Achievements in Canada
The long struggle for acceptance by Ukrainian immigrants in Canada has been largely won by their toughness, resourcefulness and resilience. The original lure of free lands has transformed the unwelcome Ukrainian immigrant mass into an integral and politically important element of Canada which has played a leading role in remaking Canada into a multicultural nation.
Individual Ukrainians have attained some of the highest offices in the land: other have spearheaded breakthroughs in science or won national acclaim in the arts or sports. With such prominent Canadians of Ukrainian descent as the Governor General of Canada, Ramon Hnatyshyn: the Premier of Saskatchewan, Roy Romanow: the Premier of Manitoba, Gary Filmon; the Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba, Peter Liba; the Lieutenant Governors of Saskatchewan, Sylvia Fedoruk and Stephen Worobetz; the Supreme Court Justice, John Sopinka; Senators Paul Yuzyk and Raynell Andreychuk and the hockey superstar, Terry Sawchuk, Ukrainian Canadians should feel pretty comfortable in their country as its nation builders.\
Indeed, in the eyes of the most recent immigrants of other ethnic and racial origin, Ukrainian Canadians appear as members of the Canadian “establishment”. The long, often disheartening, struggle for acceptance has been succeeded by the realization that further struggle lies ahead for Ukrainian Canadians, if much of their original culture is to be preserved.
Grains of Wheat and the Maple Leaf
by Solomiya Ostapyk
As a country largely shaped by the experiences, backgrounds, and contributions of the members of its population, Canada owes much to the countless groups of people who immigrated to its lands over the past decades and centuries. Ukrainians, one such ethnocultural group, have established a strong presence in Canada which has given birth to a particular identity: Ukrainian Canadian. This population has persevered, evolved, and progressed over the years, and in so doing, has made a distinctive mark on Canadian society. For diverse reasons ranging from resilience in the face of discrimination to a will for cultural preservation, Ukrainian Canadians have succeeded, both collectively and individually, to project their voices across the country.
When Ukraine briefly gained independence in 1918, members of the Ukrainian diaspora across the world celebrated their ancestral country’s newfound status. Passion and pride in the land of their heritage motivated Ukrainian Canadians to express their sentiments to diplomats and to the Canadian government, in the hopes of persuading the Allied Powers to recognize the Ukrainian National Republic. Although their admirable efforts did not return much success, the strong will of the Ukrainian Canadians in these matters was not futile. They proved that they could, collectively as a population, work toward a common goal, ensure their views reached an intended audience, and establish a powerful and valuable presence in Canada. This perseverance has lasted and Ukrainian Canadians continue to influence Canada politically today. All of the political advocacy, passion, and work of Ukrainian Canadians, from their initial involvement in Prairie municipal politics to their current efforts against war in Ukraine, combine to demonstrate that this population has a strong influence and an important role in Canada.
About the Author
Solomiya is a second-year communications student at the University of Ottawa and is involved with several Ukrainian Canadian organizations. She teaches and performs with the Svitanok Ukrainian Dance Society, and is an Executive member of the uOttawa Ukrainian Students’ Club and secretary of the Capital Ukrainian Festival. Solomiya is passionate about her Ukrainian heritage and about sharing in it with others