Send a Pointed Message to Queen’s Park

Keghart.com Team Editorial, 3 October 2011

Following the publication of “Denial, Deceit, and Anti-Armenian Campaign Brought to You by Team McGuinty” on Keghart, several people, privately, through e-mails and phone calls expressed their deep displeasure. Some were puzzled that Keghart.com, a human rights advocate would support the provincial Conservatives whose leader is on record stating that he would scrap the Human Rights Commission. Others pointed out that during a Conservative mandate the two-tier system in healthcare delivery will be expanded, compromising a Canadian institution that has helped millions of Canadians, rich and poor, the haves and the have nots. Still others pointed out that the McGuinty government made a “donation” of “one-million to the Armenian community” and wondered whether this is the way to reciprocate our friendship. A host of secondary issues related to economic matters were also cited.


Keghart.com Team Editorial, 3 October 2011

Following the publication of “Denial, Deceit, and Anti-Armenian Campaign Brought to You by Team McGuinty” on Keghart, several people, privately, through e-mails and phone calls expressed their deep displeasure. Some were puzzled that Keghart.com, a human rights advocate would support the provincial Conservatives whose leader is on record stating that he would scrap the Human Rights Commission. Others pointed out that during a Conservative mandate the two-tier system in healthcare delivery will be expanded, compromising a Canadian institution that has helped millions of Canadians, rich and poor, the haves and the have nots. Still others pointed out that the McGuinty government made a “donation” of “one-million to the Armenian community” and wondered whether this is the way to reciprocate our friendship. A host of secondary issues related to economic matters were also cited.

It is not possible to comment on each and every matter and objection raised during those private calls and e-messages. What’s enumerated above are the principle ones and a clarification of Keghart.com’s stand regarding the publication of the above-mentioned document and the upcoming election is in order.

We do not need to do a “thorough” research as some have suggested to document McGuinty government’s obstinate and hostile attitude towards the acknowledgement of the Genocide of Armenians. The legislative record is there and we agree without reservation with “Armenians for a Just Ontario” when they state, “Mr. McGuinty singlehandedly vetoed legislation commemorating the Armenian Genocide. When the Conservatives and the NDP, on three occasions, tried to bring a legislation to declare April 24 a memorial day in Ontario (in unison with what Queen’s Park has done re the Holocaust, the Rwandan Genocide, and the Ukrainian Famine–Holodomor), Mr. McGuinty rejected the commemoration of April 24 motion and threatened to block it from being granted royal assent if it is passed at the House. It’s relevant to mention that in 1986 Liberal Premier of Ontario, Hon. David Peterson, proclaimed “I am pleased to recognize April 24, 1986 as ARMENIAN MEMORIAL DAY and to commend its observance.”

Isn’t recognition of the Genocide of the Armenians a human rights issue? For Armenians worldwide that’s the number-one violation of human rights. In less than four years we shall be commemorating the 100th anniversary of the greatest calamity that befell on our people. Don’t we deserve a provincial government that, side by side the governments of other jurisdictions and the national government, unequivocally declares April 24 is not forgotten, will not be forgotten and will continue to haunt Turkey which “enjoys” the spoils left by the Ottoman and Kemalist criminals?

For argument’s sake, let’s ask ourselves what guarantee is there that a McGuinty government, with a record as pointed out above, will take the right stand? All the facts speak against such a probability. And at a juncture so close to the 100th Anniversary of the Genocide, the Armenian community cannot, and should not “allow” delivering a third mandate to a premier who has not spoken in favor of the community’s primary concern over the past near decade.

Keghart.com views this election as a referendum on McGuinty’s government, and not necessarily a vote for or against a particular party. Yet, one has to vote for somebody or some party. Most polls show that the race is a dead heat between the Liberals and the Conservatives, while the left-leaning NDP is gaining momentum. It is most likely that a minority government will ensue which will need NDP’s support. This provides an opportunity for Armenian “lobbyists” close to the Liberals, who naturally were not happy with Keghart’s publication of the Armenians for a Just Ontario declaration, to show their resolve in assuring that the minority government, whether in the form of a coalition or propped up by NDP, heeds the primary concern of Armenians. Whether a government has “donated” or not a certain amount is not even a tertiary issue. In fact, it’s not even a “donation”; it is the rightful claim of the Ontario Armenian community for the tax dollars that flow into the public system but which do not return to the community because Armenian schools are considered private schools.

