Selkirk, MB – James Bezan, Member of Parliament for Selkirk-Interlake-Eastman and Shadow Minister of National Defence, released the following statement regarding the 74th anniversary of the deportation of the Crimean Tatars:
“May 18 is a tragic day for all Crimean Tatar families. Seventy four years ago today, over 200,000 innocent people – the entire Crimean Tatar nation – were forcibly deported from their homes in Crimea to Central Asia and Siberia. Orchestrated by Joseph Stalin, this horrific act of genocide deprived the Crimean Tatars of their homeland, and sent them into exile for decades.
“Intentionally left without food, water or shelter by the Soviets, thousands perished due to severe malnutrition, disease and lack of medical assistance. The brutal Soviet regime banned survivors from speaking their language and passing their culture to their children. Despite this brutal oppression, the Crimean Tatars persevered in exile and resisted the Soviet regime long enough to see a return to Crimea, welcomed back by newly independent Ukraine.
“But once again, the Crimean Tatars face peril in their homeland. Today, the indigenous people of Crimea, together with Ukrainians and other ethnic groups face persecution and repression at the hands of Crimea’s illegal Russian occupiers. The Putin regime’s illegal annexation of the Crimean peninsula in 2014 again presents a dire threat to the survival of the Crimean Tatars, who are once again denied their human rights and are targeted for their culture, religion and language.
“Canada’s Conservatives have always supported the Crimean Tatar people, as part of our principled stand in support of Ukraine. In 2016, Conservative M.P. Kerry Diotte introduced Bill C-306, which would have recognized the Crimean Tatar deportations as genocide. Sadly, the Trudeau Liberal government opposed recognizing the facts of this brutal chapter of history and voted against the bill.
“On behalf of the Official Opposition and Canada’s Conservatives, we stand united with Crimean Tatars against Russia’s persecution and illegal occupation. We remember alongside Crimean Tatars the survivors and descendants of those who were deported in 1944. We will never forget the victims of this horrible act of genocide. May their memory be eternal.”