Proceedings of the Standing Senate Committee on
Social Affairs, Science and Technology
Issue 23 - Evidence
OTTAWA, Thursday, March 24, 2011
The Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology met this day at 10:28 in the morning to study Bill C-442, An Act to establish a National Holocaust Monument.
Senator Art Eggleton (Chair) in the chair.
The Chair: Welcome to the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology.
Today, we are dealing with Bill C-442, An Act to establish a National Holocaust Monument.
We will operate in two panels. The first panel is the Member of Parliament for Edmonton—Sherwood Park, Tim Uppal. He is the sponsor in the House of Commons for Bill C-442. He has been a member of the house since the last election in 2008.
This bill is his private member's bill and has been quite successful in moving in the system so far, although it has taken a little while. It was adopted by the House of Commons in December of 2010.
Welcome to you, Tim Uppal. Please give us a few comments about your bill.
Tim Uppal, Member of Parliament for Edmonton—Sherwood Park: I appreciate the opportunity to speak to this committee on Bill C-442, An Act to establish a National Holocaust Monument.
It would be important to have a national Holocaust monument because we are the only Allied nation not to have one. In addition, for young people today who are privileged to live in a country like Canada, the Holocaust can seem totally foreign. It is something they have difficulty understanding because they cannot relate to the atrocities and the horrors that took place at that time. The horrific events of the Holocaust are a stark testament to what can happen when humanity and fundamental basic rights are discarded.
This monument will serve as a symbol of Canadian values and diversity as much as a memorial for the millions of victims and families destroyed. It will be a testament to the Canadian commitment and resolve to never forget and always stand up against such atrocities.
Even to this day, there are people who deny that the Holocaust even happened. World leaders, such as Iran's Ahmadinejad, continue to deny on the world stage that the Holocaust even happened. As a tragic attack in Jerusalem two days ago showed, we can never forget the violence that anti-Semitism breeds.
I had the privilege of going to Israel a couple of years ago. I learned not only about the history of the region and the Jewish people, but also about the profound effect that the Holocaust has had on the victims, survivors and generations since then. It made me feel even stronger about this bill, which I had already introduced, and the importance of ensuring that young people in Canada remember the Holocaust and have a connection to it.
I am pleased that this bill was supported by all parties in the house because it is a non-partisan issue. It is important to all parties. I spoke to members of all parties and received great support. I was honoured to receive strong encouragement by the Prime Minister to introduce this bill.
This bill has a history. It was the idea of a student, Laura Grosman, to have this national Holocaust monument come through as a private member's bill. She brought it forward to then-Member of Parliament, Susan Kadis, who introduced it in the House. Unfortunately, it died on the Order Paper at the time. Susan Kadis was not re-elected. However, MP Peter Kent promised to Laura Grosman that he would bring it forward as a private member's bill. MP Peter Kent became Minister Peter Kent and was unable to introduce a private member's bill. Therefore, Minister Kent brought it to my attention because of my order; the order of precedence was a relatively low number or high up in the order of precedence. I was honoured to sponsor this bill. This bill has support from a wide range of groups and organizations such as the Canadian Jewish Congress and B'nai Brith; other organizations have written in and given their support to this bill.
I thank you for your work on this bill in trying to get it passed as soon as possible. It is an important bill to so many people. It would be important for us to get it through to Royal Assent as soon as possible. Thank you.
The Chair: Thank you. I will start with a couple of questions. How do you see the selection process working for the establishment of the Holocaust monument development council? Will you ask organizations to nominate certain people? How do you see that all unfolding?
Mr. Uppal: I see it as people being able to apply to it. There should be an open call to Canadians and stakeholder organizations for this application process. People who have knowledge of the Holocaust, show a commitment to education of the Holocaust, and are connected to it should be involved. Those people should apply and, through a process that the minister would set up, would be selected. It is very purposeful that the committee be a small committee. With five people, you can get something done.
The Chair: That is a good point. Do you see this committee going on indefinitely beyond the building of the monument? I do not see any provision in here for its dissolution.
Mr. Uppal: Once the funds are raised and the monument is completed, there is a provision that the funds be transferred over to the department that would oversee the monument. It should dissolve for official record-keeping reasons. People who are connected to this monument probably should continue in the sense of education. There should be an offshoot of education that surrounds this idea of the monument. With so many people coming to Ottawa every year, such as students, visitors and people from around the world, there should be effort put into educating them as well, even beyond the structure. The people who are involved in it from the beginning will probably want to be involved in that part of it as well.
The Chair: There is a commemoration held every year. This year, it is scheduled for May 2. It comes out of a piece of legislation of which I was one of the sponsors back in my House of Commons days. In previous years, it was held on Parliament Hill. However, in more recent times, it is held at the war museum. With regard to this monument, do you see a connection to that ceremony?
Mr. Uppal: In general, I definitely see a connection. Any time that we can bring different events together, it is a good thing. As of right now, we do not know exactly where this monument will be established. The location and land itself must be determined from the National Capital Commission. We do not even know the size and the scope of it. This is up to those who are involved: how large and what they want to do with it. However, if it is appropriate, we can have that event at the monument site; if not, at the war museum, which is a national treasure itself.
The Chair: Thank you. Congratulations for your effort here.
Mr. Uppal: Thank you.
Senator Eaton: Mr. Uppal, thank you. There is no question that Canada did terrible things to our Jewish friends by not letting them come here as refugees before the Second World War. I notice here that Daniel Libeskind has done a memorial at Pier 21. When you talk about education, I am wondering if it would not be more appropriate — the federal government is building this wonderful museum in Winnipeg on human rights — if you have something at Pier 21 where they turned away the ship so we remember then, would it not be stronger if it was put in conjunction with the museum of human rights in Winnipeg?
Mr. Uppal: We are looking forward to what this museum will be. It is important that it is in different parts of the country. Education must happen all over the country. I have spoken to people and stakeholders about this. There is something about a national monument in the nation's capital. It represents that we, as a country, together, stand up for this. It is very much a stated fact that if this is a national monument in the nation's capital, it really means something to people.
I believe having that national monument here in the capital will not take away from any of the other initiatives that are happening out on the coast with Pier 21. That is great, and that will be extremely educational to learn more about Canadian history, even the dark side of it. Of course, there is also the human rights museum. There will be a number of other atrocities and other things that will be recognized in that museum, as they should be.
This will not take away from anything else. Speaking to people who support this bill, they feel that there needs to be something in the nation's capital.
Senator Eaton: Is there one in Paris and London? I have been to Yad Vashem in Israel more than once, but I have never noticed those Holocaust memorials in London or Paris.
Mr. Uppal: There are ones in Amsterdam, Budapest, London, Paris, Washington and Berlin. Many other countries do have these national Holocaust monuments.
