I want to follow up on an email response sent to you regarding Bill S-219, the Journey to Freedom Day Act.|
After careful consideration, I remain supportive of establishing a day recognize Vietnamese immigration to Canada. However, I will seek to amend the bill in a way that responds to the concerns of Vietnamese-Canadians regarding the date proposed by the bill.
The invaluable contributions of Vietnamese-Canadians to our society should be celebrated. At the same time, not all members of the Vietnamese-Canadian community commemorate April 30. Given the diversity of views within the Vietnamese-Canadian community, it may not be appropriate as a day of celebration.
Bill S-219 also singles out North Vietnam’s actions in the fall of Saigon in 1975. A more even-handed approach would recognize the exodus of boat people to Canada while maintaining political neutrality and good diplomatic relations with Vietnam.
I have appreciated hearing from hundreds of members of the Vietnamese-Canadian community on both sides of this issue. I am grateful for the feedback and I strive to balance these concerns. As such, I will seek to amend the bill to commemorate July 27 as Journey to Freedom Day, so as to acknowledge the diversity of opinion regarding the historical significance of April 30 for those impacted. July 27, 1979 marks the day when the first Canadian Forces plane arrived in Toronto under Operation Magnet II, bringing Vietnamese refugees to Canada.
Thank you very much for sharing your concerns with me.
Elizabeth May, M.P., O.C.
Member of Parliament for Saanich-Gulf Islands
Leader of the Green Party
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