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Minister Kenney Attends Unveiling of Monument to MS St. Louis

HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA -- (Marketwire) -- 01/20/11 -- Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney today joined in the unveiling of the Wheel of Conscience, a monument to commemorate the MS St. Louis, a ship that carried Jewish passengers seeking refuge during World War II.

"On behalf of the Government of Canada and Prime Minister Stephen Harper, I am honoured to join the Canadian Jewish Congress (CJC) and Daniel Libeskind at this important event," said Minister Kenney, who travelled to Pier 21, Canada's Immigration Museum, for the event. "The immigration restrictions experienced by some people of Jewish background mark a dark period in our nation's history and we are committed to recognizing the experience of all communities affected by such actions in our past."

The Community Historical Recognition Program (CHRP) is providing $475,000 to the CJC to memorialize the 1939 events surrounding the MS St. Louis. Of the more than 900 Jewish passengers on the ship, many died in the Holocaust upon their return to Europe.

The Wheel of Conscience was designed by the world-renowned architect Daniel Libeskind and symbolizes the connection between hatred, racism, xenophobia and anti-Semitism. It is part of a larger project by the CJC titled "None Is Too Many" which aims to educate and sensitize current and future generations about the importance of tolerance, understanding and diversity.

"The significance of the Wheel of Conscience rests not only in the spectacular statement it is already making in the world of art, but also in the important contribution it is going to make in helping to educate generations of young Canadians about issues of historical memory and social justice," said Bernie M. Farber, Chief Executive Officer of the CJC.

Pier 21 Chief Executive Officer Bob Moody thanked all those who helped make the St. Louis monument a reality."While Pier 21 honours all those immigrants who walked through these doors, it is important to honour those who were never given that opportunity. I hope that the monument will inspire reflection on past and current policies, and start many important conversations among Canadians," he said.

The CHRP funds community-based commemorative and educational projects that recognize the experiences of ethnocultural communities affected by historical wartime measures or immigration restrictions applied in Canada's past.

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Citizenship and Immigration Canada
Minister's Office
Celyeste Power

Citizenship and Immigration Canada
Communications Branch
Media Relations

Canadian Jewish Congress
Jordan Kerbel
National Director of Public Affairs
416-638-1991, ext. 5142

Pier 21
Cailin MacDonald
Communications Manager

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