Sunday he demonstrated what for me was an impressive moral consistency, through a powerful speech delivered at the annual Canadian Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony, Yom Hashoah, on Parliament Hill.
How many times in recent Canadian history has any politician, let alone a Prime Minister, been so clear in their stand for Israel, and the Good that should be associated with that nation and its people?
Here is Prime Minister Harper's full speech, from yesterday:
It has been said that lies become truth if they are repeated often enough.
That’s why truth is so precious. That’s why the truth must be repeated, over and over and over, to protect us from lies.
So let us plainly state the awful, incontrovertible truth that brings us here today: millions, including six million Jewish men, women, and children, were murdered by the Nazis during the Holocaust.
This genocide was so premeditated and grotesque in design, so monstrous and barbaric in scale, and so systematic and efficient in execution, that it stands alone in the annals of human evil.
To this day, the holocaust terrifies and mystifies. We cannot really understand the evil that consumed one the great nations of Europe. We cannot fully fathom why it was embraced by an ideology rooted in hatred. And we cannot truly comprehend the suffering of the people who perished in the madness. But we do understand that the attempted extermination of the Jewish people was a crime against all of humanity.
Our world is immeasurably poorer because of the Holocaust.
We will never know how many more Einstein’s, how many more Gershwin’s, Golda Meir’s, Leonard Cohen’s, or Mordecai Richler’s, might have enriched our world.
But we do know it must never, ever, happen again.
Unfortunately, in some countries, hatred of the Jews is still preached from religious pulpits and still proclaimed from political podiums.
There are still people who would perpetrate another holocaust if they could.
That’s why we must resist the error of viewing the Holocaust as a strictly historical event.
It’s not good enough for politicians to stand before you and say they remember and mourn what happened over six decades ago.
They must stand up to those who advocate the destruction of Israel and its people today.
And they must be unequivocal in their condemnation of anti-Semitic despots, terrorists and fanatics.
That is the only real way to honour the memory of those who were consumed by the Holocaust.
And the only way to ensure it never happens again.
[Sunday's] ceremony and moment of silence on Parliament Hill were organized by the Canadian Society for Yad Vashem. The commemoration concluded with a march to the Ottawa Congress Centre.