Armenian Independence Day Statement by the Honourable Jim Karygiannis, Member of Parliament (Canada) -
I would like to take this opportunity to extend my best wishes to members of the Canadian Armenian community on the occasion of Armenia Independence Day.
In Armenia, Independence Day is an official holiday that commemorates the establishment of the Republic of Armenia on September 21, 1991, after seventy years of Soviet rule.
In 1936, Armenia became a constituent republic of the Soviet Union known as the Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic and remained so until the dissolution of the Soviet Union, in the early 1990s. In September 1991, Armenians went to the polls and over 99 percent of voters approved the republic’s commitment to independence. On September 21st, immediately following the referendum, Armenia declared full independence and became the Republic of Armenia.
Armenians mark Independence Day with festivals that feature the Armenian national anthem, time-honoured songs and music and dancers in national costumes celebrating the local traditions of Armenia.
As a Member of Parliament, for many years I have worked closely with the Armenian Diaspora in Canada on issues important to the community – most notably, the recognition of the Armenian Genocide. In 2004, the Parliament of Canada voted to recognize the Armenian Genocide. Two years later, the Armenian Genocide was officially recognized by the Government of Canada. I continue to work with the community with respect to the importance of Canada establishing an Embassy in Yerevan.
In 2012, I visited Armenia and discussed issues of concern with government officials. I also traveled to Nagorno-Karabakh, where I led a Canadian delegation of International Election Observers to observe the Presidential Election in Artsakh.
Canada has attracted, and continues to attract, people from all over the world to her shores. We will continue to work together to build our nation and enhance our international reputation.