In Toronto ridings, unlike in other areas, it appears that the Conservatives have little chance of winning seats. A vote for the Conservatives is a lost cause. The race in Canada’s largest city is between the Liberals and the NDP. If you are dissatisfied with the McGuinty Government’s record with respect to the Genocide of the Armenians, the logical approach is to vote for NDP in Toronto.

We anticipate a minority government, supported by the NDP. We also look forward, from the next government, for the long overdue recognition of the Genocide of Armenians.

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11 comments
  1. This is amateur journalism

    Although Dalton McGuinty may not be the best leader Ontario has seen, this does not mean all Liberal candidates, some of whom have helped the Armenian community, recognize the Genocide of the Armenians, and contributed to the Armenian community and the Armenian cause, should be punished. The series of articles appearing on Keghart intend to discredit the complete party with no attention paid to the concern raised above. There is no mention of any of the Liberal candidates who have contributed positively to the Armenian community.

    Another concern is, who is "Armenians for a Just Ontario?" Who are its members? If Keghart is to be considered a reputable source of information it needs to think twice before publishing unsigned editorials or articles by individuals and organizations whose true identities cannot be established. Will Keghart publish or support any article that comes its way without confirming the identity of the author? You cannot take your readership for fools, readers do their homework, they like to know who authors are and confirm the credibility of their research and findings especially articles as contraversial as the ones which go unsigned or are published under pseudonyms on this site. Keghart should be concerned about its journalistic integrity before it loses readership.

    1. Reminder to Bedig

      Dear Bedig,

      You are correct that there are several Ontario Liberal MPPs who are friends of the Armenian community and are favorable to the recognition of the Genocide. The declaration of the "Armenians for Just Ontario", if I am not mistaken, makes mention of this fact. Nobody is ignoring it and Armenians are thankful to them.

      The situation seems similar to what Armenians went through on the Federal scene. For years the two houses of the parliament recognized  the Genocide, yet the government of Canada, the prime ministers (Jean Chretien and Paul Martin) did not.

      It’s only when Hon. Stephen Harper came to power recognition was extended. Even in that scenario, there is no guarantee that subsequent Prime Ministers will continue to do so. I want to draw a parallel here with the situation in USA. President Ronald Raegan did not mince the words. What did happen during subsequent administrations? I think you know it well.

      With respect to Ontario it’s McGuinty’s government that has obstinately refused recognition, and the editorial clearly makes a distinction throughout talking about the government and not MPPs, and calls the present election a "referendum" on McGuinty.

      I wonder why we don’t want to accept these facts and take cheap shots. Instead of talking about the substance we like to shoot the messenger. If that’s how we would like to carry our community affairs then instead of a dialogue, which most people would prefer, we’ll have name calling, uncalled for accusations, and naturally nothing will get resolved.

      For years the Armenians, almost en masse, have supported the Liberals, and I sense that there is a feeling of betrayal, if you will, in changing colours.

      Haven’t we learned anything in this great democracy of Canada? If all people would cast their votes in the same way as they did during the preceding elections then  we would have a permanent government of the same colour all the time. That’s not how things run, do they? And speaking of colours, Jean Charest who heads the Liberal government in Quebec was a former Conservative and a minister at that in Mulroney’s cabinet. The present leader of the Federal Liberals Bob Rae was the premier of NDP governmnet in Ontario.

      I personally have a bagfull of criticism directed to all parties and the conservatives lead the list. However, at each election there are priorities. For starters, how would a conservative government help a needy family? They were the ones who slashed many a social program. Didn’t they? And Hudak was a member of the Conservative Cabinet. People still remember the gross mismanagement during the NDP season and their present platform doesn’t address mistakes of the past. In contrast the Liberal platform takes into consideration the global realities and has several forward looking progressive items.

