The Honourable Leo Housakos , Senator
Thursday, December 15, 2015 (Ottawa) – “There is no question the actions taken against Greeks living in Pontos by the Ottoman Empire during 1916-21 constitutes genocide as defined by the Office of the UN Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide,” said Senator Leo Housakos today, referring to a motion being moved in the Senate of Canada by Senator Pana Merchant.
Senator Merchant gave notice Wednesday and will move the motion in the new year calling on the Government of Canada to recognize the Genocide of the Pontic Greeks and to designate May 19th as a Day of Remembrance. Senator Housakos will second this motion and has already spoken with many of his Senate colleagues to garner their support for this very important initiative.
The motion calls on the government of Canada:
(a) to recognize the genocide of the Pontic Greeks of 1916 to 1923 and to condemn any attempt to deny or distort a historical truth as being anything less than genocide, a crime against humanity; and
(b) to designate May 19th of every year hereafter throughout Canada as a day of remembrance of the over 353,000 Pontic Greeks who were killed or expelled from their homes.
Prior to the First Word War, 700,000 Pontic Greek Orthodox lived in the Black Sea region, as their ancestors had for millennia and throughout the course of Ottoman history.
The Ottoman Empire succeeded in killing a significant portion of the Pontic people. The body count of the genocide of the Greek Orthodox Pontians was 350,000, men, women and children.
“The Ottoman regime specifically targeted the Armenians and Pontic Greeks, in their efforts to rid themselves of the Christian minority. There is no question it was ethnic cleansing. The Armenian Genocide, rightfully so, is widely recognized while the Pontic Genocide remains obscure. It is high time the government of Canada join the numerous other international and domestic jurisdictions in recognizing the Pontic Genocide as well,” remarked Senator Housakos.