To mark the 125 Anniversary of the settlement of Ukrainians in Canada on March 10, 2016 the Province of Manitoba proclaimed 2016 The Year of Manitoba’s Ukrainian-Canadian Cultural Heritage. At the March 10th session of the Manitoba Legislative Assembly, the Premier of Manitoba Hon. Greg Selinger, read a proclamation which had the support of all parties represented in the House.
Prior to reading the Proclamation, Premier Selinger stated, “Mr. Speaker, 125 years ago, in 1891, the first Ukrainians made their journey to Canada in search of freedom from oppression and an opportunity for a better life. Many settled here in Manitoba where they have made tremendous contributions to the social, cultural and economic fabric of our province. Today there are over 170,000 Canadians of Ukrainian descent in our province, more than any other province or territory in Canada.
And I am proud that Manitoba maintains a close relationship with Ukraine to this day. Indeed, these are troubling times for our Ukrainian brothers and sisters, and we do what we can to support those working to restore peace in Ukraine.”
Brian Pallister, Progressive Conservative Party leader rose to lend support to the proclamation. “The role of Ukrainian people in Manitoba and in Canada is vast and longstanding, which is why honouring and respecting their history is the right thing to do. And that’s why we have a responsibility too, Mr. Speaker, to never forget the atrocities of the Holodomor and the dangers of communism, one-party states and totalitarian regimes.” said Pallister. “A hundred and twenty-five years of Ukrainian settlement in Manitoba is something of which we as Manitobans should all be very proud. From their contributions to agricultural development, to the arts, to culture, even to the food we eat, the impact that Ukrainian settlement has left on our lives must always be acknowledged.”
Liberal Party MLA Hon. Jon Gerrard stated that, “Ukrainians have contributed greatly to Manitoba, and we must recognize this important anniversary, as we are doing today with various events, including declaring 2016 the year of Manitoba’s Ukrainian-Canadian cultural heritage.” Dr. Gerrard concluded by saying that “Today we treasure Manitoba’s continued ties with the people of Ukraine. Today we embrace the rich Ukrainian culture and heritage that thrives here in Manitoba. And today we hope that Manitobans and Ukrainians can continue to work together for the benefit of all of us for many years ahead.”
The full text of these remarks can be viewed on YouTube by following these three links:
The proclamation was made in the presence of representatives of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress – Manitoba Provincial Council, including President Oksana Bondarchuk, Vice President Myroslava Pidhirnyj, Treasurer Lesia Szwaluk, and UCC-MPC 125 Anniversary Committee Co-Chairs Joan Lewandowsky and Dr. Roman Yereniuk. A distinguished special guest was the Ambassador of Ukraine to Canada, His Excellency Andriy Shevchenko, who was accompanied by his spouse Ms. Hanna Homonai.
“This Proclamation is an important beginning to the year-long celebrations planned by UCC-MPC to mark the 125th Anniversary of Ukrainian Settlement in Canada,” said UCC-MPC President Oksana Bondarchuk. “It points out the contribution that Ukrainian Canadians have made, and continue to make, to the vibrancy and success of Manitoba. I am especially pleased that Ambassador Shevchenko was present to participate in this significant event. As well, I wish to thank Minister David Chomiak for his leadership in facilitating the announcement of the Proclamation, along with representatives of all political parties who – in the best traditions of Manitoba – made this proclamation a unifying gesture.”