UCC Welcomes Emergency Debate on Ukraine



October 17, 2011-Ottawa, Canada-The Ukrainian Canadian Congress welcomed the resolution adopted by the House of Commons to hold an emergency debate tomorrow on the situation in Ukraine. The Ukrainian Canadian community is deeply disturbed by the verdict rendered in the trial of former Prime Minister of Ukraine, Mrs. Yulia Tymoshenko.

“We encourage parliamentarians to censure anti-democratic and authoritarian tactics used by the government of Ukraine.  However, we caution against any moves that would isolate Ukraine from Euro-Atlantic integration and push them back into Russia’s sphere of influence,” stated UCC National President Paul Grod.

Mrs. Tymoshenko was found guilty of exceeding her authority as prime minister and was sentenced to 7 years incarceration and a 3-year ban from holding public office for having signed a gas deal with the Russian Federation that is “unfavourable to Ukraine” during her term in office. The trial has been widely condemned due to its political nature and the attempt to eliminate Ms. Tymoshenko as an Opposition leader.

The House of Commons agreed unanimously to hold a take note debate on the situation in Ukraine tomorrow. The motion, introduced by the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Minister Peter Van Loan reads as follows:

“That a take-note debate on the subject of concerns regarding the ongoing erosion of democracy in Ukraine, including most recently the politically motivated and arbitrary prosecution and conviction of former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko by Ukrainian authorities take place, pursuant to Standing Order 53.1, on Tuesday, October 18, 2011.”

In addition, on Thursday, the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Commons will be holding a hearing on the situation in Ukraine where the Ukrainian Canadian Congress will be appearing as a witness.

“The Ukrainian Canadian Congress has called upon the Government of Canada to formally and publicly express its concern and dismay as to the process and verdict in this case. Canada has a responsibility to urge Ukrainian authorities to ensure a fair, transparent and impartial process in any appeal in the case of Ms Tymoshenko and in the other trials related to members of the former government. The right of appeal should not be compromised by imposing limitations on the defendants’ ability to stand in future elections in Ukraine, including the parliamentary elections scheduled for next year,” stated UCC National President Paul Grod. “Canada must send a clear message to President Yanukovych that these types of actions will lead to serious consequences including jeopardizing the negotiation of a Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement.”

The debate takes place following several politically motivated political prosecutions of opposition leaders in Ukraine. It is scheduled to take place beginning at 18:30 on Tuesday, and will last for approximately four hours. It will be televised on CPAC – the Parliamentary Channel.



Media Contact:

Darla Penner
Telephone: (204) 942-4627
Email: dpenner@ucc.ca
Website: www.ucc.ca


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