Senator Callbeck: Congratulations to you on your first private member's bill. I have a couple of questions on the legislation.
The council will be established, and anyone who possesses a strong interest, connection or familiarity with the Holocaust may apply. There is no remuneration to be paid. What about travel costs? If travel costs are not paid, it favours people living in this area because it is quite costly to come from Prince Edward Island or Vancouver.
Mr. Uppal: That is right. You are correct in that sense and I would envision some representation from across the country. We need someone from the West. I already have people interested; a local rabbi in Edmonton wants to be a part of this.
When this committee is struck, they will be asked to put together basically a non-profit organization. Just like any other non-profit organization, costs can be covered; as part of that, travel costs would definitely be covered.
I felt it was important that we did not get into a situation where this was a paid position to be part of this committee. However, I think covering costs is a very reasonable request, and should be done from their fundraising efforts.
Senator Callbeck: I am wondering about the members on the council. They will be responsible for raising the money. This says the council shall spearhead a fundraising campaign to cover the cost of constructing. According to this legislation, I thought that after the monument was built, that was the end of the council. You are talking about them carrying on educational programs as well. Is there a term for these members on the council?
Mr. Uppal: No, it was more in reference to answering Senator Eggleton's question about whether this council would have a connection to the monument afterwards. I think officially there must be a point where the funds are transferred over and the actual committee does dissolve. However, I would feel and hope that those connected with the monument from the beginning would continue to advocate for education and for this monument.
This bill does not have any type of official sense of a committee on education. There are great organizations that can probably continue to take that part on, but the committee that is officially struck by the minister will dissolve once this is constructed.
Senator Callbeck: It does not say that in the legislation.
Mr. Uppal: There is a part that says all the funds will be transferred over.
Senator Callbeck: I saw that.
It says the council shall establish bylaws to carry out its function. Will those bylaws be approved by the minister?
Mr. Uppal: I suppose that would be some type of usual practice. I have been a part of many organizations, as I am sure many of you have. If you have well-meaning people get together, I think the bylaws will be those to help the organization function in its role, which is to raise the funds for the monument. The bill does not say it has to be officially passed by the minister, but I am sure the minister will be involved in some way.
Senator Callbeck: Do you have any indication of the cost?
Mr. Uppal: No, I have left that open-ended. I purposely have not talked about a number because I think that is up to the organization that is struck. It is up to the people they speak to.
I have talked to organizations and stakeholders who have very grand and bold ideas of what this should be, and I have spoken to others who have a very simple idea and think that would be the best way to go. We will leave it up to the committee.
Senator Martin: One of my questions has already been answered because I was going to ask how you became the sponsor of this bill. You explained the history and the learning that has occurred in the process on your trip to Israel; thank you for giving us that understanding.
You also mentioned in one of your responses that there are people who support this bill. My question concerns the kind of support that this bill has received, not only within the Jewish community, but across Canada. As you say, it is something that is important to Canadians in terms of the values that we share and wish to uphold. What sort of support have you garnered for this bill, and what have you personally witnessed?
Mr. Uppal: Over the time I have sponsored this bill and have been across the country — whether I am specifically speaking about this bill or other issues — I have received a great deal of support from average Canadians. For one thing, they are surprised we do not have a national Holocaust monument; they strongly believe that the Holocaust should be remembered in this way in the nation's capital and they are willing to support it.
This is one of the reasons I really feel strongly that if we have a buy in from Canadians — the idea that Canadians themselves will be donating for the construction of it — there are so many people I meet who are willing to put their own money forward for the construction of this.
It goes beyond the Jewish community. I know there are many Jewish organizations and members of the Jewish community who are excited about supporting this. However, because I have talked to so many people, I feel it goes beyond the Jewish community. People feel this is an important initiative for Canada to have, and they are willing to put their personal support behind it. Part of that would be with personal donations as well.
As well, different religious organizations have responded to this. There is a group of members from the Sikh community that approached me; they wanted to know how they could be a part of it as well. I think we will have strong support from a wide range of Canadians from different backgrounds.
Senator Martin: Going back to the role of the minister, I think this template or approach is an interesting one. The departmental officials were saying that they will be involved in working with the minister and the council in a successful implement of the plan and to erect the monument.
I had said that if there were government funds attached, then it is precedent setting. However, the fact that this is not asking for money, that there are organizations that are willing to do the fundraising, is a very important point.
In contrast to the kind of support that you have received in the House or from other organizations, what concerns have been raised, and how have those concerns been addressed?
Mr. Uppal: I would say probably that one of the concerns that have been raised surrounds the funding of it. People have said you are asking the Jewish community to put up the money for this. I do not agree with that. This is an initiative that Canadians will be very pleased to support. I have spoken to Canadians. It is an initiative that they are willing to donate to. It definitely goes beyond the Jewish community.
With that said, organizations within the Jewish community are saying we are very pleased to be a part of this and we are willing to help out with the fundraising.
I can understand that concern there, but I feel this is the best way to go. It is still partnering with the government because the land will be put forward by the National Capital Commission, and also the connection with the department in trying to put all the different pieces together and get this monument erected.
Senator Martin: I could not remember if a designated area has been named.
Mr. Uppal: No, the bill says an appropriate piece of land will be established. Even for that, I believe there should be consultations with Canadians, consultations with the committee itself and the minister, in picking a piece of land that will be appropriate.
Senator Martin: It has been quite a process. Thank you for your work on this. I absolutely support it as well.
Mr. Uppal: Thank you.
Senator Demers: I was not very much aware of the bill as I was not available because of health issues. I have gone to Israel for three weeks. I have very special Jewish friends. We have an event in Montreal this Sunday. I am all for it. It is extremely sensitive, but in Canada, and I think this is a great situation, we seem to have not educated people about the Holocaust. I am not saying no one knows about it. When this is built or prepared, will there be some way to educate the people of the unbelievable situation people went through? We need to educate the people and let them know what this is all about, outside the Jewish population, if you like. Do you have plans for that?
Mr. Uppal: You are absolutely right. The Jewish community has been great in ensuring that their own young people are aware of the Holocaust. I am quite impressed when I meet young Jewish people, who have so much knowledge of their own history. It is so important that they have done that. There are community organizations that help fund young Jewish students to go to Israel and learn about that. I have spoken to other organizations and other communities that I think should be using that as a model to educate their own young people of their history.
As you said, we need to expand that education to the average Canadian. A lot of that needs to go through, I believe, our school system. I am sure there are Jewish organizations that have already started that. I know we learned about the Holocaust in school when I was there, but it almost seems like it is not enough. History from a textbook is never the same, unless you can see it. Whether that is in a museum to be built in Winnipeg, whether it is the project on the East Coast, Pier 21, or a monument in Ottawa, if you have these great establishments, you would learn more about it. As the call for members goes out, and as the fundraising effort is happening across the country, people will learn more about the Holocaust and the importance of remembering it as we go on.
