Armenian National Commitee of Canada honours Senator Leo Housakas for his unwavering support to Armenia and Artsakh

By Noushig Ghazarian Nalpatian

The Honourable Senator Leo Housakas was honoured on Sunday, March the 3rd, 2024, in Monreal at the Armenian Montreal Community Center by the Armenian National Commitee of Canada (ANCC) along with leaders and friends of the Armenian community in Montreal and Laval, for his steadfast support to Armenia, Artsakh and to the Canadian Armenian community.

President of ANC Quebec, Laval Chapter Herag Hergelian welcomed Senator Leo Housakos, Mr. Hagop Der Khatchadourian, Chairman of ANC International, Mr. Agop Evereklian close friend and fellow politician, Mr. Khoren Dimitian, president of ANCC and ANC Quebec Board of Directors and representatives of sister organizations and supporters of the community at large.

In his opening remarks to Senator Leo Housakos and those in attendance, Mr. Herag Hergelian welcomed all gathered to the evening honouring Mr. Housakos for his “recognition of an undisputed and an incomparable fierce ally of the Armenian cause.” Mr. Hergelian continued in his opening remarks reminding those in attendance that the Armenian people are currently experiencing one of the darkest and tumultuous times since 1915. “The Armenian genocide still remains denied by Turkey while after a century of unpunished crimes and without any repercussions, Azerbaijan, considered as an extension of Turkish influence in the Caucuses, continues the same genocidal policy of ethnic cleansing.” “The acts of aggression against the Republic of Artsakh in 2020 and 2023 are salient proofs of this policy.” For the first time in a century since the Armenian genocide the indigenous people of Artsakh have been forced to leave their native land. “The deafening silence of the international community and its indifference, despite its access to information in real time, only encourage Turkey and Azerbaijan and their genocidal exploits.” says Hergelian.

Mr. Herag continues his opening remarks in English and continues to say the ongoing threats to Armenia and Artsakh have a voice, in the Honourable Leo Housakos. He is one of the few voices around the globe who “unreservedly and with great political courage, stood up for the people of Artsakh, demonstrating through words and deeds that the stories of those who are voiceless should not remain untold.” Senator Housakos “bold courage, fierce voice and brave leadership” has not gone unnoticed within the Canadian Armenian community and its leaders. His deeds and courage and invaluable efforts to stand up for the community on every level is the reason the community leaders and its supporters have come together to honour the Senator for his sincere friendship and steadfast support.

The Honourable Senator Leo Housakos was first appointed to the Senate of Canada on the advice of Prime Minister Stephen Harper on December 22, 2008, to represent the region of Wellington, in the province of Quebec. He was appointed 44th Speaker of the Senate on May 4, 2015, by the Right Honourable Stephen Harper with the joint support of the Senate’s Leader of the Government and the Leader of the Opposition. Throughout his career, he has been actively involved in Canada’s service and business factors. From his early days in the Senate, it is important to note, that Mr. Housakos has always maintained close ties of friendship with the Canadian Armenian community. He has lent his support, influence and voice to be heard within the halls of Ottawa. “His continued advocacy for recognition and justice for the Armenian Genocide, followed by his tireless efforts to promote peace, freedom and self-determination in Artsakh, and his bold stance in condemning the ongoing aggressions by Turkey and Azerbaijan have sent all the right message to the international community, that they cannot remain silent nor indifferent in the face of genocide and oppression” states Herag.

Senator Housakos has been a firm advocate for human rights and justice globally. His unwavering, devoted and steadfast work for justice and human rights transcends and reaches out to all who are facing persecution. He has lent his voice and his actions to see that those who have done wrong face their consequences.

The voice of Senator Housakos is needed more than ever. Hergelian reminds the supportive listeners, “As we continue facing old and new challenges, including the aftermath of Azerbaijan’s genocidal aggression against Artsakh, the ethnic cleansing of over 120,000 ethnic Artsakh Armenians, the destruction of Armenian cultural heritage, the illegal imprisonment of Armenian prisoners of war and the ever-growing threat to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Armenia.”

