UKRAINE STARVATION GENOCIDE COMMEMORATION (HOLODOMOR) IN MANITOBA’S PARLIAMENT, CANADA

Luc.org on December 1, 2015, reported on the commemoration in Manitoba’s parliament of the Holodomor. All members of the Manitoba Legislavitve Assembly received copies of the newly-released English-language book ‘Holodomor – The Ukrainian Genocide 1932-1933’ during Holodomor Awareness Week. Excerpts below:

The donation and distribution was organized by the League of Ukrainian Canadians (LUC). Both Premier Greg Selinger and Opposition leader Brian Pallister were among the MLAs at the official presentation.

Afterwards, Hon Dave Chomiak read a Ministerial Statement regarding the Holodomor to which Ron Schuler, MLA responded. The LUC delegations along with Holodomor survivor Sonia Kushliak were acknowledged in the House.

Below is an excerpt from Hon. Dave Chomiak on the Holodomor:

Mr. Chomiak: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank you and I want to thank all members of the House for providing me leave.

Mr. Speaker, from 1932 to 1933, the Stalin regime deliberately induced a famine that killed an estimated 7 million Ukrainians. This regime sentenced Ukrainians to a horrifying, slow death by starvation in an attempt to destroy their hopes for a free and independent Ukraine.

One of the difficult things about the Holodomor is the question: Why didn’t people know of this outside of Ukraine? Well, how is it today? We really do not know what is happening inside Syria today. How is it we couldn’t confirm Hitler’s murderous acts?

My father lived in Ukraine during this period. I asked him many times. He did not know; he lived in that part of the Ukraine controlled by Poland. Stalin’s regime not only murdered, but they covered up.

The horror has left a deep scar on the Ukrainian community throughout the world, including here in Manitoba, where many survivors and their descendants, some survivors here today, have made their home.

To honor the memory of those we lost, we mark the fourth Saturday of November as Holodomor Ukrainian Famine and Genocide Memorial Day. November 23rd to 29 is also National Holodomor Awareness Week.

Events in the world tragically repeat themselves. This has been the sad story of the people of Ukraine. Yet in their remembrance of this tragic event and, more important, through the spirit and unrelenting resolve of the Ukrainian people, a new Ukraine has emerged.

In modern Ukraine, where as we speak, the Ukrainian people strive to preserve democracy, we join them. We join them through our remembrance of the past and hope for a truly free, united Ukraine as we go forward.

Mr. Ron Schuler (St. Paul): Mr. Speaker, our hearts and prayers are with the Ukrainian community in Manitoba and throughout the world this week, Holodomor Awareness Week, as we remember a very dark chapter in the history of Ukraine and the world.

In 1932 to 1933, Joseph Stalin’s communist regime committed genocide on the Ukrainian people, killing approximately 10 million Ukrainians in an effort so well suppressed that to this day, historians still don’t know the exact number of lives lost. This genocide is known as the Holodomor, based on the two Ukrainian words: hunger and kill. There was hardly a home in Ukraine where someone hadn’t died of starvation.

In Canada and Ukraine, Holodomor is marked for remembrance on the fourth Saturday November. In two days from now, hundreds of Manitoba families will stand in the cold at Winnipeg City Hall to hold small loaves of bread with candles in them, marking the prayer service for the 82nd anniversary of the Ukrainian Holodomor.

The people of Ukraine hold a historic place at the heart of Manitoba, with many families in our province tracing their roots to this European country. My father, Reinhold Schuler, was born in Volhynia, Ukraine.

Last September, a monument to the Holodomor was unveiled on the grounds at the Manitoba Legislature as a sombre memorial to the forced starvation of millions of Ukrainian men and women and children.

When good men and women stay silent, those with evil intentions win. Mr. Speaker, let us never forget.

Introduction of Guests

Mr. Speaker: I’d like to draw the attention of honourable members to the public gallery where we have with us today Oksana Bondarchuk, president, Ukrainian Canadian Congress, Manitoba council; we have Myroslava Pidhirnyj, president, League of Ukrainian Canadians, Manitoba branch; we have Irka Balan, Valya Noseworthy, chairs of Holodomor Awareness and Education Committee; and Mrs. Sonia Kushliak, Holodomor survivor, and her daughter, Halyna Kushliak-Sutherland, who are the guests of the honourable Minister of Mineral Resources (Mr. Chomiak).

On behalf of all honourable members, we welcome you here this afternoon.

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