Just the construction of this will be part of the education for the country.
Senator Ogilvie: Thank you, Mr. Uppal. I want to join the others in congratulating you for being able to move this forward, and now expeditiously at this stage.
This is a very important event in history to never lose sight of, and to continue to benefit society in learning lessons critical to human development.
My comment is more an observation that relates to questions that arose earlier from Senator Callbeck and others with regard to the council and organization. I felt this was a remarkably straightforward, logical sequence of steps in dealing with something so important and very cleanly organized. The issue with regard to the appointment and length of terms and that sort of thing of council members, those are the kinds of things that normally would be covered once the bylaws are adopted by the council.
Mr. Uppal: Yes.
Senator Ogilvie: All of the structural, administrative and ongoing, including the possibility of dissolution, are issues that would normally be developed by an organization as its bylaws, and this clearly lays that out. I think the answer to those questions is that that is where those details will occur, and I think that is a very important way of dealing with this.
Finally, with regard to there being the possibility of oversight, clearly you have anticipated the annual report of the council that must go to the minister. This is an act of Parliament and, therefore, there is de facto an ongoing supervision of the operation of this act, and the opportunity, should any unfortunate direction occur, to be able to deal with that. However, I would have great confidence that the way you have laid this out, and the nature of this particular monument, is one in which we are not likely going to need to worry about some of the things we might ordinarily be concerned about, and the bylaw operation allows us to be able to monitor in that manner. Once again, congratulations.
Mr. Uppal: Thank you.
The Chair: He agrees with you.
Senator Seidman: I would like to join the rest of my colleagues here in congratulating you on this bill. I know that all parties supported it in the house. I also see that it was amended. Could you tell us something about that amendment and what prompted it?
Mr. Uppal: I believe one or two of the amendments that did come forward happened in committee, at the parliamentary level. There was an amendment put in that said that the government would not be restricted to put funds toward this monument. That was something the members thought should be put in, so that if the government wanted to put money toward it, they can, if needed.
The amendment of the oversight was also put in at the committee level. Both of those are good amendments that I think add to the bill. I cannot remember if there were any other minor amendments, but coming out of committee, I have to say the bill is still within the same scope and its initial intent stayed the same. There were several things that other members added to the bill that made it a clearer and a fuller bill.
Senator Seidman: You are saying it was to increase the transparency and accountability of the council.
Mr. Uppal: Yes. That is always a good thing.
Senator Seidman: Thank you very much. Good luck.
Senator Dyck: I, too, would like to congratulate you on bringing forward this bill. It is really important for us, in Canada and across the world, to recognize the frailty of human nature and the dark side of human nature and how easily we can enter into things that are absolutely horrible. Something like a monument reminds us of that so that we do not forget.
I have two short questions for you. One has to do with the fundraising. I am wondering if you envision corporate donations as a possibility. This is probably up to the council, but during the drafting of the bill you probably thought of corporate donations and whether there would be a spot on the monument where there would be names recorded of those who donated, that sort of thing.
Mr. Uppal: Being a part of other fundraising efforts, whether it is for a hospital or other community initiatives, that is usually a very important part of your fundraising — when you walk into a children's hospital and you have the names of families who donated to the hospital.
In this case, I will leave it up to the committee if it would be appropriate or not. I suppose if there is a tasteful way to do it, it probably would help the fundraising effort, and those organizations or even corporate organizations can show their connection to the monument. It would have to be done in a tasteful way because this monument is not like any other fundraising effort.
Senator Dyck: My second question concerns the public consultations. Do you have any idea regarding how those will be held? Will they go across Canada? That goes back to the question of resources. Would resources then come from the minister's office in order for there to be consultations held all across Canada?
Mr. Uppal: I believe they should be held all across Canada. Public consultation is important. With new technology, there are many ways to get people's input. Last night, I had the opportunity to speak at a tele-town hall on this bill. A friend of mine, Mark Adler, held this town hall. At one point, he had over 2,700 people listening in on the conference call on this bill, what it involves and how it would become an actual monument. There are many ways that we can get public consultation, whether it is through the Internet or face to face. It is all valuable.
Senator Cordy: Congratulations on being able to move this bill forward. It is a great idea to have this monument in Ottawa. I have been to a couple of Holocaust museums and monuments. It is very moving and it is important that we have such things to remind people about history so that we do not repeat its mistakes. The farther away or more removed we are from when these event took place, the more faded it becomes in people's minds. This monument is a great idea to remind people. I am from Nova Scotia. We have the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21, which is amazing, for anyone who has not seen it. We owe a debt of gratitude to Ruth Goldbloom for what she did in setting up Pier 21.
Why do we need a bill to build the museum? It seems to be something that a group of Canadians can get together and do. I am not saying that we should not have the bill. However, I do not know why we need a bill to have such a monument.
Mr. Uppal: You are right. I was surprised that we did not have a monument already. There is so much that goes on in running a country and so many things happening around the world. Perhaps it takes someone to spearhead something. I am not the first person who has brought this forward. However, I hope we can get this done and established. You are correct. Many years ago, it could have come forward as an idea such as this.
Senator Cordy: However, from a legal perspective, do we need a bill to build a monument?
Mr. Uppal: That is correct. Technically, one must have the National Capital Commission donate the land. Many things come together for the fundraising effort and to be able to construct a monument on public land. There are many legal aspects to it.
If a private organization got together and said, "We are putting money forward. Where can we put this monument?" In order for it to be a national Holocaust monument, it would need to be connected to the Government of Canada and also be on Canadian land. There must be that legal connection.
Senator Cordy: At least it is going to happen. That is the important thing.
Mr. Uppal: I agree.
Senator Braley: This is a great bill and there will be enthusiastic support for it across the country.
Clause 6 in the bill says, "choose a suitable area of public land." Does that negate the possibility of buying land?
Mr. Uppal: That will be up to the National Capital Commission.
Senator Braley: Was it envisioned that it would be on land that they already owned?
Mr. Uppal: Yes. They own quite a bit of land in the Ottawa area. There should not be a problem in finding suitable land.
Senator Braley: I was just asking the question.
Subclause 7(2) says, "The Council shall spearhead a fundraising campaign to cover the cost of constructing the Monument." Do they anticipate raising all of the money, even though the subclause was added two paragraphs below?
Mr. Uppal: Yes. It is possible. I fully have confidence in those who support this monument that the full amount of the money will be raised.
Senator Braley: Does the council dissolve when you transfer all the money after the monument is finished? Or, does it stay on to raise money for operating costs?
