By The Canadian Press on October 6, 2017.
OTTAWA – Days after it was unveiled, the space for the dedication plaque at the National Holocaust Monument is empty, marked only by bolt holes.
The plaque’s now in for a rewrite, after failing to mention Jews or the Jewish people, the prime targets of the Second World War genocide.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau dedicated the monument last week and complaints about the original plaque were quick to come.
Martin Sampson, of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, says the wording was noticed immediately and the government acknowledged the error.
Conservative MP David Sweet also raised the matter in question period this week, asking about what he called a “profoundly obvious omission.”
Heritage Minister Melanie Joly says the plaque will be replaced.
“The government is committed to building a more inclusive society and the National Holocaust Monument commemorates the six million Jews, as well as the five million other victims, who were murdered during the Holocaust,” she said in the Commons.
“It stands as a reminder of the dangers of hatred, racism, and intolerance, while affirming respect for human rights, dignity, and resilience.”
“The plaque has been removed and will be replaced with language that reflects the horrors experienced by the Jewish people.”
Sampson said he feels the wording was just an oversight, with no malice involved.
“It is important to note that Jews and the Jewish experience during the Holocaust are mentioned extensively on other panels on the interior of the monument,” he said.
The memorial, entitled Landscape of Loss, Memory and Survival, lies just across the street from the National War Museum and within sight of the Peace Tower.
It is a collection of stark concrete triangles laid out to form the points of a stretched Star of David.
The monument came into being after the Commons in 2011 unanimously passed a private member’s bill tabled by then-Conservative MP Tim Uppal.
A National Holocaust Monument development council began to raise $4.5 million in private donations for the memorial.
The federal government contributed about $4 million.
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