On Tuesday, March 14 ,2017 in Vancouver ANCC Western Region Chairman Vahe Andonian, representatives Meghrig Soulahian- Chapanian and Hagop Der Hagopian had a working visit with Canada’s Attorney General and Minister of Justice Hon. Jody Wilson -Raybould in her constituency office in Vancouver.
During the 40 minute meeting, the ANCC representatives briefed the minister about the history of the Armenian community in Canada.
They commended the Canadian Government’s recognition of the Armenian Genocide and the adoption of Motion M587, which recognizes April as “Genocide Remembrance, Condemnation and Prevention Month”.
They described how the decades-long tradition of April 24 remembrance commemorations on Parliament Hill in Ottawa has been slightly disrupted in recent years by the Turkish Embassy and community actions.
Minister Wilson-Raybould was also informed of the success stories of the Syrian Armenian Refugees settling across Canada and starting their new lives in a peaceful country. They thanked her for the Government’s role in expanding and expediting the refugee program.
One of the Armenian-Canadian community’s wishes is for the further development of trade and relations between Canada and Armenia. The ANCC discussed with Minister Wilson-Raybould the possibility of opening a Canadian embassy or a trade office in Armenia, which some of her fellow parliamentarians promised during the last election campaign.
The ANCC reps briefed the Minister on the past and present situation in the Republic of Artsakh, about ongoing Azeri aggression including the four day April 2016 blitz war, and how there needs to be a monitoring system in place to eliminate Azerbaijan’s deadly cease-fire violations which are a constant and major obstacle to peace.
They asked the Minister to help the Republics of Artsakh and Armenia and the international community in finding a peaceful resolution, respecting the self-determination and aboriginal rights of the Armenian people.
The Minister promised to pass ANCC’s concerns to her colleagues and to try to raise Canada’s interest and input in the matter as a supporting member of OSCE .
ANCC members briefed the minister about the upcoming April 2nd elections in Armenia, where the ANCC affiliated ARF political party is helping introduce electoral, educational, social and judicial reforms, and asked how Canada and her office can help Armenia develop in those areas.
She confirmed that Canada is well known for assisting other countries in those areas and that she is ready to work with the ANCC and the Armenian Embassy.
She will facilitate contact with the Department of Global Affairs to assist in those matters, to help strengthen democracy and to develop a more just society in both Armenia and Artsakh.
ANCC members thanked Minister Wilson-Raybould for this initial meeting and extended an open invitation to her to visit the Armenian community, which she agreed to do during this year’s local April 24th commemorations.
The Minister was presented with an information booklet on the Republic of Artsakh, and with the book “The Call From Armenia – Canada’s Response to the Armenian Genocide”.