Mr. Uppal: This was not clear. There is an amendment to be put in there that would make this clearer. Sometimes, the intent of the bill is not clear.
I intended that the fundraising effort would also cover the maintenance. There is no actual operating cost because it is a monument. However, if there was enough money that would also cover that, it would be great. It was not as clear in the bill. We tried to put in an amendment that would make that more clear. I have full confidence that there will be enough money in there to do that.
Senator Merchant: I am pleased that we can find ways to remember the sacrifices that people have made. We, as Canadians, know about the Holocaust. However, younger people, such as our children and grandchildren, are far removed from it. My father fought in the Second World War on the side of Greece. We are Greek and he was living in Greece at the time. My husband's father fought on behalf of Canada in the British army. He was killed in Holland in 1944. Their sacrifices, and those of millions of other people, should be recognized. Any time we can get together for that reason is good. You have put this bill together and you have thought about how you will go about doing it. It is a worthwhile project and I wish you all the best.
The Chair: That completes the list. Everyone has had a turn at making comments and asking questions. It certainly looks unanimous at this point in time; however, we have more people to hear from. Thank you.
We will change the witnesses at the end of the table. Feel welcome, if you have time to stay to do so and join our audience.
Mr. Uppal: I would like to.
The Chair: Welcome now to our second panel on Bill C-442. We have two witnesses with us today. A third one, B'nai Brith Canada, has submitted a letter, which you have in front of you.
Present today, representing the Canadian Jewish Congress, CJC, is Bernie M. Farber, Chief Executive Officer, CEO. The Canadian Jewish Congress is an organization that seeks to provide a proactive defence of security status and the rights of the Canadian Jewish community and advocates on their behalf to advance these objectives.
The Canadian Society for Yad Vashem is represented by Yaron Ashkenazi, who is their Executive Director. Yad Vashem is the Holocaust remembrance and education centre in Jerusalem, and the Canadian Society for Yad Vashem functions as its representative organization in Canada, and works to raise awareness of the Holocaust and its universal lesson for all Canadians through the promotion of educational initiatives.
For the record, I am an honorary director of the Canadian Society for Yad Vashem and have been for several years, but I have no pecuniary interest in either the organization or the project that is the subject of this bill.
Having said that, let me call upon them to give us some brief remarks, five to seven minutes. First is Mr. Farber.
Bernie M. Farber, Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Jewish Congress: Thank you, Mr. Chair. I am pleased to be here today. Thank you for the opportunity to present the Jewish community's point of view on a national Holocaust monument and Bill C-442.
Let me first express our sincere appreciation to the sponsors of this important private member's bill: Tim Uppal, MP, who you just heard from, and Senator Tardif and Senator Harb. I also pay special tribute to Laura Grosman, Executive Director of the Canadian Holocaust Memorial Project, whose vision, dedicated effort and tenacity have brought us to where we are today.
Honourable senators, at the outset of my remarks, I wish to articulate to you clearly and unequivocally our position with respect to Bill C-442. CJC, the Jewish community of Canada and the leadership of the Holocaust survivors in our midst wholeheartedly support the legislation exactly as you received it from the other place. We ask for no changes; we ask for no amendments.
I can assure you that in my two decades-plus of advocacy on the Hill, I have developed a deep respect and admiration for the important work of the Senate, and I have seen some brilliant contributions to legislation and public policy from the upper chamber. Indeed, we have too much respect for the Senate to ask that you merely rubber-stamp a bill from the other place, but that is not what we see happening here. While we regard the Holocaust monument as a critical site for all Canadians, you are hearing today from the primary stakeholder community that we support the legislation that you have before you.
With the utmost respect, I say to you, honourable senators, that after you are done hearing from witnesses, your work is over. We implore you to report the bill back to the full Senate without amendment and pass it at third reading so that it might receive Royal Assent as quickly as possible.
Senators, if I may be blunt — and people who know me know that sometimes I am — time is our enemy. That eminent philosopher, Yogi Berra, once observed that predictions are difficult to make, especially about the future. Nonetheless, one need not have a Ph.D. in political science to appreciate the heightened possibility of a general election in the offing — a development that will send Bill C-442 to an unwarranted death once again.
I say "once again" because, as you know, this bill has some history. Here I pause to acknowledge with gratitude former member of Parliament Susan Kadis and current MP Anita Neville, who sponsored earlier incarnations of this legislation which also died on the Order Paper. I would also be remiss if I did not acknowledge my friend, my MP in my riding, Peter Kent, for his stalwart support of the present bill before you.
Plainly put, we need to move quickly on this bill to ensure that it receives Royal Assent before any writ is dropped. In the manner of our book of Ecclesiastes, there is a time to reflect and a time to act. I submit to you that the time for reflection is over and the time to act is now.
Senators, time is also our enemy because the generation of Holocaust survivors that came to Canada after the war and made extraordinary contributions to all aspects of Canadian society is up against the actuarial tables. With the memories of their experiences seared in their minds, they bear witness to the hate and brutality that was unleashed in the name of the "final solution." With their quiet dignity, they beseech us not only to remember, but to look forward and apply the lessons learned.
The monument will speak eloquently for them when their voices and personal testimony are stilled. However, if I may speak bluntly again, they deserve to see this monument erected and dedicated while they live and we must not fail them.
In his remarkable speech of March 23, 2000, at Yad Vashem, Israel's Holocaust memorial and museum, Pope John Paul II stated:
The world must heed the warning that comes to us from the victims of the Holocaust and from the testimony of the survivors.
I am here before you in their name. I am here for Mendele, who survived the mass execution of his village by feigning death under the corpses of his family and friends, and fought with the partisans against the Nazis. I am here for Nathan, who saw his mother and younger sister marched to the gas chambers of Auschwitz-Birkenau from the ill-fated turn of a thumb of Josef Mengele. I am here for Bronya, who bravely fought the Nazis in the Warsaw ghetto against all odds and then survived the death camps.
I am here for Max, who lost his entire family in the Shoah, fought with the partisans, then came to Canada to rebuild his life and witness his eldest son become the CEO of the Canadian Jewish Congress; and I am here for my two half-brothers, Yitzhak and Shalom, whose cries I still hear in my sleep.
Honourable senators, Canada is virtually the only country among the Western Allies not to have a monument to the Holocaust in its national capital and this bill will rectify that. The monument will provide a fitting tribute to the victims and survivors of the Holocaust, but it will also honour the tremendous sacrifice of the Canadian military's role during the Second World War and its outstanding contribution to the defeat of Nazism.
It will further preserve the sacred memory of the "righteous among the nations," those selfless, dedicated non-Jewish individuals who risked their lives and the lives of their families to save Jews during the war.
