OTTAWA – A large banner at the construction site of the “Memorial to the Victims of Communism – Canada, a Land of Refuge” has been vandalized. The words “Communism will win” and Soviet hammer-and-sickle emblems were spray painted on the bilingual (English-French) banner.
The $3 million memorial dedicated to those who suffered under Communist regimes is slated to be completed this year.
“The Memorial to the Victims of Communism is to be a national place of mourning, reflection, contemplation and remembrance, honoring the millions of innocent victims murdered by Communist regimes throughout the world,” the Ukrainian Canadian Congress (UCC) noted in a statement released on July 6.
ByChristopher Guly/Special to The Ukrainian Weekly |
OTTAWA – Nearly a year ago, more than 800 representatives of 37 countries and 10 international organizations came to Toronto to attend the third annual Ukraine Reform Conference.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy was there too, with his wife, Olena Zelenska, when Ukraine’s then-new president chose the global summit in Canada to make his first overseas trip and North American debut. The young Ukrainian leader was warmly welcomed by Canada’s youthful prime minister, Justin Trudeau, and his influential (and Ukrainian Canadian) foreign affairs minister, Chrystia Freeland, who now serves as Canada’s deputy prime minister.
It was an event – and a piece of history never to be repeated.
TORONTO – A gift of $10 million by the Temerty Foundation was made in April to the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Medicine to help its partner hospitals respond to the immediate needs of frontline health-care workers, and facilitate research and training in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In early April, the Temerty Foundation committed to the donation for the creation of the Dean’s COVID-19 Priority Fund. The fund directly supports frontline clinical faculty members and trainees who are fighting the pandemic, and researchers at the University of Toronto (U of T) and partner hospitals that are seeking to improve testing, accelerate vaccine research, and create better treatments and prevention strategies.
TORONTO – The COVID-19 Children’s Relief Initiative was launched on May 20 as an online appeal to provide support to children in Ukraine in need of basic supplies during the coronavirus pandemic.
Almost 100,000 children in Ukraine were living in government-run residential institutions or rehabilitation centers prior to the quarantine announced on March 11. In an effort to contain the spread of the coronavirus, approximately 50,000 children were sent home to their biological families, many of whom are unable to provide or care for them.
MONTREAL – The Canadian Centre for the Great War (CCGW), a non-profit organization, has launched an online exhibit, “Confined: Reflections on Internment in Canada during the First World War.”
The exhibit shows images from the internment operations in Canada during World War I that targeted, among other ethnic groups, Ukrainians, who were labeled as “enemy aliens.” The exhibit can be found on the center’s website, www.confined.greatwarcentre.com, with additional photos on its Facebook page, www.facebook.com/greatwarcentre/photos.
The beginning of the 20th century was a turbulent time in the history of Ukraine, and indeed, all of Europe. The Great War of 1914-1918 convulsed the continent, and was followed by the nearly complete collapse of the Old Order. The German, Austrian and Russian empires were no more. The Ottoman Empire was soon to follow. New states and new nations were being born. Others were indeed born, but their statehood killed in their infancy. Revolutions and more wars followed. Nation fought nation, and one social class confronted another. Various forms of nationalism were opposed by various forms of socialism, and the new and frightening specter of militant Communism raised its scarlet head. Amidst it all, individuals and families strove merely to survive.
TORONTO – The global coronavirus pandemic has created an urgent need to provide information to the public regarding its effects and coping mechanisms. Although there is plenty of information circulating on the Internet about the effects of COVID-19 on people’s physical health and the economy, there is a lack of information in the Ukrainian language on how it may affect mental health.
As a result, an online educational information series in the Ukrainian language has been created by Yana Kreminska and Adriana Luhovy. Focusing on the effects of COVID-19 and quarantine on mental health, the project is called “Coping with the effects of COVID-19.” Filming began on April 15, with the first video viewable online on April 29.
CALGARY, Alberta – Given the lockdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic in England and around the world, the Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Foundation (UCCLF) and its partners have postponed the unveiling of a memorial stained-glass window in London, originally scheduled for May 8 – the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe (V-E) Day. Over the past several years, the UCCLF team has worked hard to ensure that the service and sacrifices of the thousands of Ukrainian Canadians who served overseas during the second world war, and Ukrainians who did likewise in the armed forces of the other Allied powers, would be recalled on this historic date. Commenting, UCCLF’s chairman, Borys Sydoruk, said: “Obviously, we are disappointed at not being able to witness the unveiling of this commemorative stained-glass window on May 8. Other possible dates are now being considered, public health and safety considerations permitting. In the meantime, we will be reaching out to surviving veterans and their families by mailing some 3,500 postcards across Canada and internationally, calling attention to the importance of this date and the contributions of Ukrainian Canadians in uniform.”
He continued: “We have also organized publication of a half-page notice in the May 8 edition of The Globe and Mail, recalling how these men and women volunteered for service overseas, demonstrating their loyalty to Canada by defending our way of life.
TORONTO – The Ukrainian World Congress (UWC) is challenging the July 2019 decisions by the Office of the Prosecutor General and the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation (RF) that declared the UWC an “undesirable” organization and banned its activities in the RF.
Deeming UWC an “undesirable” organization is yet another example of the continued violations of human rights and efforts to assimilate and isolate the Ukrainian minority in the RF from the global Ukrainian community, Ukraine and the democratic world, the Ukrainian World Congress noted.
Dramatic changes that began with the collapse of the Soviet regime provided Ukrainians with a chance to re-establish their statehood. On July 16, 1990, the Ukrainian SSR Parliament passed the Declaration of State Sovereignty proclaiming the need to build the Ukrainian state based on the rule of law. On August 24, 1991, the same Parliament adopted the Act of Declaration of the Independence of Ukraine, which was subsequently supported by Ukrainian citizens in the referendum of December 1, 1991.
After prolonged Russian occupation, Ukrainians received the opportunity to govern their own state. However, Ukraine suffered from lack of talents to share and promote Western democratic values. The ruling political establishment was made up mainly of former members of the Communist Party and needed to be replaced by a generation of intelligent and determined Ukrainians motivated to implement best democratic practices in all areas of social life.