April 30, 2018

Conservative motion commemorating Fall of Saigon, Vietnamese refugees adopted by Alberta Legislature

The Alberta Legislature has unanimously adopted a motion commemorating April 30 as “Journey to Freedom Day,” remembering the oppression experienced by millions of Vietnamese after the fall of Saigon in 1975, and the remarkable journey of Indochinese Boat People to freedom in Canada.

“I am thrilled that all parties and members supported my motion to recognize Journey to Freedom Day in Alberta,” said United Conservative Party Leader Jason Kenney.  “This is a wonderful way of recognizing the heroic journey of 60,000 Vietnamese Boat People to Canada after the Communist regime took control of South Vietnam in 1975, beginning years of violent political oppression. The motion also recognizes the generosity of Canadians – including many Alberta communities – in providing security, freedom and opportunity to the Boat People fleeing Communist oppression.”

The motion adopted by the Legislature was modeled on the Parliament of Canada’s 2015 Journey to Freedom Day Act, authored by Conservative Senator Thanh Hai Ngo.  “I would like the thank Senator Ngo for his leadership in ensuring that this remarkable moment in Canadian history is not forgotten, and to thank our Vietnamese community for their support for this important educational initiative,” Kenney said.

“In remembering the journey to freedom of Vietnamese refugees, we must also remember that political oppression and the denial of fundamental righs continues today in Vietnam,” Kenney said. This commemorative day is also an opportunity to call for the release of political prisoners and respect for the rights of the Vietnamese people.”

Wording of the motion moved by Hon Jason Kenney and adopted unanimously by the Legislature of Alberta:

Be it resolved that the Legislative Assembly urge the Government to recognize April 30th each year as “Journey to Freedom Day” in commemoration of the more than 60,000 Vietnamese refugees who came to Canada in search of freedom and prosperity, following the fall of Saigon and the end of the Vietnam War in 1975.

And be it further resolved that the Legislative Assembly recognize the valuable contributions of Alberta’s Vietnamese community to our Province.

Key Facts:

  • An estimated 65,000 Vietnamese were executed by the Hanoi regime following the Fall of Saigon in 1975.
  • An estimated 1 million suspected enemies of the regime were sent to re-education camps in the years that followed
  • The Government of Prime Minister Joe Clark created a special restettlemet program in 1979 that welcomed over 60,000 Vietnamese Boat People from UN camps in Southeast Asia. A further 80,000 were welcomed in subsequent years
  • Statsitics Canada indicates that there are approximately 21,000 Albertans of Vietnamese origin

For More information: http://senatorngo.ca/history-of-the-boat-people/#exodus2