Toronto, March 23, 2011
On Tuesday, March 22, 2011 MP David Sweet (Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale) tabled a motion that was adopted unanimously at the Parliamentary Subcommittee on International Human Rights to investigate human rights abuses in Ukraine. The motion was drafted in cooperation with MP James Bezan (Selkirk-Interlake).
“The member organizations of the Canadian Conference in Support of Ukraine deeply appreciate the initiative taken by MP James Bezan and MP David Sweet to call for hearings on the human rights situation in Ukraine,” said Orest Steciw of the League of Ukrainian Canadians (LUC).
The LUC and its fellow organizations in the CCSU have called on Conservative and Liberal leaders in Parliament to support hearings. In February the CCSU delegation met with MPs Mark Warawa and James Bezan, Chair and Secretary, respectively, of the Canada-Ukraine Parliamentary Friendship Group. They also met with the Leader of the Official Opposition, Hon. Michael Ignatieff (Etobicoke-Lakeshore), and MP Borys Wrzesnewskyj (Etobicoke Centre), Vice-Chair of the Canada-Ukraine Parliamentary Friendship Group.
At those meetings the CCSU noted the significance of the historic trip to Ukraine by Prime Minister Stephen Harper in October 2010. “In Ukraine the Prime Minister conducted himself with great statesmanship in support of the Ukrainian people and their right to freedom, human rights, democracy and the restoration of their history and national dignity. By so doing, he set the bar high for other leaders of the Free World. He also set the bar high for subsequent actions by the Canadian government.
Therefore, the hearings will be an important next step in keeping the Canadian people and the world apprised of the human rights situation in Ukraine. It also will signal to the Yanukovych regime that Canada and the world are watching and stand with the brave Ukrainian people who are defending their hard won freedom,” said LUC Executive Director Borys Potapenko.
The CCSU is deeply grateful to MP David Sweet for introducing the motion and to MP James Bezan for initiating the consultations to investigate Ukrainian government efforts to suppress political dissent, free speech, freedom of the press and academic freedom in Ukraine.
“Especially at this time of a rapidly developing election dynamic in Canada, it is heartening to us that important issues are not put aside, but dealt with in a direct and forthright manner,” concluded Orest Steciw.