OTTAWA -- A handful of Conservative MPs were sent to local parishes to attend Black Ribbon Day memorials a day too early, according to a press release issued by Immigration Minister Jason Kenney's office.
"Last night, members of parliament attended ecumenical services in Vancouver, Edmonton, Winnipeg, and Toronto to mark Black Ribbon Day on behalf of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney," a press release sent at 12:37 p.m Tuesday afternoon said.
Black Ribbon Day, however, is commemorated on August 23 -- not August 22. The Conservatives were in office, in 2009, when the House of Commons unanimously adopted a resolution designating August 23 as the national day of remembrance for those who had perished during the Nazi and Soviet regimes.
"If they were there yesterday, they were sitting in empty pews," said Liberal multiculturalism critic Jim Karygiannis, who is attending Toronto's commemorations at St. Maximillian Kolbe Parish in Mississauga tonight with Interim Liberal leader Bob Rae.
Rev Msgr. Michael Buyachok told The Huffington Post Canada he knew of no events in the country held last night.
"No. They are happening today," he said, adding that he expected two local MPs, Conservative Joy Smith and Liberal Kevin Lamoureux at his Winnipeg service tonight at the Ukranian Catholic Metropolitain Cathedral, Sts Volodymyr and Olga.
Immigration Minister Jason Kenney's spokesperson Candice Malcolm said the press release had been erroneously sent out a day earlier.
"The events are tonight. The release said last night," she said.
"Conservative MPs, from coast to coast, will be at services marking Black Ribbon Day and remembering the evil dictatorships that imprisoned millions of people," she added.
Kenney is not attending a service because he is out of the country on a personal holiday.