Prime Minister recognized for outstanding achievement, service and dedication to the Ukrainian-Canadian community
TORONTO – Prime Minister Stephen Harper today accepted the Shevchenko Medal Award, for his and the Government’s many contributions to the Ukrainian-Canadian community and the people of Ukraine . The Shevchenko Medal Award is the highest form of recognition given out by the Ukrainian Canadian Congress.
“I am honoured to receive this prestigious award that recognizes the significant efforts our Government has made to address the needs and interests of our vibrant Ukrainian-Canadian community and to strengthen our ties with Ukraine ,” said the Prime Minister. “Our Government will continue to acknowledge and embrace the contributions of Ukrainians, their struggles for independence and their contributions to Canadian society.”
The Government has taken decisive action for this community, including passing a bill in 2008 recognizing the Holodomor as an act of genocide, upgrading community centres and social housing in Ukrainian-Canadian communities, and recognizing the internment of Ukrainian-Canadians and others during the First World War. The Government will also continue to strengthen bilateral ties with Ukraine and help in the building of a democratic, independent and prosperous society.
The Ukrainian Canadian Congress bestows the Shevchenko Medal Award every three years to recognize Canadians, institutions and organizations for their outstanding national contributions to the Ukrainian-Canadian community. Prime Minister Harper is proud and honoured to be recognized with this award this year.
PRIME MINISTER STEPHEN HARPER ACCEPTS AWARD FROM UKRAINIAN-CANADIAN COMMUNITY
Since Canada established diplomatic relations with Ukraine in 1992, the two countries have enjoyed close bilateral relations. Generations of Ukrainian immigrants to Canada have forged historic ties of friendship, reinforced by shared values and interests.
The Ukrainian Canadian Congress has been instrumental in advancing the interests of the Ukrainian-Canadian community, by promoting stronger ties between the two nations, identifying the needs of Ukrainian-Canadians and enhancing the role of the community in mainstream society.
The Ukrainian Canadian Congress bestows the Shevchenko Medal Award every three years to recognize Canadians, institutions and organizations for their outstanding national contributions to the Ukrainian-Canadian community. This year, the Congress awarded the medal to Prime Minister Stephen Harper at a tribute event – the highest form of recognition granted by the Congress.
Since 2006, the Prime Minister and the Government have:
* Passed the Ukrainian Famine and Genocide (“Holodomor”) Memorial Day Act in 2008, making Canada one of the first countries to adopt legislation to recognize the Ukrainian Famine of 1932-33 as an act of genocide;
* Supported democratic reforms in Ukraine , highlighted during his recent trip to Ukraine in October 2010; the Prime Minister publicly expressed Canada ’s commitment to support human rights, democratic development, and free and fair elections in Ukraine ;
* Sent over 200 election observers to Ukraine for the 2010 Presidential elections;
* Entered into historic Free Trade negotiations with Ukraine in 2010;
* Actively supported Ukraine ’s engagement with NATO;
* Renewed Ukraine ’s status as a country of priority for international assistance through CIDA in 2009;
* Signed a Youth Mobility Agreement to facilitate travel and exchanges between Canadian and Ukrainian youth during the Prime Minister’s recent trip in October 2010, giving young people more opportunity to travel and work in each other’s countries;
* Established the “Canadian First World War Internment Recognition Fund” in 2008, in response to years of effort by the Ukrainian-Canadian community to recognize the internment of Ukrainian-Canadians and other Canadians of Eastern European descent from 1914-1920; and
* Upgrading community centres and social housing in Ukrainian-Canadian communities throughout the country under Canada ’s Economic Action Plan, such as: the Ukrainian Home of Vita Community Centre, Fraserwood Hall for the Ukrainian National People's Home Association of Taras Shevchenko and the Ukrainian Villa Church .
Canada is home to more than 1.2 million Ukrainian-Canadians. In 1991, Canada was the first Western country to recognize Ukraine ’s independence. We established diplomatic relations in 1992.
PRIME MINISTER STEPHEN HARPER RECEIVES SHEVCHENKO MEDAL AWARD