For immediately release
NO to the Promotion of Hatred
YES to the Promotion of Friendly Relations with the People of Vietnam
Statement of Canada Vietnam Friendship Society, July 30, 2020
The spectacle held today, July 30, 2020, on Parliament Hill to mark the occasion of so-called “Journey to Freedom” day is shameful. It is promoted to Canadians as honouring the “incredible contributions that Vietnamese refugees have now made to building our great country” but the Vietnamese slogans on the banners of those assembled literally promote hatred against all that Vietnam is today: its people, its government, its social and economic system. “Journey to Freedom” is rendered in Vietnamese as “Tưởng niệm Quốc Hận 30-4″. It refers to April 30 which is the day when National Liberation of Vietnam is celebrated in Vietnam and around the world. The rendering in Vietnamese of “Journey to Freedom” translates back into English as “national hatred day.”
Slogans of hatred do not belong here. The yellow flag of the former colonial occupation regime should not be hoisted on Parliament Hill by the collaborators and agents of that foreign imposed colonial regime. It is as disgraceful and insulting as it would be to fly the flag of Vichy France or the Confederate flag on Parliament Hill.
The Canada-Vietnam Friendship Society calls on the Government of Canada to put a stop hosting this event, stop inciting divisions and conflict within the Canadian-Vietnamese community and stop encouraging, funding and making Parliament Hill available to those who promote hatred against Vietnam.
“Journey to Freedom” Day was established in 2015 by the government of Stephen Harper. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic it was postponed by three months this year to July 30.
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Statement by Andy Tran, Toronto Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines
I am a Canadian-born Vietnamese youth. My parents fled southern Vietnam in the early 1980s. My parents raised me to believe that the three-striped flag of South Vietnam was the only genuine flag of Vietnam. South Vietnam, the puppet regime of the United States raised from 1955-1975 to resist our people’s revolutionary movement, was the only genuine Vietnam to them.
For a long time, I didn’t understand this conflict. I didn’t know why my family hated the one-star flag of Vietnam so much. I didn’t know why all the pagodas we attended flew this flag when the official flag of Vietnam is something different.
Now, having studied the history of my people and our long struggle for freedom, I understand why that three-stripe flag is flown here in Canada. I understand which people fly it, and why. That flag represents a class of Vietnamese who benefited more from the U.S. puppet regime of South Vietnam than a country built upon principles of independence, sovereignty, and a socialist perspective.
Those people quickly fled when the tide turned against them, and here they are now, fifty years after losing the war, flying the flag of a failed US puppet regime that barely benefited them compared to the horrors it ravaged against the masses of our people.
The fact that the three-stripe flag of the failed US puppet regime is being flown in Canada’s capital city doesn’t surprise me. It does outrage me, as do the one-sided narrative that justifies ceremonies like the Journey to Freedom Day. I find it two-faced and shameful for Canada to openly promote a division among my people while at the same time benefiting from its political and economic relationship with Vietnam. My people deserve the unity we fought for, and we deserve for our history to be shown truthfully. We deserve our flag.
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The Canada-Vietnam Friendship Society welcomes all Canadians and Vietnamese and beyond; we promote friendship between the Canadian and the Vietnamese peoples.
There are more than 240,000 Canadians of Vietnamese origin (2016 census.) Our unity, our friendship is intimately linked to building a prosperous, peaceful and happy future for both our peoples. We seek to promote actions which unite our peoples and all peoples.
In 2018, 150,000 Canadians visited Vietnam. Besides the beauty of the country and its cultural heritage and the warmth of its people, Canadians share the joy of Vietnam’s progress and achievements in raising the standards of living of the people.
There are more than 20,000 Vietnamese students studying in Canada. Some of whom will stay and contribute to our society’s development, and some will return home and use the relationships they build while in Canada to contribute to building the bonds of friendship between our two peoples.
Canada’s relations with the People’s Socialist Republic of Vietnam date back to 1973. Canada established an embassy in Hanoi in 1994. In 2017, Canada and Vietnam signed a Comprehensive Partnership in areas of political and diplomatic, trade and investment, development cooperation, defence and security, cultural and academic exchange, science, technology and innovation, and people-to-people ties.
Vietnam is Canada’s largest trading partner in ASEAN since 2015. Canada is looking to build on that relationship in the 11-country Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) free trade agreement. International trade between Canada and Vietnam reached C$6.46 billion in 2018.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc,
following the G7 Summit
Photo: June 10, 2018, in Charlevoix, Québec
Toronto Deputy Mayor Denzil Minnan-Wong and
Vice-Chairman of Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee Trần Vĩnh Tuyến
renewed the Toronto – Ho Chi Minh City Friendship Agreement, signed in 2006
Photo: October 16, 2017, in Ho Chi Minh City
Canadian Defense Minister Harjit Singh Sahan
and Vietnam Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Phạm Bình Minh.
Photo: June 4, 2018, in Ha Noi