Robert Herjavec hosted an event Friday 30 May in Toronto to raise funds for Canada’s Memorial to Victims of Communism. The monument, to be built in Ottawa, is dedicated to paying tribute to liberty for the many millions of people who have died under communist regimes, and the eight million Canadians who had left communism for a new life in Canada.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper delivered a strong lengthy keynote speech at the event in which he minced no words in attacking the evil of communism.
“During the 20th century, communism’s poisonous ideology and ruthless practices slowly bled into countries around the world, on almost every continent,” Harper said.
“The result was catastrophic. More than 100 million souls were lost — an almost incomprehensible number.”
“But whatever it calls itself — Nazism, Marxist-Leninism, today, terrorism — they all have one thing in common: the destruction, the end of human liberty,” Harper emphasised.
The atrocities of communism are felt very closely by Canadians, Harper said, as nearly a quarter of Canadians are either victims of communism or are the descendants of those who were.
Canadian multimillionaire Robert Herjavec, who hosted the fundraising event, made his fortune out of a hard life that began in Croatia, then part of communist Yugoslavia, where his father faced a life and death behind bars because he wouldn’t stay quiet.
After being sent to prison 22 times for speaking out against the communist regime, Herjavec said his father was told the next time he went to prison, he’d never come out.
“And so he took my mom and I and we came to this great country,” said Herjavec, the star of “Dragons’ Den” and “Shark Tank”, at the fundraiser.
Fleeing oppression and finding opportunity in their new homes was a theme that night, exemplified fittingly by the host, Robert Herjavec.
After fleeing communist Yugoslavia, Herjavec’s family arrived in Halifax with just a suitcase, and eventually settled in Toronto.
His dad’s life in Canada wasn’t easy though. He swept floors in a factory. Tougher times came when he lost his job, reported the Epoch Times.
Herjavec recalled how he tried to comfort his dad by suggesting that he could apply for unemployment benefits.
“He looked at me and said ‘No, I will never file for unemployment because this country owes me nothing but an opportunity.’”
The event that night was put on by Tribute to Liberty, the charity behind the Canada’s Memorial to Victims of Communism project. The memorial is expected to be completed in late 2015. For more information, visit TributeToLiberty.ca
From this video on Canada’s Tribute To Liberty: “… construction a national monument to the victims of communism…For too long, victims of this kind of oppression and totalitarianism have gone unrecognised, have been forgotten about. But we must learn the lessons of history if we are to avoid repeating them…” Jason Kenny, Minister for Employment and Social Development and Multiculturalism, Canada.
Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)
Related post – Raising the first monument to victims of communist crimes in Croatia – an exercise of communist inhumanity