OTTAWA, June 23, 2008 - The Honourable Jason Kenney, Secretary of State (Multiculturalism and Canadian Identity), on behalf of the Honourable Stockwell Day, Minister of Public Safety, participated in the unveiling of a renovated Air India memorial in Ottawa on the National Day of Remembrance for Victims of Terrorism. He was joined by Mr. Eric Beauchesne, Mr. Susheel Gupta and Ms. Monique Castonquay of the Air India Flight 182 Victims' Families Association. Families and friends of the victims were also present at the ceremony re-dedicating a memorial at Commissioner's Park to the memory of the 329 lives lost.
"This memorial commemorates the tragic loss of lives 22 years ago in the worst terrorist incident in Canadian history. We hope it provides a peaceful place for contemplation as well as a reminder of the very real consequences of terrorism," said Secretary of State Kenney. "The Government of Canada remains unwavering in its commitment to protect Canadians from terrorism."
"This Memorial commemorates the innocent lives lost in this terrible tragedy. Commissioner's Park is a beautiful and peaceful place for reflection for us, the families of the victims," said Mr.Eric Beauchesne, representing the Air India Flight 182 Victims' Families Association.
The Air India memorial at Commissioner's Park in Ottawa provides a quiet, private place for reflection, a few meters from the monument's original location. It has existed on this location for many years. Today's unveiling showcases a redesigned and improved memorial site. Public Safety Canada provided the $70,000 in funding for the site's renovation.
The site, donated and newly designed by the National Capital Commission, is a commemorative space that consists of a pathway leading to an enclosed oval, paved and cobblestone plaza. It also features a bronze plaque with the names of all the victims who, through this tragedy, lost their lives on June 23, 1985. The plaque is oriented to the east, in the direction of Ireland, where the tragedy occurred. The surrounding plaza provides a place for contemplation and reflection. The Burning Bush shrubs and mock orange plantings that bloom in June are living symbols of peace.
The unveiling of the memorial in Ottawa follows previous unveiling ceremonies in Toronto and Vancouver in June and July 2007. There will also be a memorial built in Montreal in 2008.
Public Safety Canada
Director of Communications
Office of the Honourable Stockwell Day
Minister of Public Safety