As Canada's capital, Ottawa is a city for all Canadians, as well as the base of the international diplomatic corps. This monument will undoubtedly become a landmark in the capital and a highlight for the thousands of students and other visitors who come here each year. A Holocaust monument sponsored by the national government in the National Capital Region would serve to remind all visiting Canadians and tourists alike of the impact of the hate and xenophobia that is present still to this day around the world.
It will serve as a reminder of the need to combat racism, anti-Semitism and discrimination in all of its manifestations in Canada and around the world. Such education is critical to promoting core Canadian values of respect for diversity, social justice and equality, and to inculcating in our young people the importance of human rights and human dignity.
The Holocaust represents the starkest illustration of what happens when ethnic and religious hatred are allowed to permeate society while individuals and peoples remain bystanders.
In her remarkable novel, The History of Love, author Nicole Krauss tells of a boy and a girl in a small village in Poland growing up in the pre-war period and coming of age after the Nazi invasion. The boy, now a man and the narrator of the novel, recalls that for her 16th birthday, he gave her an English dictionary and together they learned the words.
Later, when things happened that they could never have imagined, she wrote him a letter that said,
When will you learn that there isn't a word for everything?
It is true, my friends, as it has been said, there have been things in Jewish history too horrible to be believed, but not too horrible to have happened. Nothing epitomizes this more than the Shoah, the Holocaust.
Indeed, the Holocaust represents a watershed in human history, a period of horror that redefined the limits of the depravity of human nature, and expanded humanity's consciousness of evil. The Holocaust has become the seminal point of departure for understanding the general potential of humankind for such inhumanity.
The Holocaust was unprecedented in the sheer scope and nature of its murderous agenda. Though not the first genocide in human history and, sadly, also not the last, the Holocaust serves as the definition of the utter negation of human rights.
It was a slaughter organized on bureaucratic principles and executed on an industrial scale. It was undertaken with contemptuous disregard for the humanity of its victims, let alone for any inherent rights to which they might be entitled by virtue of that humanity.
In the end, dear senators, the Nazis murdered the vast majority of Jews that were under their control during the Second World War, including the killing of 1.5 million children as part of the horrific scheme to eradicate the Jewish genetic pool. It is true that the Nazi war machine was responsible for millions of other civilian casualties, including the mass murder of political opponents, the Sinti and Romany people, homosexuals, and persons with mental disabilities. We mourn these senseless deaths and this monument will honour their memory as well; but it was only the Jews who were fated for total destruction.
In the words of Nobel Peace Laureate Elie Wiesel, "Not all victims were Jews, but all Jews were victims."
Honourable senators, it is also incumbent upon us to recall that many of those victims were denied haven in this country by the exclusionary war-time immigration policy that we have come to know infamously as "none is too many." This policy tragically played out in the government's refusal in 1939 to allow the mooring of the MS St. Louis carrying over 900 Jewish refugees. The ship returned to Europe and hundreds of the doomed passengers perished in the Holocaust.
Working with Multiculturalism Canada and Pier 21, as has been noted, the immigration museum, CJC recently erected a profound memorial to the MS St. Louis designed by world-renowned architect Daniel Libeskind. I invite you to visit this extraordinary sculpture at Pier 21 in Halifax.
At the same time, you will appreciate the impact this monument will have on our young people, as has been mentioned already, looking at the world and wondering why the cry of "never again" that emerged from the ashes of the Holocaust has become "again and again."
The book on 20th century genocide that should have closed with the Holocaust has subsequent chapters titled Cambodia, Rwanda, Kosovo, and the hopeful promise of lessons learned entering a new millennium has given way to a new ugly chapter still being written called Darfur, one that may at last be moving to a conclusion.
Honourable senators, the writer, James M. Barrie, once said, "God gave us memory so that we might have roses in December." I would argue that in the case of the Shoah we must commit ourselves and future generations to precisely the opposite. That is to say, in the summer when we have roses we will never allow ourselves to forget the genocidal winter that descended upon the world some 70 years ago.
Honourable senators, I know that there is earnest support on all sides for this legislation, for all of the reasons I have articulated and that you have articulated.
The words have now all been spoken. The clearest manifestation of your support will be the swift passage of this legislation toward the goal of establishing a long-overdue monument to the Holocaust in our nation's capital.
In its concluding declaration, the January 2000 Stockholm international forum on the Holocaust recognized that, "The Holocaust (Shoah) fundamentally challenged the foundations of civilization. The unprecedented character of the Holocaust will always hold universal meaning. . . The magnitude of the Holocaust, planned and carried out by the Nazis, must be forever seared in our collective memory."
In conclusion, honourable senators, the Holocaust memorial in the great city of Ottawa will help sear the Shoah in our collective national memory. It will stand as a permanent symbol of our national will to remember and hallow, yes, but also to study and learn the lessons of the Holocaust and to apply these principles to steer humankind toward a brighter future of peace, equality and justice.
It will honour Bronya, Mendele, my father, Max, and my 10-year-old and 12-year-old half-brothers. This will be our testament, my friends; this will be our legacy. Thank you very much.
Yaron Ashkenazi, Executive Director, Canadian Society for Yad Vashem: I was notified yesterday, at about noon, about the meeting of this committee. As a matter of fact, I prepared during the night a nice and educated speech to you. However, after the perfect and educated speech of my friend, Mr. Farber, I will try to bring to this committee a different perspective.
Again, I am the executive director of the Canadian Society for Yad Vashem. I have been with them for over 15 years. This is one of those days that I feel that we have to salute the Parliament of Canada — not only as a Canadian but also as a Jewish person.
I am jumping in a second to what you said, Senator Demers — education, education, education. Everything is education. The Canadian Society for Yad Vashem strongly supports the bill. One can ask, why does Canada have to build a monument in Ottawa that commemorates the Holocaust? We feel there are three main reasons. First, we believe it will present a strong educational element. It will present to the public and to the young generations in Canada a strong message that the story of the Shoah was very sad and unique for the Jewish nation, but basically the lessons of the Shoah, unfortunately, are relevant to our time now and to the future. We have to educate the younger generations with the lessons of the Shoah, the story of the Shoah in order to allow them to understand how fortunate they are living in this country, with its multicultural structure, so much tolerance and so few occasions of anti-Semitism and racism.
We also strongly believe that the monument will send a strong message to the Canadian Holocaust survivors who came here after the war and rebuilt their lives. From time to time, we are awarding Holocaust survivors for what they did in Canada after the war.
My first statement when I came here from Israel was that the fact that they had succeeded in rebuilding their lives after the Shoah is already enough to get the maximum award that one can present to someone. That will not only send a strong message to the Holocaust survivors, it will also send a strong message to all Canadians who had relatives who were murdered or killed during the Shoah. Furthermore, we believe it will represent a symbol of pride to Canadians, also bearing in mind what you mentioned, namely, that Canada stood with their Allies and risked the lives of their soldiers just to implement justice.