      But, again, each election presents priorities. As an Armenian, so close to the 100th anniversary of the Genocide, I want to see a government that takes into consideration my ethnic, national, whatever you want to call, sensitivities and do the right thing. On that note Mr. McGuinty and his government do not inspire.

      Respectfully,

      Dikran Abrahamian BA, MD

      1. Comments should not be disregarded as “cheap shots”

        Dear Dikran,

        I appreciate your reply to my post.

        My comments should not be disregarded as "cheap shots" nor am I "shooting the messenger." I wholeheartedly believe in dialogue which my comments were trying to achieve. I am simply pointing out the need for unbiased and fair analysis for the sake of the integrity of your site. Your readership deserves articles written by individuals whose credibility can be checked. This is an important condition for any wise reader who looks to build opinions on issues. We must be able to determine bias, prejudice, intent and so on. I am confident you do the same when you read an article, book, website, etc.

        Putting your eggs in one basket is a dangerous game and a gamble. I do not think anyone would like to gamble with the Armenian community’s future. Go ahead, support Hudak and all PC candidates, drop your support for those Liberal and NDP candidates who are friends, but who will Keghart.com and "Armenians for a Just Ontario" and its anonymous supporters answer to if the recent polls are correct and the Liberals do win a majority? How will they mend ties with those who have helped us in the past but were left on their face during election time due to the short-sighted advice published here by anonymous authors and analysts?

        There is a lot to think about in politics which many of the published pieces have overlooked. Remember Bill M380 was passed with votes from all parties, a leading opponent of who was a Conservative Party member, despite Harper’s support of the motion. This motion paved the way for later government recognition. A bill recognizing the Genocide of the Armenians in Ontario will require the participation of all party members as well, especially considering the polls.

        1. Dialogue is much appreciated

          Dear Bedig,

          If my word as publisher and editor-in-chief of Keghart.com has any worth, I would assure you that the identities of authors on this site are known to Keghart.com team, unless articles are reproduced from other publications in which case the sources and the links are provided whenever available.

          The opinions are those of the authors as inscribed at the top bar of the home page of the site.

          "Cheap shot" refers to the allegation that they are unknown entities, not to your comment which is welcome.

          Prior to submission of an article by a new author or a "group", a relevant search is conducted, or proxies are questioned and not infrequently trips are undertaken to meet the new authors face to face. The latter can be attested by many who have contributed articles to Keghart.com

          With respect to the comments there is a system of verification of e-mails in place, as you may have noticed, to trace them back to where they originated from. Like the majority of on-line publications abbreviations of names, pseudonyms and aliases are accepted.

          My hope is that above explanation may lay to rest the issue of alleged unknown sources. Your reference to dialogue is much appreciated.

          Respectfully,

          Dikran Abrahamian BA, MD

  2. Voting for the wrong reasons

    Again, people of Armenian descent are asked to vote for a candidate for the wrong reasons.  As a citizen of the United States and a resident of Canada, I believe that voting for a candidate should be first and foremost about what that candidate can do for the country of residence. 

    To base a decision on what a candidate can do for the Armenia cause is wrong.  Yes, I am an Armenia but I am an American/Canadian first.  There are issues that effect me as a resident of Ontario that go beyond the Armenian issue for me. 

    I have had numerous email conversations with the leadership of ANCA on this very issue.  Often we are asked to vote for individuals just because of what they will do for Armenians.  This is how politics goes astray.  Hence, the rise of the TeaParty in the US. And just because a candidate says they will stand up for the Armenian cause that is not often the case. 

    President Obama supported a resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide while he was campaigning.  He attended a high priced event at a Armenian friend’s home in NJ and told all those in attendance that he was committed to this resolution. He was given a lot of money from the Armenians in attendance because of their belief in what he said he would do.  But what did he do once he was in office? 

