“On this date in 1991, 99.5 per cent of voters in an Armenian referendum voted in favour of full independence from the Soviet Union. The subsequent declaration of independence helped establish a sovereign democratic Armenia, ending almost 70 years of oppression under the Communist regime.
“The Government of Canada recently announced that it will be providing funds to build a memorial to the victims of Communism within sight of Parliament Hill. This memorial will help teach future generations how millions of people lost their lives and suffered in inhumane conditions in Armenia and other countries victimized by tyrannical regimes.
“Canada has enjoyed a strong relationship with the Republic of Armenia for 22 years, and has been proud to support Armenia’s economic, political and democratic development.
“The Government of Canada fully supported Armenia’s candidacy to become an associate member of l’Organisation international de la Francophonie at the Quebec Summit in 2008, and was very happy to welcome Armenia as a full member last October. Canada and Armenia have also signed a number of bilateral trade agreements.
“Our two countries’ close ties have only been strengthened by the many positive contributions of the Armenian-Canadian community, whose members have played an important role in Canadian society for more than a century.
“As Minister for Multiculturalism, I join with Canadians in wishing a happy Independence Day to all Armenian citizens and people around the world of Armenian descent.”
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