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Ontario Hansard - 18-April2012

Mrs. Christine Elliott: On this Holocaust Remembrance Day, I join with people across the province, and indeed across the globe, in remembering the systematic persecution and murder of more than six million Jewish people throughout the Second World War. As we remember those who lost their lives, we're forever reminded to firmly stand against all forms of discrimination, intolerance and hatred.

The legacy of the Holocaust also reminds us to be vigilant of those who stand against freedom, democracy and the rule of law. Prompted by this human tragedy, these values are now enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Adopted by the UN in 1948 and written by Canadian John Peters Humphrey, this document established clear protections for those facing the threat of genocide and implores nations to take decisive action against those who may try to perpetrate another such crime against humanity.

After nearly 70 years, the resilience and industry of survivors continues to be embodied in Ontario's thriving Jewish communities. Over 200,000 and growing, Ontario's Jewish population is the largest in the country. For these reasons, Ontario established Holocaust Memorial Day, Yom ha-Shoah, in 1998, an effort that was led by my colleague Halton MPP Ted Chudleigh. Most recently, the federal government, under Prime Minister Stephen Harper, established the Office of Religious Freedom in order to vigorously oppose all forms of religious persecution, no matter where it may take place.

The Holocaust stands alone in history as not only a heinous crime against the innocent, but a crime against the fundamental morals we hold as Canadians and as global citizens. Today, as we pay tribute to those who lost their lives, I'd ask that we not only remember these victims in our thoughts but also in our actions.

Let us speak truth to those who spread hate. Let us celebrate the strength of survivors and condemn those that preach intolerance. May we be steadfast in our defence of freedom, unwavering in our commitment to democracy and resolute in our protection of the human spirit. Never forget. Never again.


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