Canadian Parliament First to Call for Moment of Silence at London Games
Federal government unanimously supports movement to honour Munich victims
Just days after Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird contacted the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to call for a moment of silence during the opening ceremonies at this summer’s Olympics, the federal government voted unanimously to support the movement to honour the 11 Israelis murdered at the 1972 Munich Games.
In a motion put forward in the House of Commons by Liberal MP Irwin Cotler, a prominent supporter of Israel, the vote on Wednesday made Canada’s Parliament the first to officially call for a moment of silence, according to the Canadian Press.
Thus far, the IOC has refused Israel’s request, made on behalf of the families of the 11 victims, to hold a minute-long moment of silence in London this summer, 40 years after the Israeli athletes were killed by Palestinian gunmen in Munich.
The IOC has stated that the attack has already been memorialized plenty of times and adding a moment of silence would politicize the Olympics.
Cotler said that he was pleased to see the Canadian Parliament be the first to unanimously support the movement, in a statement released Wednesday.
“The adoption of this motion is part of our responsibility to remember the victims of this terrorist assault 40 years ago,” he said. “I am pleased that all parties have worked together in common cause and hope the IOC will accede to our request.”
Last week, Baird and Minister of State for Sport Bal Gosal sent a letter to IOC President Jacques Rogge to express the Conservative government’s disappointment with the IOC’s refusal to grant the moment of silence.
“The terrorist attack targeted not only Israel, but the spirit and goals of the Olympic movement,” they wrote. “Given the impact of this tragedy, on the Olympic community as a whole and the world, it should be marked publicly as part of the official ceremony of the games, not just by the Israeli delegation.”
On Monday, Baird phoned Rogge to follow up on the issue, according to the National Post.