Mr Gerard Kennedy (Parkdale-High Park):
As MPP for the area of Parkdale-High Park, I stand today to recognize and acknowledge the memory of the terrible famine and genocide that occurred in Ukraine in 1933. Ukrainian Canadians have set aside the week of November 18 to 25 to commemorate this event, as it coincides with the date proclaimed by the President of Ukraine and the statement of that country's ambassador to the United Nations.
All of us in Ontario need to remember this period. There was an unprecedented loss of population to hunger in 1933, precipitated by the actions of the occupying Soviet regime. Also lost were many of the university elite and government officials, resulting in a lack of records, but recent documentation now puts the number of people starved to death at a horrendous seven to 10 million.
This unfathomable act was deliberately hidden from view but had no less real, brutal implications for its victims, its survivors in the country of Ukraine and the many family members in Canada and elsewhere. Its occurrence is a lesson for the entire world, one that would have prevented other genocides had its existence been known sooner.
The Ukrainian Canadian Congress is to be congratulated for their work to increase public awareness of this event. I know everyone in this House appreciates the effort they are making to have this tragedy taught in our schools and to secure a permanent commemoration memorial so that the lesson is truly never, ever forgotten.
In the gallery today are 18 members of our Ukrainian Canadian community, led by Ms Marika Szkambara, and several famine survivors: Benjamin Chmilenko, Pavlo Makohon, Valentyna Podasz and Nicholas Latyshko. I ask everyone in the House to join me in acknowledging the people who are here with us today.
See Hansard: http://hansardindex.ontla.on.ca/hansardeissue/37-2/l069.htm#PARA432