We strongly believe that Canada should adopt this bill. I said I will also try to be practical as to what we can bring to this committee with respect to our experience. I shortened dramatically the speech about the need for this bill, as it was presented so well by Mr. Farber and we completely share the same opinions.
About 15 years ago, the founders of the Canadian Society for Yad Vashem, which represents Yad Vashem across the country, decided to build a monument in Toronto that would commemorate the Holocaust. It was a private initiative that was implemented by those founders of the society. This monument, and I presented to you a picture of the monument — it is an architectural sketch of the site — is attended by thousands of students, Holocaust survivors and Canadians every year.
On the site, we are implementing commemoration events on Holocaust Remembrance Day that are attended by more than 2,000 people every year, as well as other educational initiatives. The idea is to bring the young generation to the site. They must see the site and those thousands of names that are, unfortunately, a fraction of the 6 million names of those murdered during the Shoah. When one sees the site and the space that is needed in order to commemorate only 2,000 names, suddenly one understands what 1.5 million children means and what 6 million murdered people means.
We had the experience of designing, building, maintaining and operating events around this site during the last 15 years. We have a huge and unique site in Jerusalem, which a few of you have had the opportunity to visit. Every year, the Yad Vashem hosts more than 1.2 million visitors and more than 350 educators in our special schools, for more than 150 countries every year. It is back to the education, education, education.
We strongly support the bill and the fact that Canada must have a national monument in Ottawa. At the same time, after building the monument — which I am sure will be very impressive and important for the Holocaust survivors, their relatives and any Canadians — Canada must ensure to implement some educational activities because this is the idea.
I will allow you to ask questions, if you would like, about what we did at Yad Vashem concerning monuments, memory and education. You may ask about what we did in Toronto with the monument we built or any other question that I can answer.
The Chair: Thank you. Among all the names, Mr. Farber, you might add our official sponsor of the bill in the Senate, Senator Yonah Martin.
Some people who have been looking at this might think it is a proposal for the monument in Ottawa. However, I looked at it and said that is the one that already exists in Toronto. Is this a proposal of yours for the one in Ottawa?
Mr. Ashkenazi: No. This is the one that exists in Toronto. I can tell you, if you want, about the structure of the site.
The Chair: Someone might ask you about that. I have been there many times; therefore, I know it well. I have also been to the Yad Vashem in Jerusalem on a number of occasions, including during the opening ceremony of the new facility at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem.
Senator Cordy: Thank you both for your presentations. Mr. Farber, your presentation was one of the best I have ever heard in the Senate. Congratulations to you on that. I could feel the emotion of when I was in the Holocaust museum in Israel. When you were speaking, you brought back the stories I saw then. I hope that educators who are watching on CPAC will tape it so that they can show their students. The farther removed we become from events that have taken place, the less memory there often is. That is the advantage to a monument or a museum. People can see what happened and, hopefully, learn not to repeat the mistakes we have made. I liked your saying from James M. Barrie that God gave us memory so we might have roses in December. You articulately combined sports, the Bible and politics all into one speech. Congratulations to you.
When we were speaking before your presentation, we talked about why it had to be a bill and why a group of Canadians could not just get together to build the monument, as happened in Toronto. I wonder if you could explain that to us.
Mr. Farber: Thank you for the question. I apologize to Senator Martin. I knew that Senator Martin sponsored the bill in the Senate. We give our deepest thanks for your support of the bill here in the Senate, Senator Martin.
I cannot emphasize enough the absolute need for the imprimatur of the national federal government toward a Holocaust monument. The memorial in Toronto is outstanding. It was really done by Holocaust survivors.
Ottawa is the city of my birth and the city where my late father came to start his life all over again. It would have been something special for him to have had a place to commemorate and say the Kaddish, a prayer for the dead within our religious tradition, on his two children, his seven brothers and sisters and on his friends and relatives. He did not have that. That is number one.
There are still survivors with us today. The time is moving all too fast. It would be wonderful to have, in the long run, a place honoured by Canada and this government that says that all of us, not just Jewish Canadians but all of us as Canadians, honour, revere, respect and memorialize what happened in the Shoah. That is the message. That is also the message that young people will take back.
We bring many thousands of high school students to Holocaust education centres in various places in Canada — Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. However, we cannot say to them, "This is something that Canada has sponsored." We could if we lived in London because there is a museum sponsored by the British government. We could in Paris because there is an incredibly intense monument sponsored by the French government. This is the same for Belgium, Holland or Australia; however, we cannot here. We will be able to after Bill C-442 receives Royal Assent. For me, that is a life-long dream. I hope that punctuates the need for a national Holocaust monument.
Senator Cordy: Thank you. That was clear. I look forward to being at the official unveiling of the national Holocaust monument. Thank you both.
Senator Eaton: Those were both wonderful presentations. What concerns me most is the way that anti-Semitism has continued in this country. I am thinking specifically about the universities. That really bothers me. York University drives me crazy, as does U of T, University of Toronto, with some of the trade union positions they have taken. Is there not a way that we could use the national monument to go into universities, whether it is by a virtual tour or a replica? There is so much misinformation. Israel is used as the bad guy in the Middle East. There is so much misinformation.
Mr. Ashkenazi: I agree with you. The situation in universities must bring us to some action. What we have done in the Canadian Society for Yad Vashem in the last few years is very unique. Five years ago, we decided to send officials and educators from across the country to Jerusalem, every year for five years. Ninety-five per cent of them are not Jewish. We have already sent more than 125 educators, principals and professors to Jerusalem.
Senator Eaton: Do you feel that is making a difference?
Mr. Ashkenazi: It is making a huge difference. Not only is it making a huge difference, you referred before to the fact that the national Holocaust Remembrance Day used to be celebrated on Parliament Hill and then at the war museum in the last two years. We had the privilege of organizing it as the Canadian Society for Yad Vashem, in leading a coalition of 25 organizations.
For sure, this is one kind of event that can be at the national site, but I mention it only in reference to what you said. In the last two years, we decided to bring hundreds of educators and their students to this national ceremony in Ottawa. Those educators who have been to Yad Vashem are ambassadors of the fact that you have to tell and educate the stories of the Shoah in order to better understand tolerance and the acceptance of the difference.
Each one of them is implementing many initiatives within their schools and universities. Those educators actively respond to our call and they bring their students to this national ceremony, which can take place later on at the site of the national Holocaust monument in Ottawa, after the enactment of the bill.
Certainly, we think we have to bring educators and students to the site. It will be a unique initiative. I think there is also a demand on the side of the educators and their students to do something like that, which is very impressive and interesting.
