POLITICS

Mélanie Joly: Trudeau's Plaque At National Holocaust Monument To Be Replaced

She says it didn't 'reflect the horrors experienced by the Jewish people.'

10/03/2017 17:45 EDT | Updated 10/04/2017 09:33 EDT
THE CANADIAN PRESS
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is embraced by survivor Nate Leipciger during a ceremony for the National Holocaust Monument in Ottawa on Sept. 27, 2017.

Canada's heritage minister says a plaque Prime Minister Justin Trudeau used to inaugurate the National Holocaust Monument in Ottawa last week has been removed because it did not "reflect the horrors experienced by the Jewish people."

Mélanie Joly made the announcement in question period Tuesday after Conservative MP David Sweet noted that the plaque failed to mention the Jewish people by name.

"How could the prime minister permit such a glaring omission of reference to anti-Semitism and the fact that the millions of men, women and children who were murdered were overwhelmingly Jewish?" Sweet asked.

"If we're going to stamp out hatred towards Jews, it's important to get history right."

Sweet urged Trudeau to correct the "profoundly obvious" oversight.

Joly told the House of Commons the plaque will be replaced. She said the monument commemorates the six million Jewish people and five million other victims murdered during the Holocaust.

"It stands as a reminder of the dangers of hatred, racism, and intolerance while affirming respect for human rights, dignity and resilience," Joly said.

Earlier, Conservative Sen. Linda Frum shared a photo of the plaque to Twitter.

The now-removed plaque read:

The National Holocaust Monument commemorates the millions of men, women, and children murdered during the Holocaust and honours the survivors who persevered and were able to make their way to Canada after one of the darkest chapters in history. The monument recognizes the contribution those survivors have made to Canada and serves as a reminder that we must be vigilant in standing guard against hate, intolerance, and discrimination.

In 2016, Trudeau faced criticism from The Toronto Sun and some right-wing American news sites because his statement marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day did not mention Jewish people specifically. His statement said the day was one to "pay tribute to the memory of the millions of victims murdered during the Holocaust."

A tweet from the prime minister did, however, note the importance of fighting anti-Semitism.

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$8.95-million project completed

This year, Trudeau's statement on International Holocaust Remembrance Day said Canadians "remember the more than six million Jews murdered during the Holocaust and the countless other victims of Nazi brutality." It also lauded the "strength and spirit of the Jewish people."

Adrian Wyld/CP
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks with Holocaust survivors Georgette Brinberg, Philip Goldig, Eva Kuper and Heritage Minister Melanie Joly after visiting the National Holocaust Monument in Ottawa on Sept. 27, 2017.

Trudeau was joined by Holocaust survivors as he toured the monument last Wednesday. The memorial, located across from the Canadian War Museum, is the result of more than a decade of work that began under the previous Tory government.

The estimated $8.95-million cost of the site is being split by the government and private donors.

With files from The Canadian Press