1st Session, 43rd Parliament
Volume 151, Issue 5

Tuesday, February 4, 2020
The Honourable George J. Furey, Speaker

Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752 Tragedy

Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: Honourable senators, it has been almost one month since Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752 was accidentally shot down. It has been almost one month since 176 lives were ended far too early. We will never be able to begin to understand the love, talent, intelligence and joy we lost on January 8, 2020.

Countries from around the world, including Ukraine, Afghanistan, the United Kingdom, Germany and Iran, lost too many of their own. However, on that tragic day, 57 of our own were lost as well. We lost 57 Canadians who had lived here their entire lives and Canadians who came here for better lives. It does not matter if they were born here or how long they resided here. They were part of our great nation. They were Canadians.

Loving, talented, intelligent and valuable members of our communities were killed out of fear. Politicians, like ourselves, were fearful and they made decisions that cost 176 people their futures.

Dr. Forough Khadem had a very bright future ahead of her. Hers is a name that will be remembered throughout Canada thanks to the University of Manitoba.

The University of Manitoba announced on the day of Khadem’s memorial service that they would be establishing a scholarship in her honour. Khadem was a scientist who was killed on Flight PS752. She graduated in 2016 with a PhD in immunology from the University of Manitoba. She made important scientific discoveries and was working at a Canada-wide non-profit.

People who knew her said she embodied the best qualities of scientist, scholar, colleague and friend. Forough Khadem had her whole life still ahead of her, like many of the other people who died on that plane; and like all those people, she did not deserve the painful and unnecessary end she was given.

Honourable senators, when we heard that so many innocent Canadian lives were destroyed in a second by warmongering politicians, we were saddened as 176 innocent lives were lost. I urge all my colleagues today to look at establishing a ministry or department of peace focused on negotiating conflicts. Violence never solves problems; violence destroys innocent lives. There is no one more innocent than Kurdia Molani, a year-and-a-half-old Canadian baby whose innocent blood was spilled so senselessly.

As politicians who are meant to lead, we cannot condone the behaviour and actions of our fellow politicians on the days leading to January 8, 2020. However, as human beings capable of empathy, compassion and love, we must honour, pay respect and, most importantly, we can never forget the Canadians and others who lost their lives on flight PS752.