Senator Eaton: You are looking forward as opposed to backwards.
Mr. Ashkenazi: Yes.
Mr. Farber: If I may address the issue of anti-Semitism, I am not glad you brought it up, but I am pleased to address it because I think it is an important issue.
I have described anti-Semitism as kind of a disease — a virus, if you will. It does not matter when it happens in history; it sort of gloms onto the host and finds different ways to express itself. Yes, we are seeing anti-Semitism morph into anti-Zionism and anti-Israelism. It is almost becoming difficult to tell one from the other.
A monument such as this, I think, gives expression to the vast majority of Canadians who I believe are civil, decent and get it, but do not always have the opportunity to see it stark, right in front of them. Our ability now to be able to use this kind of a monument — with the stamp of approval, with the imprimatur of our federal government — I think will send a strong message to the haters out there that nobody cares, nobody is listening to them, nobody wants to hear from them.
That kind of an education is invaluable in the long run. While anti-Semitism will always be with us, sad to say, because we do not live in a perfect world, we have the ability by doing things like this, by getting together as Canadians and doing the right thing, to lessen it — and by lessening it, making the world just a little bit better.
Senator Eaton: You are right. We have to get this bill through the Senate now to pass tomorrow or it falls off.
Mr. Farber: We have runners ready to bring it for Royal Assent.
Senator Eaton: That is right; today.
Senator Merchant: I, too, would like to say that both your speeches were very moving. It is good for us to reflect on what happened.
I have been fortunate enough also to have gone to Jerusalem. When you are near these places, you feel differently. One has an opportunity to think about what they really mean. I think this monument will serve Canadians well.
I also think that having it in the capital region and having the sponsorship of the federal government, as you have explained, is a very important sign that this is part of how Canadians feel.
There were some questions of the previous presenter about exactly what your expectations are when you speak about sponsorship. What exactly is it that you want the government to do?
Mr. Farber: From the point of view of the Canadian Jewish Congress, we are putting our 92-year history and integrity completely and totally behind this initiative. We will work with the council that is put together in order to do fundraising. You asked about corporate sponsorship; we will look at ideas for corporate sponsorship. We will look at ideas for individual sponsorship.
I can tell you already that when this bill was making news, not all that long ago when it was going through the other place, I had maybe a dozen calls from Holocaust survivors who were passionately overwhelmed and wanting to know how they could contribute. They feel they want to contribute. The concept that Mr. Uppal came up with, that there would be this opportunity for Canadians to become part of this, gives them an empowerment that I think is so important.
Through our aegis and with our connections to other Jewish organizations — hopefully to work in partnership with the Canadian Society for Yad Vashem and all the Jewish federations — we have a pool of possibilities that is just amazing. To the credit of our community, and I say this with deep reverence to many individuals, their philanthropy is well known. I think this will be a huge expression for them of their Canadianism.
Let me tell you two quick stories if you do not mind, to buttress this. I have been to Yad Vashem, as many of you have here, and I led a tour of First Nations chiefs from Canada to Israel about four years ago. There were 30 of us altogether. I learned as much about First Nations people, I suppose, as they learned about Israel but we ended up one day at Yad Vashem.
After going through the museum, we all came outside. For those who have been there, you know you come out and see before you the expanse that is Jerusalem; it is quite overwhelming. We gathered in a friendship circle, put together by the First Nations chiefs, to remember two things: the residential schools and what happened to their children; and what happened to our children.
We had this opportunity to express our pain in a way that I have never felt before. It was a unique coming together of First Nations people and Canadian Jews in the State of Israel over a museum that not only educated, but helped us look forward to the future by understanding the past.
When you ask how this all comes together in a Canadian way, this is one example of how it does.
The Chair: I should mention that the official Liberal sponsor of the bill, Senator Harb, is not here but he is also very supportive.
Senator Martin: My colleagues have already expressed what they accurately describe as your presentation and our response to it. Thank you very much for being here and for the dedication that you have given to your respective organizations. It was very emotive and touches a cord in all of us and in me personally.
You quoted one of my favourite passages from the Book of Ecclesiastes, 13, which goes on to talk about being happy and doing good in this life. I feel quite privileged that we are here at a historic time to support this important bill. I am honoured to have been asked to sponsor it in the Senate. I wanted to recognize the work of Mr. Uppal and all those, including yourselves, who were part of the process.
I think the monument will be this very important symbol of remembrance. That is something Canadians do value and understand as a tradition. We gather around cenotaphs and memorial monuments on Remembrance Day and on other important occasions. It adds a centring piece for the larger community to come together.
My question concerns what happens once it is built. The beginning of the next phase can sometimes be the biggest challenge. You spoke of education and maintenance. Could you speak to the post-establishment period in maintaining the upkeep? What happens with commemorative ceremonies and other initiatives like that? What have you done with other monuments that can be adopted for this one?
Mr. Ashkenazi: The monument in Toronto was established 15 years ago. The idea came from the founders of the Canadian Society for Yad Vashem that is made up of Holocaust survivors. I will tell you the story. They decided to visit the Yad Vashem. It was discovered that, for one of the founders, it was his first time there.
I do not know how many of you had the opportunity to visit the valley of the communities when you visited Yad Vashem. It is a very interesting place. It illustrates the centre of Europe, north of Europe, south of Europe and the north side of Africa. One can see the names of the communities that were destroyed during the Holocaust.
Those two gentlemen went to visit the valley of the communities in Yad Vashem. It took a long time to convince one of them to visit the site. He said, "My daughter was thrown from the window before my eyes by the Nazis. Then they threw my wife. Then they threw me. I survived, but they did not. What can I see and learn in the Yad Vashem that I do not know already?" He came to the valley of the communities. He stood there and he was not able to move for two hours. This story is a symbol of the importance of the physical monuments for those Holocaust survivors who lost their loved ones. They need to have a place to come, pray the Kaddish, light a candle and do something that will connect them back to this painful story.
They decided to build a site. It took about two years to design the site and to get permission from the Toronto City Council. The site has two main components. One is a torch; around the torch are eight very big, granite walls. On the north side of them, facing the entrance, are the names of people who have been murdered in the Shoah. These are relatives of Canadians. On the south side are the names of Holocaust survivors who survived the Shoah, came to Canada to rebuild their lives and then perished. On the back side of those panels, there is the narrative of the story of the Shoah. This is, in short, the structure of the site.
There are two or three main kinds of events at the site. On the Day of the Shoah, the Holocaust Remembrance Day, we have a big ceremony with more than 2,000 people from the Toronto community, Jewish and non-Jewish. They come to the site and we have a special ceremony, in collaboration with many organizations in Toronto, Jewish and non-Jewish. At the end of the ceremony, many of the Holocaust survivors and their families go back to the site, light candles and say the Kaddish.
