Sikh MP’s bill gets National Holocaust Monument for CanadaBy Gurmukh Singh, IANS
Sunday, December 12, 2010
TORONTO - A first-time Sikh member of the Canadian parliament has earned the rare distinction of getting his private member’s bill to set up a National Holocaust Monument in the country passed unanimously.
Bill C-442 moved by Tim Uppal, who was elected to parliament for the first time in the last elections in 2008, was passed with all-party support by the House of Commons earlier this week.
It is rare that the Canadian parliament has passed a private member’s bill unanimously. The 36-year-old Uppal belongs to the ruling Conservative Party.
With the passage of Uppal’s bill, Canada will join other allied nations to set up a National Holocaust Museum in memory of the six million Jews who were systematically killed by the Nazis during World War II.
In his speech at the passage of the bill, Uppal said, “Members of Parliament are charged with two important roles - fighting for the interests of their constituents, and pursuing issues which will benefit Canada as a whole.
“I believe that establishing a National Holocaust Monument speaks to both of these roles, and will help instill in future generations of Canadians an understanding of the atrocities of the Holocaust through a visible, tangible icon.”
The Canadian government will provide land for the monument to be set up in the national capital region Ottawa. Funds for the monument will be raised through public donations.
The Sikh MP said the Holocaust was one of the darkest chapters in human history when the Nazis tried to eliminate all groups they considered racially inferior, including the Jews, Roma and the disabled.
He also mentioned the Canadian gesture in 1947 to admit over 1,000 Jewish war orphans. Today, Canadian Jews are a thriving community of about 350,000 people.
Uppal is the third turbaned Sikh to become member of the Canadian parliament after Gurbax Singh Malhi and Navdeep Singh Bains. He represents the Edmonton-Sherwood Park constituency in the House. Currently, there are nine Indo-Canadian MPs in the Canadian parliament.
(Gurmukh Singh can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)