Chrystia Freeland, at the time Canada’s minister of international trade, addresses the Montreal Council on Foreign Relations on January 6.

Chrystia Freeland is appointed as Canada’s foreign affairs minister

OTTAWA – Chrystia Freeland has become the most powerful federal government minister in Canadian history following a Cabinet shuffle by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on January 10. Ms. Freeland, who had served as Canada’s international trade minister since the Trudeau Liberals formed a government in 2015, was promoted to foreign affairs minister, replacing Stéphane Dion, who is also a former federal leader of the Liberal Party of Canada. The Cabinet shake-up – in which three ministers were given new roles, three new persons were appointed as ministers, and three ministers were removed – also reduced Ukrainian Canadian representation on the ministerial team by half through the removal of MaryAnn Mihychuk as minister of employment, workforce development and labor. In an unprecedented move, Mr. Trudeau also gave 48-year-old, Alberta-born Ms. Freeland – only the third female Canadian foreign affairs minister in history – the added responsibility of maintaining the trade portion of the Canada-U.S. file as the Canadian government prepares for Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration on January 20, effectively making the Ukrainian Canadian former journalist second only to the prime minister in power and influence. “One of the things that we’ve seen from President-elect Trump is that he very much takes a trade and job lens to his engagements with the world in international diplomacy,” Prime Minister Trudeau told reporters following the swearing-in ceremony of Ms. Freeland and five other Cabinet ministers.

Dr. Serhiy Kvit with Tetiana Antoniuk and Dr. Peter Mahaffy.

International symposium discusses higher education in Ukraine

EDMONTON, Alberta – The Faculty of Education at the University of Alberta hosted a symposium on December 8-9, 2016, about the progress of reforms in higher education in Ukraine. The event was attended by Dr. Serhiy Kvit, former minister of education and science of Ukraine, along with leading analysts from several countries. It was presented as part of the Research Initiatives on Democratic Reform in Ukraine (RIDRU) project. On the first day, the program concentrated on recent developments in higher education in Ukraine. Dr. Kvit’s presentation focused on how greater autonomy is being promoted in academic, financial and administrative affairs at Ukrainian universities, helping to prevent rectors and senior officials’ participation in the corruption that currently dominates the government and society.

A screenshot of the CIUS Digital Archive Project website.

CIUS Digital Archive Project website is launched

EDMONTON, Alberta – Developed in close cooperation with the University of Alberta Libraries and the Arts Resource Center, the Digital Archive Project of the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies (CIUS) aims to digitize, systematize and describe the core publications of the institute that have been produced over the last 40 years – essentially, since its founding in 1976. All of the digitized materials are part of the open access University of Alberta Library collections and are freely available online. The CIUS Digital Archive Project website has a search system, which operates on basic criteria such as type of document, year of publication, author, subject, scholarly discipline and chronological coverage. As of December 2016, the CIUS Digital Archive Project website contains the following materials:

• Thirty-three books published by CIUS Press, consisting mainly of out-of-print books and books on Ukrainians in Canada;

• Sixty-five research reports, consisting largely of descriptions of archival collections, rare bibliographies and other guides to researchers;

• All of the back issues of the Journal of Ukrainian Studies. Since its founding, CIUS has published an academic journal containing articles and reviews in the humanities and social sciences on topics in the scholarly field of Ukrainian studies;

• All of the back issues of the CIUS Newsletter, which has been chronicling and summarizing CIUS activities and achievements since its founding in 1976;

• The four issues of Visnyk, a Ukrainian-language newsletter published in the early 1990s for the readership of CIUS donors; and

• A complete set of CIUS press releases.

Cover illustration of the “History of Ukraine-Rus’,” Volume 3: “Christ in His Glory,” from the Egbert (Trier) Psalter (11th century).

Hrushevsky Translation Project Produces Volume 3 of “History of Ukraine-Rus’”

EDMONTON-TORONTO – The Peter Jacyk Center for Ukrainian Historical Research of the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies, University of Alberta, and CIUS Press announced the publication of a new volume of Mykhailo Hrushevsky’s “History of Ukraine-Rus’.” The new English-language Volume 3, like the eight volumes previously published (between 1997 and 2014), was prepared by the Jacyk Center’s Hrushevsky Translation Project. With its appearance in 2016, Volume 3, subtitled “To the Year 1340,” also marks the 150th anniversary of Hrushevsky’s birth. Hrushevsky characterized his multi-volume “History of Ukraine-Rus’ ” as the story of the Ukrainian people’s existence from the earliest times to the modern era. In Volume 3 he deals with one of that history’s least known but most intriguing periods – the time of the preeminence of the Galician-Volhynian state and the spread of Tatar (Mongol) rule over the Ukrainian lands. In this volume the master historian also offers a comprehensive discussion of the political, social and cultural life of the Old Rus’ period, during the flourishing of the princely state centered in Kyiv.

The Board of Directors of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress meeting at its strategic planning session in Toronto.

UCC board concludes strategic planning session

TORONTO – The Ukrainian Canadian Congress (UCC) Board of Directors, along with special guests, gathered in Toronto on the weekend of December 3-4 for a strategic planning session. The session focused on developing the resolutions set out by the umbrella organization’s recent triennial congress, as well as other key priorities. Directors from across Canada represented their member organizations and created detailed plans to operationalize these resolutions in order to address the needs and priorities of the Ukrainian Canadian community. The board determined three strategic pillars for the upcoming three-year term of the UCC: developing the Ukrainian Canadian community; celebrating and advancing the Ukrainian Canadian identity; and supporting Ukraine. Dr. Roman Petryshyn of the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies (CIUS) delivered an insightful presentation on the history and cultural identity of the Ukrainian Canadian community.

Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion with Ukrainian National Deputy Nadiya Savchenko on December 1 in Ottawa.

During visit to Canadian capital, Savchenko warns of Russian threat

Special to The Ukrainian Weekly

OTTAWA – Seven months after being released from a Russian prison, Nadiya Savchenko – one of Ukraine’s first female military pilots who captured international attention after she was captured by pro-Russian forces on Ukrainian soil in 2014, and later charged and convicted of murder by a court in Moscow – came to Canada to warn that Russia poses a serious threat not only to Ukraine, but also beyond its borders. Earlier this month, the 35-year-old, Kyiv-born member of the Verkhovna Rada was in Ottawa where she met with two senior members of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Cabinet, Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion and International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland. As a Ukrainian Canadian, Ms. Freeland has kept a close eye on Russian encroachment on Ukraine. Following his December 1 meeting with Ms. Savchenko, Mr. Dion tweeted that he had a “moving discussion” with her, and that he “commend[s] her strength [and] courage while [she was] illegally detained in Russia.”

Ms. Savchenko conveyed some of that strength in an exclusive interview with veteran Canadian Broadcasting Corp. (CBC) journalist Terry Milewski.

Marta Baziuk, executive director of the Holodomor Research and Education Consortium, addresses conference participants at Knox College, University of Toronto, on October 28.

Empire, colonialism and the Holodomor discussed in comparative historical perspective

TORONTO – Holodomor was a central theme at the conference “Empire, Colonialism and Famine in Comparative Historical Perspective,” held October 28-29 in Toronto. This is the fourth international conference organized by the Holodomor Research and Education Consortium (HREC) of the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies (University of Alberta). The first day of the conference, held at University of Toronto, featured presentations on the Irish Famine, the Holodomor and the Bengal Famine of 1943. Liudmyla Hrynevych, from the Institute of History, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, presented on “The Ukrainian Holodomor in the Context of Soviet Imperialism.” Dr. Hrynevych noted that the Ukrainian Famine is most often understood through the prism of communism and totalitarianism, with imperialism and colonialism marginal to intellectual discussions. She outlined the colonial policies of the Kremlin and the massive, forcible extraction of grain at the expense of the Ukrainian people, adding that “It was precisely the depriving of Ukrainian authorities of the right to manage the harvest that led to the Holodomor.”

Discussant Mark von Hagen of Arizona State University noted that already by 1921 the political activist Pavlo Khrystiuk had raised the question of Ukraine’s subordinate status, as would the economist Mykhailo Volobuiev in the late 1920s, before an anti-colonial critique in Ukraine became impossible.

UCC supports Canadian bill establishing Crimean Tatar Deportation Memorial Day

OTTAWA – The Ukrainian Canadian Congress (UCC) stated on November 28 that it fully supports Bill C-306, “An act to establish a Crimean Tatar Deportation (‘Sürgünlik’) Memorial Day and to recognize the mass deportation of the Crimean Tatars in 1944 as an act of genocide.”

Bill C-306 was introduced in the House of Commons by Kerry Diotte (MP for Edmonton Griesbach in Alberta) on September 28. The entire Crimean Tatar People, the indigenous people of Crimea, were exiled to the Soviet east in 1944 by the totalitarian regime of Joseph Stalin. Hundreds of thousands of men, women and children were forcibly and violently deported – almost half lost their lives during the first year of exile – for no crime other than their language, culture and traditions. The vast majority returned home from exile in the early 1990s, thanks largely to the welcoming policy of the government of independent Ukraine. It is for this reason that the Crimean Tatars and their political and civic institutions are fiercely loyal to Ukraine and today live in fear or have been again exiled under illegal Russian rule, the UCC noted in its press release.

Hennadii Afanasiev is flanked by MPs Borys Wrzesnewskyj (left) and Bob Nault.

Canadian MPs meet with Crimean democracy advocate

OTTAWA – Canadian Members of Parliament and Senators held meetings on November 16-17 with Crimean democracy advocate Hennadii Afanasiev, who serves as a special representative of Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Mr. Afanasiev’s travel and stay in Ottawa was arranged by the Ukrainian Canadian Congress. On the morning of November 16, MP Borys Wrzesnewskyj, chair of the Canada-Ukraine Parliamentary Friendship Group, arranged an exclusive interview with Mr. Afanasiev and Globe and Mail reporter Michelle Zilio. (The article can be found at: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/activist-urges-ottawa-to-impose-sanctions-on-corrupt-russian-officials/article32881149/.)

Later that day, Mr. Wrzesnewskyj along with the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defense John McKay, a member of Parliament and a representative of Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion, met with Mr. Afanasiev and Belarussian political dissident Andrei Sannikov. Both men provided their insights into the operation of Vladimir Putin’s authoritarian apparatus in Russia and the extension of this oppression into neighboring countries.

Mykola sits in the chair of the House of Commons speaker, giving the trident victory salute. With him (from left) are: MP Borys Wrzesnewskyj, Victor Hetmanczuk, Alla Nyzhnykovska and Krystina Waler.

Young Ukrainian triple amputee meets Prime Minister Trudeau, MP Wrzesnewskyj

OTTAWA – Mykola Nyzhnykovskyi, the 11-year-old boy who lost his legs and an arm in Volodarsk, near the ceasefire line in eastern Ukraine, traveled from Montreal’s Shriners Children’s Hospital to meet with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau while spending the afternoon  of November 9 on Parliament Hill as a guest of Liberal Member of Parliament Borys Wrzesnewskyj (Etobicoke Center). On August 24, 2015, Mykola and his brother Danyo were playing with two other friends in a field near their home. The boys saw an object that piqued their curiosity. Thinking the object was a toy, Mykola picked it up. The unexploded grenade detonated.