Prime Minister Stephen Harper today issued the following statement commemorating the 79th anniversary of the Holodomor taking place this Saturday:
“I invite all Canadians to pause this Saturday and honour the millions of men, women and children - mostly Ukrainian, but also some Kazakhs and Russians - who perished during the 1932-1933 famine-genocide perpetrated by the barbaric communist regime of Josef Stalin.
“By sending political leaders, clergy and academics to gulags, and cruelly depriving innocent families of the crops and livestock necessary to live, the Soviets sought to extinguish Ukrainian nationalism.
“But the spirit of the Ukrainian people could not be vanquished. Its sons and daughters persevered through those and other dark times to rebuild and ultimately cast off Soviet shackles, fighting for the values we cherish today: freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law.
“We are very proud to have more than one million people of Ukrainian descent in our country, many of whom lost loved ones in this atrocious act of malevolence, the Holodomor. Our Government recognizes their loss. In 2008, Canada became the first country to recognize this stain on humanity as an act of genocide, and was the first Western country to recognize Ukraine’s independence. Two years ago, I had the honour of paying my respects to victims at the Holodomor Memorial and Museum in Kyiv, Ukraine.
“This weekend, I encourage Canadians to join Ukrainian Canadians at Holodomor ceremonies across the country commemorating those who perished during this sad chapter in their history.
“Vichnaya Pamyat (in everlasting remembrance).”