During their meeting in Ottawa, Prime Ministers Volodymyr Groysman of Ukraine and Justin Trudeau of Canada.

Groysman pitches Ukraine as business opportunity for Canada

OTTAWA – During his first-ever visit to Canada, Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman remarked, in an exaggerated way at the Ukrainian Day on Parliament Hill reception organized by the Canada-Ukraine Parliamentary Program, that “every day in Canadian history” has had a Ukrainian element in it.

But that comment made on October 31 somewhat rang true – at least during and shortly after Ukraine’s youngest-ever prime minister, age 39, was here primarily to promote his country as a great Canadian opportunity for trade and investment.

Bill Browder, who campaigned for Magnitsky laws in both the United States and Canada.

Canada faces Moscow’s wrath after enactment of Magnitsky law

OTTAWA – As Canada’s Magnitsky law came into effect, the man closely connected to its namesake who campaigned for the legislation has found himself further targeted by Russia. Reacting to the bill, Russia’s Embassy in Canada called it a “hostile move” and promised “reciprocal countermeasures”; President Vladimir Putin commented that “This is just used to blow up more anti-Russian hysteria.”

Ukrainian Canadian Congress National President Paul Grod presents a Ukrainian embroidered shirt to Canada’s National Defense Minister Harjit S. Sajjan.

UCC holds annual general meeting in Vancouver

Canada’s defense minister addresses Ukrainian community

VANCOUVER, British Columbia – The Ukrainian Canadian Congress (UCC) held its annual general meeting and a meeting of its board of directors on October 13 through October 15 in Vancouver, British Columbia. Community leaders and executive members from across the country gathered to discuss the progress on UCC priorities set at the XXV Triennial Congress of Ukrainian Canadians last year. Over 40 delegates from member organizations, provincial councils and local branches attended. Dialogue and debate were focused around the three broad pillars guiding the work of the UCC: developing the Ukrainian Canadian community; celebrating and advancing the Ukrainian Canadian identity; and supporting Ukraine. “It was a pleasure for our community in Vancouver to host this year’s AGM,” stated Natalie Jatskevich, president of the UCC British Columbia Provincial Council and UCC Vancouver Branch.

UWC anniversary commemorations to conclude with events in Toronto

TORONTO – Official commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Ukrainian World Congress (UWC) will conclude with a two-day program on November 10-11 in Toronto that includes an international conference, commemorative banquet and gala concert. The conference – “UWC at 50 and Beyond: The Roadmap” – is the sixth and final in a series that has spanned six countries on four continents and examined the past accomplishments of the UWC and the Ukrainian diaspora while developing a roadmap for the future. A distinguished speakers’ roster is being featured, including UWC President Eugene Czolij; UWC Vice-President and former president of the Australian Federation of Ukrainian Organizations Michael Moravski; former UWC President Yuri Shymko; global affairs analyst Michael Bociurkiw; the director of the International Institute for Education, Culture and Diaspora Relations, Lviv Polytechnic National University, Dr. Iryna Kluchkovska; Canada-Ukraine Chamber of Commerce President Zenon Potichnyj; Ukrainian Canadian Congress President Paul Grod; American Foreign Policy Council President Herman Pirchner; former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor David Kramer; Caritas Ukraine President Andrij Waskowycz; and Rutgers University professor and author Alexander Motyl. A banquet will be held following the first day of the conference on November 10. The guest speaker will be acting Minister of Health of Ukraine Dr. Ulana Suprun.

Irwin Cotler (left) introduced a Magnitsky bill in the House of Commons back in 2011, but it was never passed. Sen. Raynell Andreychuk (center) took up the cause last year, introducing it in the Senate, and MP James Bezan (right) sponsored it in the House of Commons.

Canada’s Magnitsky bill a vote away from becoming law

OTTAWA – Canada’s long-awaited Magnitsky bill passed unanimously in the House of Commons on October 4 and is expected to receive the same endorsement in the Senate and become law six years after the idea behind it was first introduced in the House by a former Liberal Canadian justice minister and long-time human rights lawyer.

Canada can ‘donate’ arms to Ukraine before it’s allowed to buy them, says MP

OTTAWA – Canada could push Russia to support Ukraine’s proposal for a United Nations peacekeeping mission along the Ukrainian-Russian border but should start sending arms to help Ukraine defend itself against Russian-backed rebels in the Donbas region, says James Bezan, the Official Opposition Conservative shadow minister of national defense in the Canadian House of Commons. “Russia holds veto power in the U.N. Security Council, so the Ukrainian proposal has little chance of succeeding,” said Mr. Bezan, member of Parliament for the Manitoba riding of Selkirk-Interlake-Eastman, who is of Ukrainian descent. Mr. Bezan recently traveled to Ukraine with a delegation from the House Standing Committee on National Defense, of which he is a member. He explained that, if Canada signs onto the Russian proposal, which would be restricted to protecting only monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) near the battlefield and would involve Russian peacekeepers, which Ukraine has rejected, “we are guaranteeing a frozen conflict and guaranteeing that Ukraine would be forced to give up its sovereignty over the Donbas.”

