The Ukrainian Section at Radio Canada International (RCI) has been cut.
The surprise announcement was made this afternoon to the two-member personnel of the section.
The half-hour program aired Saturdays and Sundays since it was cut in half in November 2004, after over 50 years of broadcasting on a daily basis.
Even though the press in Ukraine appears relatively free, the same cannot be said of its big neighbor next door. (The International Press Institute (IPI) has included the Russian Federation on its Watch List.)
Ukrainian territorial integrity has been threatened by the Russian leadership in the recent past.
One should question the wisdom in pulling the plug on a service that gives a bird's eye view of a thriving democracy.
Canada offers a beacon of hope to the millions of Ukrainians who have wrestled with the Russian and Soviet Empires and have declared its independence on five separate occasions during the 20th century.
Thankfully under the Conservative Mulroney government, Canada became the first western nation to recognize Ukraine's independence in 1991.
The present Conservative minority government has made inroads in the Canadian ethnic newspapers, radio and television, knowing that it represents 35% of Canadian media.
Their message is sent to an often overlooked voter-ship - hence they are looking for more votes, especially in the next election, hoping to secure a majority government.
If Canadians (especially of Ukrainian descent) do not wish that this important service to our ancestral homeland, UKRAINE cease, then a public outcry is in order.
After 57 years, the final Ukrainian-language broadcast at RCI is slated for this Saturday-Sunday, March 28-29, 2009.
Feel free to listen to the archived programs here.
(Submitted by Simon Kouklewsky, Ukrainian Time Radio)
How embarassing for progressive-minded Canadians. Our country's public broadcaster cuts corners by axing a couple of hard-working professionals dedicated to serving a struggling, emerging democracy.
However, this doesn't come as a great surprise. And no doubt this budget cut was very welcome for those who have been struggling to kill the program for years.