Prime Minister's remarks at the Ottawa Yom HaShoah Commemoration Service
Every year, we commemorate Yom HaShoah so that we do not forget the six million Jews who were systematically and senselessly murdered during the Holocaust.
Six million mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, grandparents and children lost eight decades ago. The Shoah is one of the darkest chapters in human history. Since then, survivors and witnesses have told their stories to ensure that this tragedy is never forgotten and that it never happens again.
As new generations form their understanding of the world, we must make sure that the lessons of the Holocaust do not go untold. We must continue to confront antisemitism, hatred, and intolerance in all its forms. Earlier this year our country and people around the world were shocked and dismayed to see Nazi imagery displayed in our nation’s capital. For the Jewish community, and for all Canadians, those images were deeply disturbing, but sadly, of course this wasn’t a standalone instance. Jewish people are encountering threats and violence more and more, both online and in person. This troubling resurgence of antisemitism cannot and will not be ignored. And the atrocities of the Holocaust cannot be buried in history.
Whether you are Jewish or not, we all have a responsibility to remember the difficult lessons of the Holocaust and to keep them alive. We must also continue to combat hateful rhetoric. That’s why the budget tabled three weeks ago announced our intention to support the renewal of the Sarah and Chaim Neuberger Holocaust Education Centre in Toronto, and the construction of the new Holocaust Museum in Montréal. These are important institutions that help preserve and tell the story of the Holocaust so that younger generations can learn and understand the truth about what happened.
We’re also providing ongoing funding for Canada’s Special Envoy on Preserving Holocaust Remembrance and Combatting Antisemitism, a role currently extremely well held by your friend and mine, Irwin Cotler. And we have tabled a proposal that would amend the Criminal Code to prohibit denying or downplaying the Holocaust. This sends a clear message that this pernicious form of hatred and disinformation has no place in Canada.
I know that each and every one of us stands firm in the belief that truth must always resonate deeply and strongly and be amplified at every turn by all of us.
We must continue working together every day to honour the victims of the Holocaust, tell their stories, and protect everyone’s rights and freedoms, no matter their religion, traditions or country of origin.
We must make sure that Never Again truly means never again.