Mr. Bezan hopes the U.S. will use its U.N. veto power to reject Russia’s proposal. “Canada needs to put diplomatic pressure on Russia to accept Ukraine’s proposed U.N. peacekeeping mission to allow Ukraine to enforce its sovereignty, and ensure that no heavy military equipment, supplies and troops are going back and forth across the border,” he said in an interview.

At the Invictus Games gala welcoming Team Ukraine on September 23 (from left) are: Maryna Poroshenko, President Petro Poroshenko, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Ukrainian Canadian Congress Vice-President Alexandra Chyczij and UCC National President Paul Grod.

Ukrainian Canadian community wants Canada to lead U.N. peacekeeping mission in Ukraine

OTTAWA – The national president of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress (UCC) has called on Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to take the lead in a United Nations peacekeeping mission in eastern Ukraine.

Following a September 22 meeting with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in Toronto, Prime Minister Trudeau told reporters at a joint news conference with both leaders that a U.N. mission could ensure that “people are able to live their lives in peace and security in a way that upholds the principles of international law that, quite frankly, Russia violated with its illegitimate actions.”

Flag-bearers in Centennial Park for Toronto’s Ukrainian Independence Day celebration, which also marked the 150th anniversary of Canada.

Toronto celebrates Ukraine’s independence, Canada’s 150th anniversary

TORONTO – The Ukrainian Canadian Congress Toronto Branch (UCC-Toronto) welcomed over 12,000 people to the 26th annual Ukrainian Independence Day celebration on Saturday, August 19, at Centennial Park in Toronto for what is the largest such celebration in North America and the diaspora. The 2017 Independence Day celebration marked not only over a quarter century of Ukraine’s independent statehood, but also commemorated Canada’s 150th anniversary. The event was a huge success: there was record attendance and a full day of festivities and entertainment. The stage program commenced with opening prayers conducted by clergy from the Ukrainian Catholic Church and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada. This was followed by a warm welcome from the UCC-Toronto President Taras Bahriy, and special greetings from Ukraine’s ambassador to Canada, Andriy Shevchenko and Consul General Andrii Veselovskyi.

Victoria Cross recipient remembered in Ukraine

OTTAWA – Cpl. Filip Konowal, a Ukrainian Canadian whose valor at the Battle of Hill 70 near Lens, France, in August 1917 earned him the highest medal of the British Empire, the Victoria Cross, is being remembered in Kyiv, the capital city of Ukraine, thanks to the efforts of the Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Association (www.uccla.ca) and their Ukrainian partners on this project, Free People (Vilni Lyudy). From August 15 to September 15, a billboard has been erected to honor the only Ukrainian ever distinguished with the Victoria Cross. UCCLA’s director of research, Dr Lubomyr Luciuk, observed: “On August 22, 2017, the Battle of Hill 70 memorial will be publicly unveiled, marking the 100th anniversary of that struggle. There, thanks to the generosity of a number of Ukrainian Canadian donors, including the Temerty Family Foundation, the Ihnatowycz Family Foundation and the Petro Jacyk Education Foundation, a central pathway has been named the Konowal Walk. We wanted to ensure this hero of the Great War would also be remembered in Ukraine.

J. B. Rudnyckyj in 1963, when he was appointed to the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism.

How the Ukrainians helped make Canada what it is today

In 1867 a new country, the Dominion of Canada, was formed out of a number of separate North American British colonies. Extensive celebrations of the event are being held this year to mark Canada’s 150th anniversary. In the United States, Canada has the reputation of being one of the most liberal and progressive countries of the modern post-industrial world. Not only does it have a universal health care system (which works fairly well) fully supported by the tax systems, both federal and provincial (the equivalent of Washington and the states in the U.S.), but its relatively open-door immigration system, its friendly acceptance of new immigrants, and their promotion in public life even as far as the federal Cabinet (which at present contains two ministers of immigrant Muslim background, including a relatively young Afghan woman) are the envy of cosmopolitan and liberal-minded people everywhere. In fact, the general concept of “multiculturalism” for which the country is famous, is even mentioned in the Canadian Constitution.