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Latvia gives to Canada’s memorial for victims of communism

Tribute to Liberty, the Canadian charity organization planning to build the Memorial to Victims of Communism in Ottawa, was presented with Latvia’s donation to the memorial by Latvian Ambassador to Canada Juris Audariņš in a ceremony at the Canadian parliament Wednesday, the Latvian Foreign Ministry reported.

Latvia’s cheque for €10,000 was given to Ludwik Klimkowski, the Board Chairman of Tribute to Liberty, and the organization’s Treasurer, Alide Forstmanis. The handover ceremony was attended also by the Canadian Minister of Employment and Social Development and the Minister for Multiculturalism, Jason Kenney, and Canadian parliamentarians Ted Opitz and Bernard Trottier.

The Latvian ambassador remarked that nearly one-fourth of Canada’s population was of Central or Eastern European descent and had found safe haven in Canada in flight from the horrors of Communism. Latvia is proud to be contributing to the building of the memorial, he said.

The Latvian government’s grant to the Memorial to Victims of Communism was approved on December 16, 2014.

The Memorial to the Victims of Communism will serve as a public reminder of the millions of victims of Communism, will bring the suffering of these victims into the public eye, and show respect to over eight million people who live in Canada and trace their roots to the Central and Eastern European countries that suffered under Communism. At present there are some 25,000 people of Latvian origin living in Canada.

This new Capital landmark will recognize the role Canada has played in offering refuge to the millions that left behind torment and oppression under Communist regimes for new beginnings in a free and democratic country. It will also serve to raise Canadian and international awareness of the ravages of Communist regimes and remind visitors of the core Canadian values that unite us and must be protected, says the Tribute to Liberty website.

The project is in the second phase of its design and is scheduled to be unveiled in the summer. A gallery of design sketches can be viewed here.

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