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July 27, 2010

 

Government of Canada recognizes 1956 Hungarian refugees as part of Canada's national history

 

The Hon Jim Prentice, Minister of Environment and minister responsible for Parks Canada announced in a press release of July 26th 2010 that the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Parks Canada agreed to the designation of the arrival of the Hungarian Refugees of 1956 as an event of national historic significance. Thus the government recognizes the generosity of Canadians and the contributions of the 1956 refugees to Canada. At the same time this designation acknowledges the important role the events of 1956/57 played in the subsequent development of Canadian immigration and refugee policies.

 

In early 2006 Dr Les Jozsa, on behalf of the Sopron/UBC Forestry Faculty’s graduates, (see their story on our site: Sopron Forestry School and The Sopron Chronicle) had first recommended to the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Parks Canada that the arrival and integration of the Sopron forestry school (some 450 professors and students) after the 1956 Hungarian Revolution into the UBC Faculty of Forestry be considered an event of national historic significance and be commemorated. This recommendation must have planted the idea with the Board and the Canada-Hungary Educational Foundation, without knowing of this original proposal, made similar representations to Parks Canada in 2007-8. We are sure that many of the 1956 Hungarian Refugees in Canada will applaud the government for this recognition.

 

Since its establishment in 2005, the Canada-Hungary Educational Foundation is proud to have played a part in creating awareness not only for the reception of the 1956 refugees but also for the benefits in general of living in a culturally diverse society: one which is open to refugees and immigrants. We were pleased to support the Historic Sites and Monuments Board's initiative.

 

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Press Release

 

Government of Canada Announces the Historical Significance of the
Refugees of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution

 

First large immigration wave from the Eastern Bloc is recognized


Ottawa, Ontario, July 26, 2010 –The Honourable Jim Prentice, Minister of the Environment and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, today announced the designation of the Refugees of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution as a national historic event. This designation reflects the importance of this event for our national history and for the way in which it helped to change Canadian immigration policies.


“The arrival of thousands of Hungarian refugees helped to shape Canada’s model for the reception of refugees and helped Canadians adopt a more receptive attitude towards immigrants,” said Minister Prentice. “This event of national historic significance opened doors for other refugees wanting to live in Canada.”


With the support of its population, Canada admitted, as immigrants, more than 37,500 Hungarian refugees during the 1956 Soviet invasion of Hungary – the largest group any country received in proportion to its population. Never before had Canada ensured the selection, transport, and establishment of so many refugees in such a short period of time.


The Hungarian refugees themselves, generally young and highly qualified when they arrived, contributed significantly to Canadian society, particularly to its cultural diversity and to the national economy by contributing their skills to the country’s workforce.


“We are delighted that the Government of Canada has approved this designation, thus recognizing the generosity of Canadians towards the 1956 refugees and the important role this played in the subsequent opening up and shaping of our refugee and immigration policies,” said Ms. Judy Young Drache of the Canada-Hungary Educational Foundation. “This has in turn contributed significantly to the creation of an open, tolerant, and culturally diverse society, which remains a source of pride to us all.”


Created in 1919, the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada advises the Minister of the Environment regarding the national historic significance of places, people and events that have marked Canada’s history. Parks Canada manages a nation-wide network of national historic sites that make up the rich tapestry of Canada’s cultural heritage and which offers visitors the opportunity for real and inspiring discoveries.


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Information:
Media Relations
National Corporate Communications Branch
Parks Canada
819-994-3023

 

BACKGROUNDER
The Refugees of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956

 

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Communiqué

 

Le gouvernement du Canada célèbre l’importance historique nationale des réfugiés de la révolution hongroise de 1956


On reconnaît la première grande vague d’immigrants provenant du bloc de l’Est


Ottawa (Ontario), le 26 juillet 2010
– L’honorable Jim Prentice, ministre de l’Environnement et ministre responsable de Parcs Canada, a annoncé aujourd’hui la désignation des réfugiés de la révolution hongroise de 1956 à titre d’événement historique national. Cette désignation témoigne de l’importance de cet événement pour notre histoire nationale et pour la façon dont il a aidé à changer les politiques d’immigration canadiennes.


« L’arrivée de milliers de réfugiés hongrois a aidé à façonner le modèle canadien pour ce qui est de recevoir des réfugiés et a aidé les Canadiens à adopter une attitude plus réceptive envers les immigrants, a déclaré le ministre Prentice. Cet événement d’importance historique nationale a ouvert les portes à d’autres réfugiés qui voulaient vivre au Canada. »


Avec le soutien de sa population, le Canada a accepté plus de 37 500 réfugiés hongrois lors de l’invasion soviétique de la Hongrie en 1956 – le groupe le plus nombreux que tout pays a reçu par rapport à sa population. Jamais auparavant le Canada n’avait choisi et assuré le transport et l’établissement d’autant de réfugiés pendant une période si brève.


Les réfugiés hongrois, en général très jeunes et très qualifiés, ont apporté une contribution considérable à la société canadienne, particulièrement à sa diversité culturelle et à l’économie nationale en mettant leurs compétences au profit de l’effectif du pays.


« Nous sommes ravis que le gouvernement du Canada ait approuvé cette désignation, reconnaissant ainsi la générosité des Canadiens envers les réfugiés de 1956 et le rôle important que cet événement a joué dans l’ouverture et le façonnement de nos politiques touchant les immigrants et les réfugiés, a déclaré Mme Judy Young Drache de la Canada-Hungary Educational Foundation. Cet événement, à son tour, a considérablement contribué à la création d’une société ouverte, tolérante et multiculturelle, ce qui demeure une source de fierté pour nous tous. »


Créée en 1919, la Commission des lieux et monuments historiques du Canada conseille le ministre de l’Environnement quant à l'importance historique nationale des lieux, des personnes et des événements qui ont marqué l’histoire du Canada. Parcs Canada gère un réseau pancanadien de lieux historiques nationaux qui commémorent les personnes, lieux et événements qui ont façonné l’histoire du Canada et qui permettent aux visiteurs de faire des découvertes authentiques et inspirantes.


Pour de plus amples renseignements, veuillez consulter la fiche d’information connexe à l’adresse www.parcscanada.gc.ca, sous Salle des médias.


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Renseignements :
Relations avec les médias
Direction nationale des communications corporatives
Parcs Canada
819-994-3023

 

FICHE D’INFORMATION
Les réfugiés de la révolution hongroise de 1956

 

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