Notes for Remarks by
The Hon. Ralph Goodale, PC, MP (Wascana)
Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada
on the occasion of
the 120th anniversary of Ukrainian settlement in Canada
October 24th, 2011
Thank you Co-chairs, Reverend Fathers, Madame Johnston, visiting Minister Kulyniak, distinguished Canadian guests, President Grod, members and friends of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress:
Good evening. My apologies for a late arrival tonight, due to votes in the House of Commons. But nonetheless, sincere congratulations upon this auspicious occasion.
Coming from a province whose beginnings were deeply impacted by early Ukrainian immigrants, and whose current success is influenced daily by a large population of Ukrainian heritage – it’s a pleasure to share in this celebration of 120 years of Ukrainian settlement in Canada.
From those two brave souls, Eleniak and Pylypiw, in 1891 has grown a dynamic and powerful Ukrainian Canadian community of 1.2 million people – a population greater than six of our provinces.
Premiers and Governors-General.
Chief Justices and Ministers.
Entrepreneurs, professionals, scientists and teachers.
Olympic athletes, hockey players, astronauts and entertainers.
And thousands-upon-thousands of hard-working citizens and taxpayers who contribute every day in myriad ways to the better lives of their families and communities.
Canada is so fortunate to benefit from this immense human wealth.
The Ukrainian Canadian community embodies the spirit of Canada – respect for freedom, democracy and human rights. And the constant, nation-building quest for inclusion, tolerance and the accommodation of diversity.
You have worked so hard to preserve your language, culture and traditions, even when they were suppressed in your homeland.
You have preserved the sacred memory of the Holodomor, even when, in Ukraine, there was denial.
And you have always reminded the world of that deep desire for freedom that burned in the hearts of Ukrainians while their country was occupied by the Soviet Union.
Here in Canada, Ukrainian Canadians have been in the vanguard of work to enshrine Multiculturalism in our Constitution, to improve our human rights laws and to defend progressive immigration. And you have led the way in the proper recognition of injustices like the sorry internment of Ukrainians in Canada.
For all of this, this nation is grateful.
I may be the only Canadian Finance Minister to have opened a Canadian Budget Speech with a statement about … Ukraine. That was in 2004 and 2005, when the world watched with both apprehension and hope as the Orange Revolution unfolded.
Now seven years later, the work is not yet done, the struggle is not over, the victory is not fully won.
Canada must stand with the indomitable spirit of the Ukrainian people — to oppose the reversal of progress and to reinforce the march forward.
Democratic participation must be fair and open.
The justice system must not be a tool to selectively silence Opposition.
Our international assistance (CIDA) must refocus to better support civil society and democratic development and accountability.
There must be robust election monitoring.
The freedom and independence of the press must be assured.
And organizations like Radio-Canada International need to have the resources to begin broadcasting again into eastern Europe to reinforce crucial democratic principles.
In all these works, and more, I have no doubt the UCC and the Ukrainian community in Canada will play a vital leadership role.
Tonight, on behalf of Mr. Rae and the Liberal Party of Canada, may I say a simple “thank you” for all that you have done, and will do, for nation-building — both here in Canada, and in that beloved land half-a-world away which holds our respect and deep affection.
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