Minister Kenney issues statement recognizing Ukraine's Independence Day

Today is a special day for Ukrainians as they celebrate the 21st anniversary of their country’s declaration of independence in 1991 after a long period of totalitarian oppression. Canada was the first Western nation to recognize that independence and, since then, we have supported Ukraine’s democratic transformation and political and economic reform.

As we announced just two weeks ago, the Government of Canada will be sending 500 observers to help monitor Ukraine’s parliamentary elections in October – elections which are critical to a democratic and prosperous Ukraine. Canada has a long and proud history of providing observers to countries to help ensure free and fair elections. We are proud that Canadian election observers, many from the Ukrainian-Canadian community, will continue to stand by the people of Ukraine.

Canada prides itself on its close ties with Ukraine. More than one million Canadians of Ukrainian descent have played an important role in building our prosperous society. They have also been instrumental in fostering the relationship that exists between our two countries. In November of 2008, I had the honour of travelling to Ukraine to express and build on this friendship. Our two countries are both richer for this connection and I am certain it will continue to prosper.

Through the decades, Canada has stood with the people of Ukraine and other countries of Central and Eastern Europe in their quest to live in freedom. Canada continues to advocate for freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law for all Ukrainians and we urge the Ukrainian government to strengthen judicial independence and capacity.

As Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, I wish all Canadians and Ukrainians celebrating today a very happy Ukraine Independence Day.

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