Ukrainian Independence Day
Statement by the Hon. Jim Karygiannis,
Member of Parliament, Scarborough-Agincourt
and Liberal Critic for Multiculturalism
I would like to take the opportunity to wish members of the Canadian Ukrainian community a Happy Independence Day.
On August 24, 1991, the Ukrainian Parliament adopted the Act of Declaration of Independence of Ukraine, establishing Ukraine as an independent, democratic state. Until that time it belonged to the USSR as the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. The passage of the Act was in the aftermath of the August 19th coup attempt when Communist leaders of the Soviet Union tried to restore central Communist Party control over the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic.
On this public holiday, Ukrainians celebrate an important milestone in their history with parades, flag raising ceremonies, concerts and cultural performances. Members of the Ukrainian Diaspora in Canada mark the occasion with flag raising ceremonies and cultural festivals.
The people of Ukraine expressed overwhelming support for the Act of Declaration of Independence in a referendum on December 1, 1991, with a vote of more than 90 per cent in favour. Many members of the Canadian Ukrainian community worked for the ‘yes’ side in the referendum.
Canada was one of the first countries to recognize the independence of sovereign Ukraine on December 2, 1991. Canada and Ukraine enjoy close relations in the areas of trade and investment and as members of the United Nations and La Francophonie.
Canada is a proud multicultural nation that embraces a wide variety of cultures and heritages. Canadians of Ukrainian heritage help to foster this identity and strengthen the fabric of our society.