Thursday, June 14, 2007

Holodomor a political hot potato in House of Commons?

It's hard to know what to make of all this. But it's easy enough to think the worst.

Today another politician, Conservative MP James Bezan (Selkirk-Interlake) tabled a private member's bill calling on the federal government to recognize and commemorate the deliberate starvation of 7-10 million Ukrainians by communists in 1932-33.

Last week Liberal MP Borys Wrzesnewskyj (Etobicoke Centre) introduced the Ukrainian Holodomor-Genocide Remembrance Day Act. Apparently NDP MP Judy Wascylycia-Leis (Winnipeg North) also introduced a motion on the Holodomor-Genocide (M-101) on April 4, 2006. (This was in Wreznesewskyj's press release, which came to me by email. Unlike Bezan, neither Wreznesewskyj or Wascylycia-Leis has anything about this on their websites.)

Anyway, both Wreznesewskyj and Wascylycia-Leis, and others, are crying foul, accusing Bezan of plagiarism and partisan politicking.

Well, all I can say is that it's very sad to see that three Canadian politicians of Ukrainian descent cannot seem to grasp the concept of Razom Nas Bahato (Together We are Many) ... you remember, that pithy slogan from the Orange Revolution...

Maybe to Ukrainian Canadian politicians it is just a song from the past and the very idea of "razom nas bahato" has become a foreign concept. And the Holodomor just a convenient hot potato for scoring political brownie points in the House of Commons and with the electorate.

Very sad.

At any rate, there is still a petition that the League of Ukrainian Canadians is sending around, as first noted here, calling on the government to recognize the Holodomor as genocide and honour the memory of those who perished in it. The text has been amended to reflect non-partisanship and a spirit of unity.

Please sign it. If enough of the electorate demand that politicians start thinking and acting beyond their own personal partisan politics maybe, just maybe, they might come to realize that doing so might actually serve them well.

3 comments:

Orysia said...

What possible reason could there be for a Canadian politician to not vote for this motion? Why was plain human decency lacking in this case? They should be ashamed of themselves.

pumpernickel said...

Pawlina,

Just an arcane point about House of Commons procedure. All three items, Borys Wrzesnewskyj's Bill C-450, Bezan's Bill C-459, and Wasalycia-Leis' Motion M-101 are all presently outside the order of precedence. What that means is that none of them have yet been selected (in the Parliamentary lottery) for placement on the order of precedence, at which time they would be debated, voted upon and hopefully adopted.

To me, the importance of the recognition of the Holodomor through the adoption of a Bill or motion is far more important than MPs trying to claim political "ownership" of the issue.

As someone who likes to look at the glass as being half full, this way the chances of the Holodomor being debated and recognition being voted upon and approved by the Parliament of Canada have tripled, and given the competing bills and motion, I don't imagine it will be difficult to receive all party support.

Here's hoping that recognition by Canada comes before the egos of our MPs.

Pawlina said...

Orysia, as my DH pointed out, no politician goes to Ottawa to "do the right thing" ... well, unless it will further his/her career. So there's no point expecting politicians to do anything just out of a basic sense of decency. If there's no percentage in it for them, it's like trying to get blood from a stone. Sad, but the reality.

Thanks, Pumpernickel, for the explanation about order of precedence. That illuminates much... in essence, then, it sure looks like James recognized a good bandwagon to jump onto (a "motherhood and apple pie" no-brainer), and Borys and Judy are just ticked at having to share the spotlight.

So in light of how "order of precedence" works, I would have to agree that, self-serving politicians notwithstanding, in the end this may actually be very good for "the cause."