Horizon Weekly – On Monday, September 19 2016, the Armenian National Committee of Canada (ANCC) hosted a Reception on Parliament Hill, where over 50 Ministers, Members of Parliament, Senators and staff gathered to celebrate this milestone.
During the event, following opening remarks delivered by the ANCC, MP Harold Albrecht (Former Chair of the Canada-Armenia Parliamentary Friendship Group), MP Arnold Chan (Current Chair of the Canada-Armenia Parliamentary Friendship Group), MP Alexandre Boulerice (Vice Chair of the Canada-Armenia Parliamentary Friendship Group) and His Excellency Armen Yeganian, Ambassador of the Republic of Armenia in Canada offered their congratulatory messages.
Ambassador Yeganian’s speech is provided below:
Honorable members of Parliament,
I am delighted to stand before you, within the grand walls of Parliament. First, I would like to thank Members of Parliament, especially those who are or have been the members of the Canadian-Armenian Parliamentary Friendship Group, for many years of mutual cooperation. Armenia pays great importance to the development and deepening of friendly relations with Canada. Together, we are strengthening relations between our two countries.
The cooperation of our respective parliaments within the framework of international organizations is ongoing and increasing. We work together closely within the International Organization of La Francophonie. I have to say that over the course of last 5 years we have had an unprecedented number of mutual visits on the level of parliamentary delegations. Jim Karygiannis and Stephane Dion visited Armenia and Artsakh, two parliamentary secretaries Deepak Obhrai and Chungsen Leung led the delegation that participated at our President’s inauguration, Jason Kenney in his capacity as Multiculturalism Minister visited Armenia in 2014 and last year we had Chris Alexander heading delegation for Centennial events and Christian Paradis participating at Francophone Ministers’ summit in Yerevan. Similarly we had number of Armenian MPs and Ministers paying visits to Canada.
The sincere attitude of Canada towards the Armenian people was displayed through the number of resolutions recognizing the Armenian Genocide, an approach, which was reaffirmed in 2015. In doing so, Canada emphasized its commitment to stand against injustice and crimes against humanity, and demonstrated its commitment to ensure such crimes perpetrated against mankind, will always be condemned and prevented.
We understand and respect Canadian government’s balanced position on the issue of conflict resolution in Artsakh, Nagorno-Karabakh.
Armenia marked the 98th Anniversary of the establishment of its First Republic in May of this year, and I congratulate all of us on that occasion.
For us, this is the day to reflect on what our people were able to save and protect. In establishing the First Republic, we saved the last piece of our birthplace and the last remnants of our nation. It was a difficult matter to accept, but it was the reality. The bleeding Armenian nation, on the verge of annihilation, just three years after 1915 was able to stand up to the enemy, to prevail, and throw the enemy back. Many consider the heroic battles of May and their victorious outcome a miracle. We prevailed, we survived, and we finally liberated ourselves after 600 years of torture. Our independence and our statehood were not a gift to us. We paid the highest price possible. We did it alone; moreover, we did it against all odds.
At the same time, we mark the 25th Anniversary of Armenia’s Independence exactly in two days. The Armenian people’s thousand year long march has filled each page of our history books with countless memories, has filled it with tears of joy, pain of loss; it has filled it with resolve to rise in the face of adversary and struggle against injustice; it has filled it with the prayers of hopeless nights and promising victories that come with the first rays of sunlight as dawn breaks. Our people perfectly recollect every single page of our history, a history of their struggle. They remember those who have fallen as we advance on our age-old path and celebrate each day of our victorious unity. 25 years ago a new page was written in gold; inscribed in our history book. On September 21, 1991, an entire nation stood and unanimously announced to the world that they assume anew the burden, responsibility, and honor of mastering their own destiny. And every year, as we look ahead we vow that we are the guarantors of calm mornings for our children and peaceful sunsets for our parents, it is us, the united Armenian People.
The tongue we speak is Armenian, in which we prayed at the dawn of civilization and which can be heard today at the different corners of the world. It can be heard thanks to the absolute unity demonstrated by our people 25 years ago. That unity has not only granted us independence, but has also given us the power to fight and the spirit to create over the course of two and a half decades. The State, the Army, the market economy and civil society have been the institutions that we established as our unambiguous response to the chance given to us by time and challenges imposed upon us.
September 21st marks revival of our people that survived the first genocide of the 20th century – one of the gratest crimes against humanity.
Yes, our history book is also filled with lines fraught with our people’s blood. We remember those lines very well. We will continue to remember it as long as the blood of our ancestors martyred by the Ottoman Empire’s sword in Van, Mush, Trabzon, Yerznka, Marash, Sebastia, Erzurum and Kharberd has not frozen in our veins. We distinguish ourselves by doing everything possible so that never again shall our people face the danger of annihilation. We hold dearly in our hearts the belief that in a world full of contradictions and dangers, the only true guarantor of the Armenian people is a sovereign and independent Armenian state. We know, beyond doubt, that people are the only source of power. We have confidence that unity will prevail when we arrive at decisive turns and monumental challenges as we march forward in time, writing our history book.
September 21 is the symbol of our faith, our convictions and our confidence. Once again congratulations on Independence Day!
Long live the Republic of Armenia!