Please email the below letter to the Justice Committee on Justice Policy of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario which is currently deliberating on whether to pass Bill 97 which only seeks recognition for the genocide of Greeks from the region of Pontus and excludes recognition for the Greeks of all other regions of Asia Minor and Eastern Thrace.
Subject: Bill 97. Genocide Awareness, Commemoration, Prevention and Education Month Act, 2019
To the Committee on Justice Policy of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario,
I am writing to express my deep concern regarding Bill 97 which is currently being considered by the Standing Committee on Justice Policy of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.
Unfortunately, the Bill in question only seeks to recognize a portion of the Greek victims of the Greek Genocide, those from the region of Pontus, which was only one of a number of regions within historic Asia Minor (current day Turkey) where the genocide took place. The Bill will therefore ommitt Greek victims from the remainder of Asia Minor who were also victims and who likewise deserve recognition and closure. In this regard, the Bill falls well short of what would be expected when dealing with recognition for the international crime of genocide.
It's vitally important to note that in 1998 the Parliament of Greece recognized the genocide of Greeks throughout all of Asia Minor (Law No: 2645/1998) while in 2007 the International Association of Genocide Scholars, one of the world's foremost experts on genocide voted overwhelmingly to affirm the genocide of Greeks throughout the entire region of Asia Minor. Ignoring the expert advice of genocide scholars, and recognizing the genocide of only only group of Greek victims will therefore not only offend other descendants of Greek Genocide victims, but it will also infer that they were not victims of genocide, which is untrue and unjust.
I also wish to remind the Committee that in November 2018, a motion was put before the Senate of Canada to likewise only recognize the genocide of Greeks from the region of Pontus, and it was rejected. After the vote, Senator Sinclair who abstained from voting said the following:
"I would like to point out that I found the motion itself to be acceptable insofar as it related to Pontic Greeks, but it was not inclusive of all the Greeks who were subject to the genocide at that time. I thought it was too narrow. I abstained because it was not properly inclusive."
I urge the Justice Committee to follow the historical record and only pass Bill 97 if all Greek victims of the genocide are included. Setting into concrete - by recognition - the genocide of only one group of Greek Genocide victims, and ignoring the suffering of all other Greeks, would be a gross injustice. It would also create a most unfortunate precedent within the Canadian political framework for this injustice. I strongly urge the Bill be reworded to include all Greeks. The simple removal of the word 'Pontian' from the Bill automatically makes the Bill inclusive of all Greeks and would provide justice for all.