Saturday, June 20, 2020

Bombing of Air India Flight 182 an attack on Canadian families but few cared then and few aware now

June 23, 2020, will mark 35 years since Air India Flight 182 was blown up off the coast of Ireland, killing all 329 people on board. It was a targeted attack on Canadian families. Among the dead were over 80 children.

Two years ago, I wrote to many MPs and asked that, before departing for their summer recess, which officially begins on June 23, they observe a moment of silence in memory of those victims. Parliamentarians who look forward to returning home, to be with family and friends, should not forget that those boarding Air India 182 had the same longing, the same expectation.
Despite its stature as the worst terrorist attack in Canada’s history, Air India 182 did not make an appreciable impact on the nation and is almost absent from our national consciousness. This despite valiant efforts by Bob Rae and John Major through both a preliminary investigation and public inquiry concerning the bombing.
From Rae’s report, Lessons to be Learned (2005): “Let it be said clearly: the bombing of the Air India flight was the result of a conspiracy conceived, planned, and executed in Canada. Most of its victims were Canadians. This is a Canadian catastrophe, whose dimension and meaning must be understood by all Canadians.”

Exacerbating the grief experienced by families of the victims was the blatant disinterest of successive Canadian governments in their pain and plight. In Major’s final report, Air India Flight 182: A Canadian Tragedy (2010), he was blunt: “In stark contrast to the compassion shown by the Government of the United States to the families of the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, for all too long the Government of Canada treated the families of the victims of the terrorist attack on Flight 182 as adversaries. The nadir of this attitude was displayed when the families’ requests for financial assistance were met by the Government’s callous advice to seek help from the welfare system.”
20/06/20 Meera Nair/Vancouver Sun
(Excerps from a letter Meera Nair wrote on June 7, 2020, and sent to all federal political leaders).
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