OTTAWA – NOVEMBER 23, 2011 – On Tuesday November 22nd, as part of National Holodomor Awareness Week, the Ukrainian Canadian Congress (UCC) in cooperation with the Canada-Ukraine Parliamentary Friendship Group (CUPFG) and the Embassy of Ukraine in Canada held a solemn commemoration on the occasion of the seventy-eighth anniversary of the Ukrainian Holodomor of 1932-33 on Parliament Hill.
The Holodomor was one of the most heinous crimes in the history of mankind,the result of a deliberate plan by Stalin to subjugate Ukrainians and destroy the Ukrainian nation.For over seventy years the Soviet regime concealed the truth and misled the West in the hope that its memory would be lost forever.
The service on Parliament Hill was led in prayer by: Most Reverend Bishop Stephen Chmilar of the Ukrainian Catholic Church; His Grace Bishop Andriy Peshko of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada; Father Cyril Mykytiuk of Saint John the Baptist Ukrainian Catholic Shrine in Ottawa; Father Ihor Okhrimtchouk of Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral in Ottawa; and Reverend Petro Dvirnik of St. Peter and Paul Ukrainian Catholic Church in Scarborough.
“Today there are campaigns around the world which seek to remember and bring truth to the victims of the Holodomor. The Ukrainian Canadian Congress together with all our constituent member organizations are coordinating a series of national and local events such as this one here in Ottawa to raise awareness,” stated UCC Executive Director Taras Zalusky. “On behalf of the Ukrainian Canadian community, I congratulate Prime Minister Stephen Harper for his resolve in bringing the issue of Holodomor recognition to the forefront. I thank Canada’s Members of Parliament, Senators together with their political parties, and the Members of the Legislative Assemblies of Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Alberta, Ontario and Quebec for their assistance in the struggle against Holodomor denial.”
“As the Prime Minister put it last year in Lviv, the day after visiting the Holodomor Memorial: “To contemplate an act of malevolence on that scale truly focuses one’s mind on the nature of this evil,” stated Minister Jason Kenney. ” Let us never forget the suffering of the people of Ukraine in the Holodomor, the facts of which no one can deny for all history to come.”
Those who addressed the group of community representatives and Members of Parliament assembled were: Mr. Robert Sopuck,M.P. and Chair of the Canada Ukraine Parliamentary Friendship Group,the Honourable Jason Kenny, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism; Mr. James Bezan, M.P., Dr. MykhailoKhomenko, Chargé D’Affaires Embassy of Ukraine in Canada, : Mr. Taras Zalusky, Executive Director of the UCC, Ms. Nadia Zalem and Olenka Reshitnyk. Statements were also made in the House of Commons earlier in the day (http://www.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?Language=E&Mode=1&Parl=41&Ses=1&DocId=5265021#SOB-4894266)
The evening was chaired by Mr. Robert Sopuck, M.P. and featured emotional speeches from the Honourable Minister Jason Kenny, Mr. James Bezan, M.P., Dr. MykhailoKhomenko, Chargé D’Affaires of Ukraine in Canada, and Mr. Taras Zalusky of UCC. Mr. Bezanreminded those present that, “three years ago, Parliament made the right decision in supporting the private members bill, to not only establish the Holodomor Memorial Day, 4th Saturday of every November, but to call it for what it really is, a genocide.”
A special reading was done by Ms. Nadia Zelem, who recounted the words of her mother, Holodomor survivor Halyna Zelem, on the inhuman conditions endured by her family and the disappearance of their father at the hands of the Soviet authorities. To close the service, guests lit candles for a moment of silence and the commemoration concluded with the reading of the names of people who perished in the Holodomor.
We would like to offer a special thank you to those attended the commemoration service and encourage all Canadians to take part in the Holodomor Awareness events happening across Canada this week.
Also commemorating this event were:the Hon. Laurie Hawn, M.P.; Senator RaynellAndreychuk; Senator Consiglio Di Nino; Senator David Tkachuk; Mr. Joe Comartin, M.P.; Ms. Shelly Glover, M.P.; Mr. Peter Goldring, M.P.; the Honourable Mr.; Ralph Goodale. M.P.;Ms. Joy Smith, M.P.; Mr. WladyslawLizon, M.P.; Mr. Mark Warawa, M.P.; Mr. Mike Wallace, M.P.; Mr. Kevin Lamoureux, M.P.,and many other parliamentarians (note to draft – list all parliamentarians present).
Representatives from the Ukrainian Canadian community included: Mr. Taras Zalusky, Executive Directorof the UCC; Mr. Mykola Bilaniuk, UCC Ottawa; Mr. Ron Sorobey, the Ukrainian Canadian Professional and Business Association (UCPBA); Ms. Adriana Buniak-Willson, League of Ukrainian Canadian Women(LUCW); Ms. Marika Putko, UCC Quebec; Mr. Bohdan Shumsky, Parish President of the Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral, Ottawa; Mr. Cornell Popyk, Knights of Columbus,St. John the Baptist branch;among other members of the Ukrainian Canadian community.
We must not forget, in everlasting memory, Вічная Їм Пам’ять.
Coordinator of Stakeholder Relations