TORONTO—Prime Minister Justin Trudeau joins Canadians across the country in reaffirming the government’s commitment to seeking justice for the victims of Flight PS752 as it marks three years since Iran’s military shot down the plane on Sunday. confirmed.
Prime Minister Trudeau’s remarks were made at an often emotional ceremony in North Toronto, one of several such events held in 12 Canadian cities.
Families who lost loved ones in the crash sobbed, demanded justice and lashed out at the Iranian regime throughout Sunday afternoon’s event. The Prime Minister, one of several senior officials at hand, followed suit.
“This tragedy has happened because the Iranian regime has a terrible disregard for human life,” Trudeau said in remarks to grieving relatives.
“Your grief is compounded by their refusal to hold accountable.”
Families attended a rally from Vancouver to Toronto to St. John’s, NL to mark the anniversary of the crash that killed 176 people, including 55 Canadian citizens and 30 permanent residents.
A Ukrainian International Airlines jetliner en route to Canada via Ukraine was shot down shortly after taking off from Tehran in January 2020.
A marquee ceremony hosted by the PS752 Flight Victim Families Association will be preceded by a morning reception and art gallery viewing, followed by a candlelit vigil.
Prime Minister Trudeau spoke briefly with the families of the victims before the official ceremony, which also included performances and presentations.
Photos and names of the victims were shared at the ceremony and a moment of silence was observed.
The speaker emphasized the importance of seeking justice in addition to remembering the lives lost.
Hamed Esmaelion, head of the association that hosted the event, said: “We hope the governments of the affected countries will continue to work with us to show the world that justice can only be achieved through truth. .
Federal Conservative Party leader Pierre Polivre also addressed the ceremony, calling for more serious consequences for the Iranian regime. This includes designating the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization, with similar demands coming from the families of the victims.
“It is terrifying that today, three years after this organization murdered 85 people, it is operating completely legally in Canada,” Polivre said.
In October, the Trudeau administration banned more than 10,000 former IRGC members from entering Canada, but listed the entire corps as a terrorist organization because it could punish military conscripts for non-combat duty. I am still hesitant to do so.
Community members and officials also expressed solidarity with the Iranian people protesting since the murder of Masa Amini, a young woman who died in Iran’s moral police custody in September.
Similar calls for justice came from those who attended the memorial event outside of Toronto, prompting Ottawa to take a tougher stance against Iran.
In Montreal, hundreds gathered in front of McGill University to celebrate the solemn anniversary and remember the victims. Protesters marched in the freezing cold to the International Civil Aviation Organization building, also located in the city centre.
Nastaran Razumju, a protester who lost a friend aboard PS752, said not enough has been done to support the victims’ families in their pursuit of justice and accountability.
“The family is angry. They say what the Canadian government has done is not enough,” said Rasumju.
“We are calling on aviation organizations to take action because silence is violence.”
On December 28, Canada joined peer countries in beginning the process of submitting the PS752 flight case to the International Court of Justice to force Iran to compensate the victims’ families.
Proponents argue that the move should have happened sooner and the RCMP should have launched a criminal investigation while Ottawa was negotiating with Tehran.
Prime Minister Trudeau met with families on Friday and said Ottawa will fight relentlessly for truth, justice and accountability.