    He hopped on a plane and kissed up to the Turks leaving our resolution in the dust. 

    So in light of that I do not endorse any politicians who say they will work for an Armenian resolution. I don’t believe any of them.

    Vote for the candidate that will help you in your daily life because none of them will ever do anything to get Turkey to take responsibility for what they did to us.  Not here in Canada nor in the US.  It is a lost cause. 

    1. The Elections

      Dear Lori,

      I disagree with you re how Ontario Armenians should vote. I believe voting as just another Ontarian and not as an Armenian, is naive, unrealistic and of no benefit to the Armenian community.

      In a province of  13 to 14 million, the voting clout of 30,000 or so Ontario Armenians is zilch, if they vote purely as Ontarians. Ontario Armenians vote becomes meaningful to politicians only when Armenians (where they are significant in number) vote with an agenda, in this instance make the local politician appreciate the Armenian vote and thus be aware of our community priorities. Any practical politician would ignore us as a community once he or she concludes we are an amorphous mass, a bunch of Conservative/Liberal/NDP/Green, etc. individuals.

      If you want to be part of (sorry) "the great unwashed masses," then vote primarily as an Ontarian, without regard for our Armenian national priorities. Turkey and the Canadian-Turkish community is spending large sums of money, hiring top public relations agencies to fight Canadian-Armenians and to reverse the federal government’s decision re the Genocide of Armenians. We don’t have the money, the global PR professionals or even a single person in Ottawa dedicated to advancing Hai Tadd. Elections are our best way to be heard. If you want to be a Girl Scout, that’s your right.

      1. Ontairo vote

        Dear Hayorti,

        They ignore us regardless of how we vote. Armenian Americans were instrumental in getting President Obama in office by giving him millions in funding.  He ignored us and went with the Turks. 

        I am not part of the unwashed masses.  I am a proud American of Armenian descent who happens to be living in Canada at this time.  I know the reality of the situation and have decided that I for one am going to vote for someone who will benefit and help me in my daily life, not someone who makes promises to right a nearly 100 yr old wrong and then doesn’t follow through with the promise.  Being unemployed right now is where my priorities lie.  I am being a realist, not a Girl Scout.  

        1. Obama Betrayal

          Obama betrayed us. No doubt about that. But because he betrayed us it doesn’t mean every politician we support will betray us. If we follow your thinking, we should forget about Hye Tadd.

          I sympathize with your priorities, but I am not talking about the priorities of individuals. My concern is our community’s, our nation’s collective interest. Meanwhile, I sincerely hope that you find a good job soon.

  3. A Healthy sign

    Following the "dialogue"s one gets the impression that all eggs are not in the same basket and people have different views about the coming election. That’s probably a healthy sign. Is it?

    Lori’s critique too cannot be altogether dismissed. There are many on both side of the border who have reason to believe that supporting candidates only because they have made promises to Armenians has not been a successful strategy.

    All in all these excahnges, if nothing else, are intellectually entertaining.

  4. Voting

    I advocate the notion put forth by Lori that we should vote for the candidate whose stand on labor, taxes etc. serves best our day-to-day well being, as we perceive them to be. It is fact of life that officials elected to highest public offices of a country be it USA, Canada or elsewhere will not be swayed by the narrow interests of its minority ethnic citizens be it Armenians, Palestinians, Tibetans or Jews for that matter. 

    Even the long-term strategic interest of USA in Israel is not altogether against its own best interest.  Israel presents a strategic foothold in that part of the world no other country provides to USA, much like Armenia and Karabagh do to Russia in my view. There are vital symbiotic strategic relationships in both cases.

     
    We have no greater asset than our community’s economic well being to pursue the recognition of the Genocide, which will never be a lost cause, not only as humanitarian great cause but also as a strategic game changer tool for the powerful.  
  5. Silence of the Lambs

    Dear Dr. Abrahamian,

    How do you explain Keghart.com’s conspirative silence regarding the historical events taking place these days in Freedom Square – Yerevan?

    Best regards,

    Mleh Ishkhanian – Beirut

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