VANCOUVER The national defence minister says last week’s downing of a Ukrainian jetliner is a national tragedy and the government will work tirelessly to get answers for grieving families.
Speaking at a vigil at the Vancouver Art Gallery on Sunday, Harjit Sajjan said a number of those who died were people who came to Canada in search of a better life.
“There is much work that has been done, but there is a lot more work that needs to be done,” he said.
“We will work tirelessly to make sure we get answers for the families and the families get the right support. We can get through this together.”
The plane was shot down by an Iranian missile a few minutes after taking off from Tehran on Wednesday. All 176 on board were killed, including 138 who were headed for Canada.
Iran has admitted the plane was mistaken for a hostile target amid soaring tensions with the United States.
British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix said he was at the Vancouver memorial to honour those who died on the plane.
“We want to honour them because they contributed so much to Canadian society,” he said.
“We are grateful for their contribution and we also want to pay respect to family members and friends who have lost so much in this.”
Nazanin Moghadami, who organized the vigil, said it’s hard to believe that two weeks ago many people were with friends and family getting ready to welcome the new year.
“Little did we know that in three days our world would be upside down.”
Many Iranian-Canadians are worried and fearful that their loved ones in Iran might face another war, she added.