The Armenian National Committe of Canada has brought together the leaders of the Armenian Community to honour Senator Housakos and for all his work but also for his ongoing support and all future efforts to represent the voice of Canadians seeking justice and peace. Senator Housakos has always been close to the Armenian people not only through deeds and words but through loyal friendships including one with Mr. Agop Evereklian who was chief of staff of Minister of Immigrations and Multiculturalism Jason Kenny and in 2011 and he ran for the Federal elections as a conservative candidate in Laval Des Iles in 2008 and Pierrefonds Dollard in 2011.

Mr. Evereklian’s close friendship with the Senator started with a simple phone call during his candidacy run in 2007 for the Laval Des Iles riding. The supportive phone call led to an ongoing friendship till this day that is based on loyalty and righteousness as Mr. Evereklian recalls before introducing the Senator.

Senator Housakos’s qualities as a righteous and loyal politician has given all the feelings and true admirations as an Indvidual and close friends to Mr. Evereklian’s from the the first phone call he received from him during his candidacy. Mr. Evereklian commends and praises Senator Housakos for his on-going support and unwavering loyalty to the Armenian people and Armenian causes here at home and in Armenia. The actions he has taken have not gone unnoticed. He has been reliable ally and stood his ground and shown his support and loyalty to the Armenian causes. He has shown his voice, and it has been heard in Parliament Hill, in the Senate, in international forums, in the European Union at the United Nations and most recently in the Captial of Armenia in Yerevan for the OSC Conference. He concludes his introduction to the Senator by saying “he is fearless warrior, devoted humanitarian to causes and he’s a tireless defender of justice and democracy and more over he shares with us Armenians our historical values and our millennial traditions.”

Mr. Evereklian concludes before calling up his friend and brother by stating “throughout history, us Armenians, we have had our national heroes and champions, Today, I am happy to say that moving forward from this day on, next to our Sasountsi Tavit, in my mind. I can also say that we have, in these modern times, our won Spartasi Levon.”

The Honourable Senator Leo Housakos work with the Armenian people comes from a compassion, respect and courage that is engraved in him as an ethnic Greek of Spartan heritage. The values and fearlessness instilled in him have played a major role in the way he handles all that has come his way politically. Being true not only to himself but for his belief of what is wrong and right in the world. His courage to speak up and be candid over issues that are not seen to follow mainstream ideas has sent him apart from other leaders and politicians. Senator Housakos, belief in democracy, rule of law and above all in the belief to do the right thing knowing that democracy is under attack. His willingness to stand for what he believes in may not be popular with the status quo and it is on this stance that he stands out from others. In his speech Mr. Housakos calls it out as it is and says the “Trudeau government has blood on his hands of the Armenian men, women and children of the people of Arsagh.” “We should not buy into the penny tokenism of politics that Mr. Trudeau engages in.” In doing so we “dishonor the memories of all the people I fight for in the Senate,” he concludes. He goes on to say when he gets up in the Senate to fight motion to recognize the state of Arsagh only to be defeated by 39 senators that are appointed by Justine Trudeau. “We should not be diplomatic or shy about this”. “Nothing is resolved by compromise.” He goes on to say that leaders are sleeping. The world is facing an axis of evil who doesn’t believe in human rights and justice. Only believe in enhancing their geopolitical territorial ambitions. As is the case with Turkey and Azerbaijan.” The Canadian government sold LR3 technology which was mounted on Turkish drones and given to Azerbaijan to basically win that war. Is the chief reason they were able to expel the 120,000 native Armenian Araghis out of Arsagh,” Senator Housakos says. “It was Canada providing that weapon. At the end the Canadian government has not given an answer who sold these weapons to the Azeris. As no one is taking responsibility. Taking action is the only way government can be held accountable for their wrong doings.”

He reminds the crowd of the accolades done by the conservative government throughout the years and the most important being the recognition of the Armenian Genocide by Harper government in 2006.

He will continue his work in the senate for the Armenian people and will get to the bottom of who sold the LR3 to the Azeris.

In conclusion, the president of ANCC Khoren Dimitian closed the evening by thanking Mr. Housakos for his steadfast support and determination and grit and how he fights for issues close to his heart. His values, of human rights and justice are parallel to Armenians when they talk about their history and what is truly important to them. Mr. Housakos stands up for all but at the root of all he does is that he stands up for Canadian values, Mr. Dimitian says.

In appreciation all is work and continued work and efforts to the Armenian community of Canada, Mr. Dimitian presented the Senator Housakos with a plaque.

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