April 30, 2021
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Ottawa, ON – The Hon. Erin O’Toole, Leader of Canada’s Conservatives and the Official Opposition, released the following statement on Journey to Freedom Day:
“Today we mark the Journey to Freedom of thousands of Vietnamese refugees who fled a violent communist takeover and found peace and freedom in Canada.
“After the Fall of Saigon on April 30, 1975, countless Vietnamese people left behind their war-torn country in boats, unsure of their destination or future. Braving perilous waters, thousands lost their lives from starvation and deadly storms, but their will for freedom did not break as they were fleeing from communist persecution. Ultimately, Canada welcomed over 120,000 Vietnamese refugees.
“Because of our country’s compassionate response, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees awarded Canada the Nansen Refugee Award, the only time in history that the prestigious medal was given to an entire nation. It was under a Conservative government that the Journey to Freedom Day Act was passed, introduced by Canada’s first Senator of Vietnamese descent, the Honourable Senator Thanh Hai Ngo.
“Today, Canada is proud to be home to one of the largest Vietnamese diasporas. Canadians of Vietnamese descent have contributed tremendously to our country in all aspects of life – raising families, building businesses, and serving as professionals, first responders, clergy, and more.
“We encourage all Canadians to learn about the Vietnamese Canadian story of courage, resilience, and freedom.
“On behalf of Canada’s Conservatives, let’s together celebrate a Canada made stronger by its diversity, generosity, and welcoming spirit.”