In the last few years, we have been seeing more situations where groups of educators bring their children and students together with the Holocaust survivors. They do not have any familial connection with them. However, they stand next to them in front of the wall and cry.
We also have a bar mitzvah program when a Jewish child reaches the age of 12 or 13 and comes to the age of maturity. We have a special program called the bar mitzvah twinning program, whereby a child adopts a child of the same age who was murdered during the Shoah, with the same date of birth. It is a special ceremony where the child adopts his name and memory for life. We do it on the site together with the students, teachers and family members. We also have ceremonies with Canadian veterans, Jewish and non-Jewish.
To build a site, the monument, in the capital of Canada is very important. We highly recommend it. The council will think also about maintaining the site, not only physically, but also as far as the events and initiatives that will be implemented there.
It cost the society approximately $1 million to build the site in two years. The operational costs are not so high. We must add the cost for the events themselves. It depends on what kind of event, structure and how many people are invited. These are the simple numbers and figures.
Mr. Farber: Senator Martin, I thank you for the question. As the mover of the bill, it is an important question that you ask. Jews are good at memory. We do memory very well. Time is against the survivors today. I am part of the second generation. My mother came prior to the war; my father was a survivor. I am a first-generation Canadian and we are known as a second generation, post-Holocaust. We have taken up the torch. I cannot imagine a situation where, once this is built, there will not be children of survivors and grandchildren of survivors who will carry this torch as long as it needs to be carried.
Mr. Ashkenazi explained the concept of bar mitzvah twinning beautifully. My brother, Stan, who works for the federal government, has twin boys. Their bar mitzvah was a year-and-a-half ago in Ottawa. They twinned with our two half-brothers, Yitzhak and Shalom, and gave them a bar mitzvah that they never had. It was one of the most moving experiences for our family's lives and for those at the synagogue here in Ottawa as well. There is so much that we can continue to do. In the end, this monument will give us that impetus. I have no doubt that we will find whatever resources are necessary for a timely memorial, to ensure its upkeep, and to ensure people come and honour it.
Senator Dyck: Gentlemen, thank you for your presentations this morning. Often, when we are looking at bills, we are engaged only on the intellectual level. Today, you have made it very personal, emotional and spiritual. Mr. Farber, when you talked about the First Nations chiefs and the residential schools, I practically burst into tears.
A few years back, in Saskatoon, we had the Anne Frank exhibit. That was a collaborative effort amongst various members of the community, including some from the Jewish communities as well as the Aboriginal groups. We have a lot to learn from each other.
My mother was a residential school survivor. In our experiences, we have some similarities. I see the value of something like this because it educates Canadians about the darker side of humanity. People have survived, and we cannot forget.
Canada is a great country. We want to ensure that anti-Semitism and racism die away. It will never die away, as you say. However, we must continue to stay on top of it, so that it cannot flourish. Thank you.
The Chair: Thank you very much, Senator Dyck.
That completes my list, unless you have any closing comments. You have been powerful in your presentations today; we appreciate that.
Mr. Farber: I would like to make one observation. I look at this honourable committee and those who have sponsored this bill, both in the other place and in the upper chamber, and it is truly a reflection of what Canada is all about. Senator Martin as one of the movers, Senator Harb as another mover and Mr. Uppal who did it in the House of Commons. Is it not remarkable that people of different ethnic backgrounds, who have adopted Canada as their home have all come together — interestingly enough, none of them Jewish — to sponsor this incredibly powerful statement of what Canada is all about?
Senator Dyck, I, too, am moved to tears. I shed many that day in Jerusalem with the First Nations chiefs, because of that connectedness that we had.
In the end, I can only raise the memory of my late father who, wherever he is, I am sure, cannot be anything but proud to see his son here today. It was not far from this very committee room that he had a small grocery store.
In a way, he was the purveyor of multiculturalism. Because he was from Europe, he spoke many languages, which I can only aspire to in one. He used to have a card on his cash register that said, "I am pleased to serve you in English, Yiddish, Ukrainian, German and Polish." Sandy Hill, at the time, was truly the multicultural place in Ottawa, where all the recent immigrants came. They came to this little grocery store, the Osgoode Food Market, where all these different languages were spoken, but the common language ended up being English.
This is a reflection of who we are and what we are all about. I am proud to be here and listening to the kind of support that I am hearing today. I look forward to standing with you, when this monument is erected, and giving you all a big hug. Thank you all very much.
Senator Demers: I will be with friends on Sunday, 600 people honouring a Jewish friend of mine. I will say that I introduced and passed the bill. Senator Martin will be in Vancouver and will have no clue what is going on. I have not had a standing ovation in a long time, and I just want a standing ovation.
Senator Cordy: You go right ahead.
The Chair: Go ahead; we will not contradict you. That is quite all right.
Thank you again. You may wish to take a seat for a moment, because we are about to deal with this bill in clause-by-clause consideration.
We are dealing with Bill C-442, An Act to establish a National Holocaust Monument.
Is it agreed that the committee proceed to clause-by-clause consideration of Bill C-442?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
The Chair: Shall the title stand postponed?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
The Chair: Shall the preamble stand postponed?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
The Chair: Shall clause 1, which contains the short title, stand postponed?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
The Chair: Shall clause 2 carry?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
The Chair: Shall clause 3 carry?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
The Chair: Shall clause 4 carry?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
The Chair: Shall clause 5 carry?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
The Chair: Shall clause 6 carry?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
The Chair: Shall clause 7 carry?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
The Chair: Shall clause 8 carry?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
The Chair: Shall clause 9 carry?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
The Chair: Shall clause 10 carry?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
The Chair: Shall clause 11 carry?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
The Chair: Back to clause 1. Shall it carry?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
The Chair: Shall the preamble carry?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
The Chair: Shall the title carry?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
The Chair: Shall the bill carry?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
The Chair: Does the committee wish to consider appending observations to the report?
Senator Ogilvie: No, just enthusiasm.
The Chair: Is it agreed that I report this bill, no amendments or observations, to the Senate this afternoon?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
The Chair: That is it.
Senator Eaton: Does that mean it can get Royal Assent tomorrow?
The Chair: It could get Royal Assent later today if it passes the Senate later today. I will introduce the report from the committee.
Senator Demers: I agree.
The Chair: Yes, I should hope so, if you want to take credit for it.
I will introduce the report this afternoon under "Reports of Committees" and it is up to Senator Martin, as the official sponsor, to then move third reading.
Senator Cordy: Unless she is going to adjourn the debate.
The Chair: I might get permission in advance, if I am asked by the chair, to do it today. Either one of us, we will do it today.
Senator Martin: Yes, agreed.
The Chair: This meeting stands adjourned.
(The committee adjourned.)