Tribute to Liberty organization to construct a Memorial to Victims of Communism in our nation’s capital. This memorial will stand to remind future generations that this historical evil must never again be allowed to flourish.”
For more information on today’s announcement, visit the news release.