“Today we celebrate the 21st anniversary of the momentous occasion when Ukraine gained its independence from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on August 24, 1991.
“Canada was the first Western country to recognize Ukraine’s secession. Since then, our two countries have enjoyed a strong and productive working relationship, enhanced by our signing of a declaration affirming our ‘Special Partnership’ as friends and allies.
“Our relationship with Ukraine continues to be strengthened through ongoing negotiations towards a free trade agreement, and Canada remains focused on supporting Ukraine’s democratic transformation and economic reforms.
“Today is also an occasion to celebrate the immense contributions that the more than 1.2 million Canadians of Ukrainian descent make to our country in every area of endeavour. The Ukrainian Canadian community cherish values such as democracy and the rule of law, values which our country holds most dear.
“Canada committed to send 500 election observers to Ukraine for their upcoming election in October, many of which come from the Ukrainian Canadian community. In joining with international partners to help ensure a free and fair election, we can help promote democracy in Ukraine and around the world.”
“On behalf of all Canadians, I offer Ukrainians and Canadians of Ukrainian heritage celebrating this important occasion my best wishes for a most memorable anniversary.”