OTTAWA, ONTARIO–(Marketwire – Jan. 17, 2011) - The Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism issued the following statement commemorating Raoul Wallenberg Day:
“Raoul Wallenberg Day is an opportunity to remember the Holocaust and to pay tribute, not only to its victims, but to one of its heroes. By remembering the actions of Raoul Wallenberg, we reaffirm our commitment to fight against the evils of racism, and anti-Semitism.
“Raoul Wallenberg was a Swedish diplomat who worked in Budapest, Hungary, during World War II and rescued Jews from the Holocaust. He is credited with saving the lives of more than 100,000 Hungarian Jews at the risk of his own life.
“On January 17, 1945, Raoul Wallenberg was captured by Soviet forces as the Soviet Union pushed the Nazis out of Hungary. He was not seen again.
“Today, his legacy – combating hate and prejudice – is being continued by the Government of Canada, which is a leader in the fight against anti-Semitism, through actions such as the development of the Ottawa Protocol.
“Unveiled at the conclusion of the Inter-parliamentary Coalition for Combatting Antisemitism (ICCA) conference in November, the protocol complements what Canada is already doing in the fight against anti-Semitism. Among other things, it calls on the leaders of faith groups to combat all hatred and discrimination, including anti-Semitism.
“Our Government is also refusing to participate in the Durban commemorative conference – the so-called Durban III — scheduled for September 2011.
“Just as Canada was the first in the world to withdraw from Durban II, so too will Canada lead — once again, by not attending the new Durban event.
“The Holocaust stands alone in human history for its horror and its inhumanity. It is crucial that we learn from this experience, not only to ensure that such atrocities never happen again, but also to build societies based on human dignity in which such acts are not even possible.
“As Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, and on behalf of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, I call on all Canadians to reject anti-Semitism, learn more about the legacy of Raoul Wallenberg, and be inspired by his heroism and selfless spirit.”