13 August 2011
Prime Minister Stephen Harper today issued the following statement to mark the 50th
Anniversary of the construction of the Berlin Wall:
"Fifty years ago, the world saw Germany divided in two, with Berlin severed by the construction of the Berlin Wall, with the West retaining its rights and freedoms and the East succumbing to Communist oppression.
"The Berlin Wall became symbolic of division in the 20th
Century – an imposing cement slab that became an integral part of the Iron Curtain between Western Europe and the Eastern Bloc. It also became a symbol of tyranny and evil as many innocent people fleeing communism were gunned down in their attempt to find freedom on the other side of the Wall in West Berlin.
"During the Cold War, many apologists for the Communist regime tried to convince the world that their ideology was superior. Fortunately, talented and courageous artists, writers and ordinary citizens were able to expose that what went on behind the Wall ran counter to all the ideals the West had fought for and the truth began to trickle out.
"Canada is proud to have stood with those who opposed all that the Berlin Wall came to represent. We are also proud to have welcomed, over the years, people who escaped Communist oppression, including those who fled the Soviet Union’s brutal crackdowns in central Europe in the 1950s and 1960s.
"Today, we continue to see the consequences of the dire legacy of communist totalitarianism and blind ideology, which continues to divide North from South Korea. Like the East Germany of the past, the North Korea of today continues to forcibly prevent its population from building better lives at home or abroad.
"In the 2010 Speech from the Throne, the Government of Canada announced support for the establishment of a National Monument to the Victims of Communism. This monument shall stand as a reminder that all political systems are not the same, that our democracy and our freedoms are to be cherished, exercised and protected.
"Today, a piece of the Berlin Wall can be viewed in Canada’s War Museum, a reminder of all Canadians who served in West Germany to defend freedom and democracy during the Cold War.
"Let it also be a reminder that Canada remains a vigorous defender of freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law on the world stage today."