Vancouver, British Columbia
Vancouver, British Columbia iStock

B’nai Brith Canada said Tuesday it is supporting an effort to rename geographic sites in British Columbia that were named after historical figures who collaborated with the Nazi regime.

Henri Philippe Petain, the namesake of three geographical features on the border of British Columbia and Alberta, served as the President of Vichy France during the Nazi era. After the War, a French court convicted him of treason for his extensive collaboration with Nazis and betrayal of the French people.

B’nai Brith said in a statement it is also supporting the removal of the name of Charles Bedaux from geographical sites in British Columbia. Bedaux was a French businessman noted for leveraging his connections to Nazi and Vichy officials for commercial gain.

B’nai Brith maintains that Canada ought to remove all placenames honoring those who collaborated with the Nazi regime in any capacity.

“We have alerted officials at the Geographical Names Office of our support for citizen-led initiatives to rename certain placenames” said Marvin Rotrand, National Director of B’nai Brith Canada’s League for Human Rights. “These are odious figures who certainly do not reflect Canadian values and we should not be honoring them in any way.”

“Henri Philippe Petain and Charles Bedaux collaborated with the worst sorts of historical figures to achieve their nefarious goals,” added Michael Mostyn, Chief Executive Officer of B’nai Brith Canada. “Canada’s geographical sites should never be named after deplorable figures who collaborated with Nazis.”

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