“Your entire nation is with you,” says Justin Trudeau Edmonton in the course of the airplane crash memorial
EDMONTON – A few thousand mourners listened as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivered sad remarks and a message from the Unity in Edmonton, a city that mourned the loss of 13 people who had been on board a passenger plane just days earlier that was driven by a Iranian missile was hit and killed everyone on board.
“Your whole country is with you tonight, tomorrow and in all the years to come,” he said to around 2,300 people who attended a memorial service on Sunday.
Trudeau called it a “moment of national pain” and told stories he had heard from affected families over the past few days, including that of a 10-year-old “who was confident that one day he would be prime minister of this country”. he loved so much. “
Shockwaves raged through Alberta’s capital throughout the week as the small Iranian community learned of the lost and the events leading up to the tragedy near Tehran. As of Wednesday, Edmonton has been part of the country’s center of grief, anger and confusion. Ten victims had links with the University of Alberta, and the school held a memorial service that grabbed a South End sports center – and watched across the country.
“All Canadians were shocked and outraged to learn that they had been shot down by an Iranian missile,” Trudeau told the crowd in a crowded gym.
“We won’t rest until there are answers.”
Ukraine International Airlines’ Boeing 737-800 carried 57 Canadians, 138 were en route to the country. All 176 passengers died after the plane was hit by a missile accidentally shot down by Iran near Tehran.
About a dozen emotional speeches were given by parishioners, friends, and families of the victims.
Reza Nasseri took a deep breath before starting to talk about his close friend Pedram Mousavi, a professor of mechanical engineering at the U of A, as well as other victims of the crash “who had so much to offer”.
“We miss her very much,” he said. “You will always be on our mind.”
Maryam Hejazi remembered the smile of nine-year-old Dorina Mousavi from her time when she played football for a local team she founded.
“What comes to mind is her strong curiosity,” she said, adding that Dorina likely inherited her from her “scientific parents” Pedram Mousavi and Mojgan Daneshmand. The family, including Dorina’s sister, 14-year-old Daria Mousavi, was killed in the crash.
The Mayor of Edmonton, Don Iveson, sometimes paused when he talked about the city’s grief.
“Whenever a tragedy or disaster is put to the test, Edmontons do what we take for granted,” he said. “We gather around our families, our neighbors, our friends, our fellow Edmonton citizens and our Canadians and offer solace.”
Every lost member of the congregation was honored at the service with musical performances, letters and many tearful remarks. After a moment of silence, Trudeau, Alberta’s Premier Jason Kenney, Iveson, and university community leaders spoke.
Kenney called it “one of the most tragic” days in Alberta’s history and that the losses leave a “deep well of sadness.”
“Prime Minister, we are confident that you and the Canadian government will do everything in your power to work with the international community to get answers,” said Kenney.
“To find out what really caused this appalling destruction of innocent lives.”
Edmonton is home to roughly 5,000 Iranians – while Vancouver and the GTA each have tens of thousands of people of Iranian descent – making the impact felt across the city. Over the past few decades, Iran’s population has grown, in part due to Alberta’s oil and gas industry and the University of Alberta’s prestigious engineering program.
There were other services across the country.
At the University of Toronto, which lost six students in the tragedy, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said the loss extends well beyond the university.
“This is Toronto’s loss, this is Ontario’s loss, and this is Canada’s loss,” an emotional freeland told the vigil. “Nothing will ever replace these brilliant lives that were broken off. We will always have … these scars. “
Ontario Prime Minister Doug Ford also spoke to the mourners, telling them that his administration was “shoulder to shoulder” with the Trudeau administration to bring those responsible for the tragedy to justice.
At the Vancouver Art Gallery, National Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan described the crash as a national tragedy and said the government would work tirelessly to find answers for grieving families.
Eight other Canadian officials will travel to Iran on Monday to investigate the shooting down of a Ukrainian jetliner and to assist the families of Canadians who died in the crash.
After repeated denials, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Friday that a surface-to-air missile had been launched by mistake, which shot down the flight shortly after take-off from Tehran airport.
The day before his visit to Edmonton, Trudeau said at a press conference that he was “outraged and angry” that so many Canadians are grieving for what Iran has done and that Iran must take “full responsibility” for the “terrible” incident.
“This is a tragedy that should not have happened,” he said, calling for immediate efforts to de-escalate the regional tensions that have contributed to the “great loss of innocent lives”.
With files from The Canadian Press