MPs pay tribute to, call for justice for Canadians who died on Flight PS752
OTTAWA -- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has paid tribute in the House of Commons to those who died on the Ukraine International Airlines passenger jet shot down outside Tehran earlier this month, as MPs from all parties demanded Iran bring those responsible to justice.
Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne introduced a motion demanding co-operation from Iran throughout the investigation into how the passenger jet was downed by Iranian surface-to-air missiles shortly after taking off, killing all 176 people on board, including dozens of Canadians.
The motion called on Iran to respect the wishes of the victims' families -- and compensate them, too.
The motion, which received unanimous consent, urged Iran to conduct an independent criminal investigation and hold open and impartial judicial proceedings according to international standards.
MPs agreed to stand in solidarity with those who lost loved ones on Flight PS752 and ask Canada to continue supporting them.
There were 57 Canadian citizens and 29 permanent residents who died in the crash, as well as many others with connections to the country.
Trudeau said the spirit and values that motivated Canadians to come together to mourn the loss and help the families shows why those who boarded the flight had chosen to come to Canada in the first place.
"Before any of this happened, they were not just shaping their own lives, they were building our country, building a future we all share, that is now diminished by their loss," Trudeau said in a speech to the House of Commons.
Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said Canada continue to fight for justice for the friends and families of those who died.
"We must continue to demand accountability from those responsible within the Iranian regime," he said. "It was the Iranian regime -- and the Iranian regime alone -- who was responsible for this horrific crime."
In the days after the Jan. 8 crash, Trudeau said in an interview with Global News that had it not been for the recently elevated tensions in the region, the Canadians who died would be home with their families.
On Jan. 3, Qassem Soleimani, a top Iranian general, was killed in a drone attack approved by U.S. President Donald Trump. On Jan. 7, Iran retaliated by firing missiles at two Iraqi military bases, where U.S. troops are based.
Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet said military tension was at the root of the tragedy and sustained peace would have avoided it.
New Democrat Leader Jagmeet Singh said all MPs should acknowledge the loss by striving for peace.
"The loss that we witnessed is an example of the horrible cost of war, the horrible cost of the escalation of tension and of violence," Singh said in the House of Commons. "Violence begets more violence."
The Canadian Press has independently confirmed at least 93 victims with ties to Canada, many of them students and professors returning after spending the December break visiting relatives in Iran.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 27, 2020.