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Protesting Governor General's Patronage of Proposed Museum

Canadians For A Genocide Museum Media Release

For Immediate Release (Toronto/14 January 2006)

Canadians are being asked to contact Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean asking her to withdraw her patronage of the "Canadian Museum of Human Rights," as proposed by the board of directors of Winnipeg's Asper Foundation. Supported in large measure by taxpayer's funds, provided by the municipal (City of Winnipeg), provincial (Manitoba) and federal Canadian governments, this museum, according to reports, will not be inclusive and equitable in its treatment of the many episodes of genocide that occurred before, during and after the Second World War, not only in Europe but elsewhere in the world, including Asia and Africa. Instead, the museum, is intended to focus attention on the horrors that befell European Jews.

Commenting on the Asper Foundation's proposal, Mr James Kafieh, of Canadians For A Genocide Museum, a coalition of dozens of Canadian ethnic, religious, and racial minorities who have come together to question the lack of inclusiveness and transparency in this project, said:

"We are calling upon Her Excellency, the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, to withdraw her support of this initiative because we are not convinced that the Asper museum will be inclusive or equitable in its treatment of the many episodes of genocide and crimes against humanity that befouled not only 20th century Europe but other regions as well. Of course, we have no objection to an exhibit on the holocaust, which took millions of Jewish and non-Jewish lives, but that crime is well known and already extensively treated in museums around the world. We believe a Canadian institution funded largely by the taxpayers should not suggest that any atrocity is more deserving of attention than others, or that the suffering that befell one community should be made to appear as being more worthy of memory than those endured by others. We want a museum that is not partial or prejudiced and that is developed and managed openly instead of behind closed doors. The Asper Foundation's proposal does not meet these criteria. Their spokespersons are not being candid in responding to our legitimate concerns. Accordingly, we are asking our friends and supporters to contact the Governor General and petition her to withdraw her support, at least until there are public assurances that our frankly-stated concerns have been addressed. Her Majesty's representative in Canada should not be engaged in partisanship nor in endorsing a project that is so very controversial."

Her Excellency may be contacted by mail at the address below (no postage necessary within Canada) or email at

Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean Governor General of Canada Rideau Hall 1 Sussex Drive Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A1

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