Weaver introduces private member’s bill for Holodomor Day

October 23, 2019

VICTORIA, B.C.​ - B.C. Green Leader Andrew Weaver in collaboration with Bruce Ralston, Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology, honoured all survivors of the Ukrainian famine and genocide, also known as the Holodomor, by introducing legislation to enshrine a day of remembrance in the province for all time.

“By enshrining Ukrainian Famine and Genocide (Holodomor) Memorial Day as an officially designated day in British Columbia, we are acknowledging and honouring the millions of people who were victims of this deliberate political strategy of starvation and we are asserting our collective pledge: never again,” said Dr. Andrew Weaver, MLA from Oak Bay-Gordon Head. “My grandfather and his family were survivors of the Holodomor. He and his wife, together with my mother and her siblings, made their way to Canada after the second world war. She told me stories of living in a refugee camp in southern Europe and a chicken coop in France as they made their way to safety.

“Since then thousands more Ukrainians have made Canada their home, adding to the diversity of this great nation and contributing to its culture and prosperity. I am proud to be counted among the descendants who have made British Columbia their home.”

While the government of Canada has legislation recognizing this day, B.C. ​has never formally had its own legislation recognizing this day. This bill is the result of the B.C. Green Caucus’ collaboration ​with the Ministry of Jobs, Trade and Technology, and will be implemented by the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, and reflects shared values.

“This legislation creating a memorial day for the victims and survivors of the Holodomor is the culmination of efforts spanning many years, starting with a private member’s bill I introduced back in 2009,” said Minister Ralston. “It is important that we take this time to reflect on this atrocity and pay homage to the survivors and their descendants living in B.C. who contribute so much to the strength and prosperity of this great province.”

“As we mourn the lives lost from one of the most heinous acts in history, we commit to stand together against hatred and violence in all its forms,” said Lisa Beare, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture.“The official declaration of Holodomor Memorial Day in B.C. speaks to the determination and leadership of our government to learn from this terrible event in Ukrainian history and our resolve to stand up against racism, hate and discrimination here in B.C. and around the world.

”These principles transcend party lines.

“​Holodomor Memorial Day is a reminder of a dark chapter in history that saw the exile and starvation of millions of Ukrainian men, women and children from 1932-33,” said Tom Shypitka, MLA for Kootenay East. ​“​By commemorating this day here in British Columbia, we are affirming our position with the rest of Canada that we are a place of welcome that remembers the past while striving for a better future. We encourage all British Columbians to remember the victims of the Holodomor on this sombre day.

”Coming together over shared values is the strength of this minority government, and it is what unites all British Columbians."

This legislation represents our commitment to remember our collective responsibility to challenge hatred and intolerance and to protect the vulnerable people in our society,” Weaver said. “British Columbia is a province that values its diversity and strives to give voice to the many communities that call it home.”

Background:

● The Ukrainian Famine and Genocide killed between three and four million Ukrainians between 1932 and 1933 as part of Joseph Stalin’s plan to eliminate a democratic independence movement.

● The atrocities, including the total deaths, were covered up by Soviet authorities for decades.

● The survivors and their descendants have contributed to their communities across Canada and in BC.

● B.C. has annually proclaimed Holodomor Day the fourth Saturday in November under the Federal legislation. This legislation removes the need to annually proclaim this day by designating on the fourth Saturday in November Ukrainian Famine and Genocide (Holodomor) Memorial Day to exist in perpetuity.

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