TRIBUTE TO LIBERTY
I rise today to speak to you about an event that took place on May 30, 2014 at the Toronto Congress Centre, which I had the honour to attend, in support of a project that is personally significant to me and to all Canadians who value democracy and the fundamental rights and freedoms we enjoy every day.
‘Tribute to Liberty’ is a Canadian organization that is dedicated to the construction of a memorial to honour the victims of communism, to be built near Parliament Hill, in our nation's capital.
The death toll of communist aggression in the 20th century is approximately 100 million victims. Our colleague Sen Ngo and the Vietnamese Canadian community and many of the ethnic communities have been impacted by Communism, including the tens of thousands of Canadians who fought communist aggression during the Korean War. In Canada, over 8 million people trace their roots to countries like Ukraine, Poland, Vietnam, Korea and others that suffered under Communism. Since the beginning of the first Communist regime in 1917, immigrants from Communist countries have flocked to Canada in search of freedom and safety.
In September 2009 Tribute to Liberty, received approval from the National Capital Commission (NCC) to build a Memorial to Victims of Communism in Ottawa. In May of 2012, a piece of land between The Library and Archives Canada and The Supreme Court of Canada on Wellington Street was designated as the site of the pending Tribute to Liberty Memorial.
Memorials are essential parts of our national landscape: they serve as important markers for events and people that make up the diverse fabric of our nation. The Memorial to the Victims of Communism will serve as a public reminder of the millions of victims of Communism, and will bring the suffering of these victims into the public's consciousness.
The special fundraising event on May 30th was an evening to honour all of those who lost their lives and who have been affected by Communism.
Prime Minister Harper said it best that evening: “The goal you have been working towards is important to Canadians, past and present, but it is especially so for future generations. “For they must be forever reminded – forever – that the freedom and peace they stand to inherit was earned through struggle and sacrifice, and must always be cherished as a precious and unique thing.”
I wish to recognize the Chair of TTL, Ludwik Klimkowski and the dedicated Board of Tribute to Liberty. This timely memorial will serve as a public reminder of all the victims of communism, past and present.
Honourable Senators, the United States has their Statue of Liberty. Soon Canada will have our Tribute to Liberty.