OTTAWA – The Hon. Peter Van Loan, Official Opposition Critic for Canadian Heritage, today noted his disappointment that the Liberal Government has announced a delay for the Memorial to the Victims of Communism. “The critical priority is that the Victims of Communism Memorial proceed,” said Van Loan. “This is a matter that must transcend partisanship. It is important that the establishment and construction of the Memorial to the Victims of Communism continue to be supported by the Government of Canada. Van Loan reminded the government that there was a significant and extensive consultation process that determined the original design. “Further collaboration with Canadian survivors and families of victims of communism is welcome, but the government knows this community has been deeply involved in this project from the start. The Government’s delay and extended process must not become an excuse to diminish or cancel this important project.” Van Loan said the memorial will be important not only in commemorating victims, but in reminding future generations to stand against communism, in keeping with Canada’s traditions. “Canada is a world leader in standing for freedom, democracy and human rights,” Van Loan said. “This memorial will be a reminder to future generations to never forget the horrors of communism and the lives it claimed in its name. At the same time, as the old ghost of the Soviet Union is resurfacing under Vladimir Putin’s military aggression, it is now even more important to remember those victims and that western values should not be taken for granted.” The memorial is to prominently recognize Canada’s role in offering refuge to millions who fled from communist regimes for a new beginning in a free and democratic country. About eight million Canadians trace their roots to countries that lived or still live under communism, forming a significant part of Canada’s national history. This national memorial will create awareness of the horrors of communism and pay tribute to the more than 100 million people worldwide who perished or suffered under communist tyranny, including the countless number of Poles, Hungarians, Estonians, Latvians, Lithuanians, Czechs, Romanians, Bulgarians and others under Soviet oppression. Communist regimes in Asia and elsewhere also killed and terrorized their populations with victims in unthinkable numbers.