Ottawa, December 15, 2011 — Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney announced today that former Member of Parliament Mario Silva will chair the Task Force for International Cooperation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research (ITF) in 2013.
“I am proud of the leadership role that Canada is taking to further Holocaust education, and combat anti-Semitism together with all forms of racism and xenophobia,” said Minister Kenney. “Both Prime Minister Stephen Harper and I believe that Mr. Silva’s commitment to this important effort demonstrates why he should chair the ITF in 2013.”
“Anti-Semitism is a pernicious evil that must be exposed, that must be confronted, that must be repudiated, whenever and wherever it appears. Fuelled by lies and paranoia we have learned from history it is an evil so profound … that it is ultimately a threat to us all,” noted Prime Minister Harper in March, 2009.
The ITF is an international organization composed of 31 member countries devoted to Holocaust education, remembrance and research, both nationally and internationally. The ITF was established in 1998 and Canada became actively involved with the ITF in 2007 and a full member in 2009.
Each year, the organization nominates a member country to assume the Chair for one year and to host meetings for member states. In March of this year, Canada officially signaled interest in becoming Chair for 2013 and, at a Plenary of the ITF in The Hague, Netherlands, members voted to support Canada’s bid. Belgium will succeed the Netherlands and chair the ITF in 2012.
When he takes over as Chair in 2013, Mr. Silva will play a major role in advancing the collective work of the ITF, in partnership with key international organizations, to promote the principles of the Stockholm Declaration on the Holocaust.
“As Chair of the Inquiry Committee and as Vice Chair of the Steering Committee of the Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Antisemitism, Mr. Silva was instrumental in the success of the 2010 Ottawa conference of the Inter-parliamentary Coalition for Combating Antisemitism (ICCA), which brought together parliamentarians and experts from around the world to lead the fight against global anti-Semitism,” noted Minister Kenney.
The ICCA Conference developed the Ottawa Protocol. Among other things, it called for leaders of faith groups to combat all hatred and discrimination, including anti-Semitism – which is inextricably linked to the universal lessons of the Holocaust.