Canada’s lawmakers have adopted a resolution calling on the government to name Aug. 23 a “Black Ribbon Day” in remembrance of the 1939 Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. Secret protocols to the treaty carved up Eastern Europe—including Latvia—into territory to be controlled by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union.
The House of Commons on Nov. 30 gave unanimous consent to the resolution, which among other points noted that knowledge in Canada about the totalitarian regimes and how they terrorized people in Central and Eastern Europe is “still alarmingly superficial and inadequate.”
The resolution calls on the Canadian Parliament and government to “unequivocally condemn the crimes against humanity committed by totalitarian Nazi and Communist regimes and offer the victims of these crimes and their family members sympathy, understanding and recognition for their suffering.”
The resolution was proposed Bob Rae, a Liberal Party member of the Parliament representing Toronto Centre. The Central and Eastern European Council of Canada asked for the resolution earlier this year.
“Two years after the infamous pact Hitler’s troops stormed through the Baltic states, murdering the Jewish population and hunting down dissidents and resistance fighters,” Rae wrote in his blog. “The Soviet claim to ‘liberate’ these countries four years later was completely bogus, as would become only too clear when the Iron Curtain came tumbling down after the end of World War II.”
The resolution is the first such expression outside of Europe. The European Parliament in April called for proclamation of Aug. 23 as a Europe-wide Remembrance Day for the victims of all totalitarian and authoritarian regimes.
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