[email protected] | Jun. 25, 2004 | Jim Jacuta

From: [email protected]
Date: Friday, June 25, 2004 2:22 PM
To: undisclosed-recipients:
Subject: [announce] Letter to the Ukrainian Canadian community in Edmonton

A Letter to the Ukrainian Canadian community in Edmonton June 25, 2004

The Ukrainian Canadian community, just as all Canadians, will have to make an important decision on June 28. We believe that asking Ukrainian Canadians to vote for one party as opposed to another based on single issues is to ask the Ukrainian Canadian to base fundamentally important decisions on a narrow foundation only. We disagree strongly with this approach to politics and urge the Ukrainian Canadian to look at the overall picture. That is, which leaders, parties and candidates would be the best to govern our country and represent our interests, for Canada, Edmonton, and the Ukrainian Canadian community? We think that Anne McLellan and others in Edmonton like David Kilgour, Debby Carlson, John Bethel, Neil Mather, Bruce King, Maureen Towns, Moe Saed, would make good choices. You have heard much in the last month about the Liberal commitment to Health Care, a National Child Care Program, Education, Seniors Care, Deficit Elimination, Debt Reduction, Economic Growth, Jobs, among other issues. The people who have signed this letter from the Ukrainian Canadian community in the greater Edmonton area believe in working in a spirit of cooperation with patience, perseverance, and firmness to help resolve complex and difficult policy issues that face the Ukrainian Canadian community. Here are some issues of importance to the Ukrainian Canadian community, and our understanding of them, that we would like you to consider:

Support for the enhancement of Canadian multicultural communities. Canadians today reflect a vast diversity of cultural heritages and racial groups and our diverse multicultural population is one of the distinctive features of Canadian society. As a country whose origins are deeply rooted in the diversity of its people, Canada is benefiting from the various linguistic, ethnic, cultural, religious and racial communities that form its population. The varied make-up of Canada's people provides this country with a powerful set of social and economic resources. We are concerned that some other parties have in the past said that they would remove support for multiculturalism from government policy. We do not know what the policy of the new Conservative Party would be. We do know that earlier the Reform Party would have done away with the policy of multiculturalism. Alberta Premier Don Getty publicly stated with the support of his then minister Doug Main that they intended to do away with multicultural legislation in Alberta. At that time community leaders of all political stripes, like Peter Savaryn and Gene Zwozdesky, fought this. People like Doug Main continue to play a significant role on the campaign team of Stephen Harper today. Do we want to risk anything that might return us to past problems that existed prior to the adoption of the multiculturalism policy, which Ukrainian Canadian community leaders like Dr. Manoly Lupul and the late Laurence Decore spearheaded? Do we not need continuing support and enhancement of cultural groups, dance groups, choirs, heritage language education schools, museums and archives, radio and television programs on an equitable basis with all others in legislation and government policy? All of these are important if the Ukrainian Canadian community is to survive and prosper in the future.

Support for strengthening immigration policy. It is important that immigrants be permitted to participate in all aspects of Canadian society, and Liberals believe the Government of Canada should play a supportive role to this end. As such Liberals would invest: $40 million for foreign credential recognition; $15 million for enhanced language training for skilled workers, which builds upon $5 million allocated in the previous year; $5 million in Budget 2004 for non-regulated sector councils; $3 million over 3 years for upgrading foreign trained medical graduates; $1 million on licensing medical graduates. Immigration from Ukraine has been increasing and many of these families are benefiting from these and other government support programs that more quickly allow full participation in Canadian society.

Canadian citizenship. Canadian citizens by birth are not subject to revocation of citizenship action. Citizenship and Immigration Canada has legislation in place to initiate revocation proceedings if it is believed that Canadians have obtained citizenship by false representation or fraud or by knowingly concealing material circumstances. This has been a contentious issue for the Ukrainian Canadian community. However, as a result of the decision of the Federal Court of Appeal within the last month in the Oberlander case we believe that the issue of revocation of citizenship related to alleged World War Two activities is well on its way to being behind us and that the decisions of the higher courts will be respected, just as they have been respected on other Charter of Rights issues.

Redress to the Ukrainian Canadian community for the internment operations 1914-1920. Liberals support a policy which is consistent with aspects of Bill C-331 that call for acknowledgement and commemoration of the historical experience of Ukrainian Canadian communities. Commemoration may include support for museums and memorial plaques and other initiatives available through existing government programs and institutions. The Government has maintained dialogue with communities requesting restitution for incidents in our nation's past. On the issue of redress, we believe that it is only a matter of time before the concerns of the Ukrainian Canadian community are satisfied. Patient work with whatever party is in power will be required to reach a just settlement. Over the past few years, we have seen growing support among MPs of all parties throughout Canada. These views have been evolving as a result of the patient efforts of many people who are achieving success by pointing out that our cause is fundamentally just. Outbursts of negativity and finger pointing have not been helpful in resolving these questions.

Support for strengthening Canada's relationship and assistance to Ukraine in furthering democratic and economic reforms. Canada and Ukraine enjoy close relations, based on a historic foundation of over one hundred years of Ukrainian migration to Canada. The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) has a large technical cooperation program in Ukraine. We are of the opinion that this program will be done away with or suffer substantial cuts if there is a change in government. This would not serve Canadian interests and would impact negatively on Ukraine's evolution toward democratic governance and market reforms. Canada also supports Ukraine's integration into Euro-Atlantic structures, such as through the NATO-Ukraine Distinctive Partnership, which provides language and peacekeeper training for Ukrainian military personnel and support for NATO-Ukraine civil emergency planning. The portfolio of CIDA projects consists of 35 projects in 10 sectors. From 1991-2002, Canada provided $235 million in country-to-country assistance. Of this, $151 million was in the form of technical cooperation, $14 million in humanitarian assistance, and $70 million in commercial credits. Canada has also committed $33.7 million in multilateral assistance and $19.2 million in regional initiatives that includes its programs in Ukraine. Drawing on the lessons learned from almost ten years of programming, "A Path to Reform: Ukraine Programming Framework 2002-2006" focuses on governance, including governance structures, institutional capacity building, strengthening civil society and was developed with input from and consultation with the Ukrainian Canadian Congress.

Based on these beliefs, and on the view that in today's Canada and in this election, the Liberal Party under the leadership of Paul Martin is the best choice for all Canadians, including Ukrainian Canadians, we urge you to vote for the Liberal candidates mentioned. We believe they will represent Edmonton's interests best, including those of the Ukrainian Canadian community in Edmonton.

Signed by: Jim Jacuta, Bohdan Klid, Halyna Klid, Rudy Pisesky, Sharon Pisesky, Halia Radiuk, Bill Shostak, Nick Seredych, and Paul Yewchuk.