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Premier Doug Ford announced on Thursday that new scholarships would be provided in honour of the 57 Canadians who lost their lives on Ukrainian International Airlines flight 752. Ford called the leadership in Iran a “ruthless, evil regime.”
“Innocent lives got shot down by a ruthless, careless Iranian regime,” said Ford in a report by the Toronto Sun. “I want to send a message—and it may not get over there—I support the (anti-government) protesters that are out there. We believe in democracy here in Canada and we’d like to see nothing less than democracy in Iran.”
Some of the families that Ford met with expressed that they put the blame for the incident on the Iranian regime and are looking for justice.
Ford noted, “Nothing, nothing at all was more emotional than sitting down with five families and listening to their stories.”
“One gentleman told me how he lost his daughter and his granddaughter; another person lost their husband; another person lost their brother, sister and a wife and child,” he said. “It was absolutely heartbreaking.”
Ford expressed that he was happy with the way the Canadian government was able to respond to the families of the victims.
He also revealed that there will be 57 post-secondary scholarships created in Ontario to honour Canada’s victims.
The tragedy cost the lives of students in more than a dozen post-secondary schools in Ontario.
The new scholarships will be for the 2021-22 school year and the government will be distributing $10,000 for each.
The scholarships will be distributed with financial need and academic merit in mind. The schools will be working with the families of the victims to determine scholarship recipients.
Ford said, “They were smart, gifted people who had a bright future ahead of them,” and added, “In fact, 34 out of the 57 Canadians were studying — they were PhD candidates, professors, researchers, doctors.”
He also mentioned that a victim of the crash had been working on a new breast cancer drug therapy.
“We will honour their memories through these scholarships to recognize their incredible contributions to our communities,” said Ford.
The province will be distributing the scholarships to the schools that the victims were employed at or attending.
In the weeks to come, the Ministry of Colleges and Universities will be working with government, communities and schools in order to continue to develop the scholarships.