PanARMENIAN.Net/ Hon. Bob Rae, Member of Parliament for Toronto Centre and the Liberal’s Foreign Affairs critic, gave an interview on the Turkish television program “Turkuaz” which aired on Channel OMNI-1 March 8, 2008. During this interview, which was on the topic of the Armenian Genocide, he said that he had read “many” books on the subject, that only a few hundred thousand Armenians had been killed, and that as far as he was concerned Armenians should be satisfied with Parliament’s recognition of the event and that “there was nothing more that they could demand”.
These remarks offended Canadians of Armenian heritage. It ignores the fact that the crimes perpetrated by the Turks can not be corrected by their mere recognition by the Canadian Parliament. At the conclusion of this segment of the television program, the host and another guest Mr. El-Khalili invited Armenians to dialogue with them on the subject, reported the Armenian National Committee of Canada.
Following this disturbing interview, Pierre Akkelian, Vice-Chairman of the Congress of Canadian Armenians, met with Mr. Rae to seek a clarification of his views on the Armenian Genocide. Jack Chadirdjian, a member of the CCA – National Committee, and Senator Raymond Setlakwe were also present. Following their discussions, Mr. Rae issued a letter to the Congress of Canadian Armenians, the full text of which is reproduced below. The Congress of Canadian Armenians is satisfied with the contents of the letter, which says,
“Dear Mr. Alepian,
I recently met your colleague Mr. Pierre Akkelian, Vice-Chairman of the Congress of Canadian Armenians. Mr. Akkelian raised concerns with me regarding my position on the Armenian Genocide.
My position is the same as the resolution passed by the House of Commons on April 21st 2004. My position is also reflective of the Liberal Party of Canada’s position as well as our leader’s, the Hon. Stephane Dion. As such, I recognize the Armenian Genocide of 1915 – 1918 and condemn it as a crime against humanity. It is an undisputable historical fact that some 1.2 million Armenians fell victim to this reprehensible act.
I also believe that this recognition by the House of Commons must serve the greater purpose of reconciliation between the Turkish and Armenian communities. The many years of dispute between these two communities have created resentment and mistrust. This recognition must be a strong signal for these two communities to put this dispute behind them, and look to the future on how to best move forward for the greater good of humanity.”