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Letter: Memorial to communist victims supported

|Written By Andy Semotiuk

In Richard Cleroux’s article about the conflict between Canada’s chief justice and the prime minister, you point out that in addition to the problem of judicial appointments, there is a clash of views over the proposed monument to the victims of communism that is to be built next to the Supreme Court building in Ottawa (see “Communist memorial yet another source of discord with judges,” Feb. 2).

As I gather from the article, the chief justice does not feel the proposed monument is appropriate for the location proposed because it is rather bleak and brutal. She is entitled to her view on this.

I would just say that in my case, I support the construction of the monument as proposed. The monument, located as it will be next to the Supreme Court of Canada, will quite appropriately remind Canadians of what happens when the rule of law is ignored. It will serve to remind us of the horrors that communism has brought into this world, including for example, the great Chinese famine of 1958-62 that, according to Yang Jisheng in his book Tombstone, resulted in more than 30 million victims, and the Ukrainian Holodomor famine in which various experts have estimated the losses exceeded four million people in Ukraine proper and seven million when the surrounding Ukrainian regions were included.

The monument will indeed be a reminder of these bleak and brutal facts, as the chief justice has indicated, but it also will honour those who died and in that way will remind us all of our right as human beings to live our lives free of harm and mistreatment by totalitarian regimes.

I write these comments just to put on the record that opposition to the monument is not the unanimous position of the legal community.

I support the chief justice on the appointments but obviously disagree on the monument. In fact, I call on other members of my profession to support the monument as proposed.

Andy Semotiuk,

Pace Law Firm,

Toronto

  • David Dickinson
    The "horrors" that China has brought into the world? What about all the "horrors" that Sweden has brought into the world? We need LESS politics in law, not more.
  • Rick MacEwen
    Part of the curious story of the proposed memorial is the quiet smothering of a much needed national courthouse facility.

    A badly needed building to house the Federal Court of Canada, the Tax Court of Canada, the Court of Appeal and the Court of the Court Martial is put on hold and then abandoned to make way for the memorial. The Federal Court has some space in the Supreme Court Building (as a poor cousin) but most of the spaces for these Courts are in non-descript and non-secure buildings in Ottawa-Gatineau.

    It seems odd that a “tough on crime” government would hinder the functioning of the judicial system or miss a symbolic opportunity to demonstrate truly being tough on crime.

    The memorial could be accommodated in many high-profile locations in Ottawa but the needed courthouse should be within the Parliamentary Precinct. Save the land for a better use.
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