On January 8, 2020, Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 was shot down minutes after takeoff from Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport by the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. All 176 passengers and crew on board were killed. Fifty-five Canadian citizens and 30 permanent residents were among the 176. A significant number of victims were young people, including children. According to a BBC report at the time: “The deaths have cast a pall over university campuses across the country [Canada].” Eight days later, Canada and its International Coordination and Response Group partners created a legal subcommittee to coordinate and collaborate on efforts to hold Iran accountable for its violations of international law.
The Canadian government responded with appropriate compassion, with promises of justice for the victims’ families, but quite abruptly, the tide has turned, forcing the families to use every legal means to pursue justice on their own, and the interests of all potential victims of terror. This is peculiar, given that only two months ago, Canada reiterated its unwavering support.
It has been 19 months since Canada united in shock and grief over the downing of Flight 752. With the passage of time and innumerable news cycles later, the crash has become a distant memory for many Canadians, as new catastrophic events dominate headlines, such as, most recently, the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan. But for the families of the victims of Flight 752, their grief abides, and the promises made by the Canadian government are increasingly appearing to be empty.