of British Columbia
excerpts from April 1st, 2019 Afternoon Sitting
Fourth Session, 41st Parliament (2019)
OFFICIAL REPORT OF DEBATES (HANSARD)
Monday, April 1, 2019
Issue No. 227
Hon. B. Ralston: Today in the House are a number of Canadians of Ukrainian origin who are here to launch a Canada-wide initiative to raise the knowledge of and awareness of the Holodomor. It is the death by starvation, literally translated from Ukrainian, of six million to ten million Ukrainians — the numbers vary because it was so horrible an experience, and records were very remote — in the winter of 1932 and 1933, unknown and kept secret in Stalin’s Russia, actually, until more or less the Iron Curtain fell in 1989.
The group here includes the executive director of the Canada-Ukraine Foundation, Roma Dzerowicz; the Ukrainian Canadian Congress Victoria branch chair, Robert Herchak; and fellow board members Anna Visnevka, Motria Koropecki and Andrei Fabrikov. Would the House please make all of them welcome.
(Standing Order 25B)
HOLODOMOR AWARENESS AND REMEMBRANCE
G. Begg: Four years ago, April was designated as Genocide Remembrance, Condemnation and Prevention Month in Canada. Humanity has witnessed many genocides, including the Holodomor.
The Ukrainian Canadian council and Canada-Ukraine Foundation are here today as part of their Holodomor National Awareness Tour. Their mission: to build a strong, democratic and diverse society in Canada by raising awareness about the Holodomor.
Holodomor is a Ukrainian word that means extermination by means of starvation. Between 1932 and 1933, an estimated ten million Ukrainians suffered and lost their lives to the famine genocide. Of those, one-third were children.
Many of the survivors of this famine and genocide, and their descendants, reside here in Canada. There are close to 1.4 million Ukrainians and Ukrainian descendants in Canada, making this the world’s third-largest Ukrainian population.
Canada has a long-standing relationship with the Ukraine. In fact, Canada was the first western nation to recognize Ukraine’s independence back in 1991. The Ukrainian-Canadian community, built over four waves of immigration dating back at least to 1891, began on the Prairies but, more recently, has expanded into Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia. Their community has greatly contributed to the cultural, economic, political and educational life in British Columbia and across Canada.
I encourage members to take the opportunity today to participate in the 20-minute audiovisual presentation in the Holodomor mobile classroom, parked in front of the Legislature, to learn more about this horrific part of humanity’s history.
The historical truth of the Holodomor was suppressed for many years in the former Soviet Union. More recently many governments around the world have recognized this deliberate campaign of starvation of Ukrainians as genocide.
I invite British Columbians to take time to remember the victims of genocide. It is our collective responsibility to reflect on these tragedies so that we can learn and prevent them from ever happening again. May we never lose sight of our shared duty to protect human rights and dignity and to fight hate and discrimination.