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Monday, February 13, 2017

Armistice Film series on Canada's First Internment operations

Ryan Boyko of Armistice Films has created a brilliant series of video vignettes on Canada's first internment operations from 1914-1920.

There were 26 camps from coast to coast, including one in Nanaimo on Canada's west coast.

I don't really consider myself an internee descendant. I am only the great-niece of an internee, and don't recall ever meeting my great Uncle Harry (perhaps as a young child). I only recently met his son, Ed (my dad's cousin) and his wife Josie in person when they were here visiting Nanaimo this past fall.

Still, I think the experience had an impact on the entire family, if not succeeding generations of Ukrainian Canadians descended from that time.

Maybe it explains how such a large family as ours became so disconnected in just a generation or two. Dad loves to tell stories of how close everyone was in his youth. Yet of all the cousins I have, including those I was so close to during my own youth, I am in (infrequent) touch with just a handful.

Who can really know the full extent of the consequences resulting from the cruelty and indifference that human beings are capable of manifesting?

Last November Ryan and his film crew came to Nanaimo to document the camp that existed here, in which Uncle Harry may have briefly been.

What wasn't included in this film is the discussion we had at the site with someone who had witnessed vandalism of the plaque from his apartment across the street.

Just as well, perhaps. Ryan tells a powerful story without it.

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

"This is why we had a Maidan."

Photos and footage of my visit with a "Cyborg," one of the Ukrainian Heroes who defended the Donetsk airport and survived an ambush in Debaltseve.

My guide and translator, Nick Buderatsky, shows us a side of the war seldom shown by the western media to a world that still can't seem to grasp the reasons "why we had a Maidan."

Thursday, February 02, 2017

Canada must take concrete action and support Ukraine: Opposition

OTTAWA – On February 2, 2017 Peter Kent, the Official Opposition Critic for Foreign Affairs, and James Bezan, the Official Opposition Critic for National Defence, issued the following statement urging Canada’s new Foreign Minister, the Hon. Chrystia Freeland, and her colleagues to take concrete action and support Ukraine in the face of ongoing Russian aggression:   

“Russian forces continue to illegally occupy Ukraine’s sovereign territory and indiscriminate rebel artillery barrages are driving thousands of civilians from their communities. As conditions deteriorate, Canada should not hesitate in offering additional support to our Ukrainian allies. 

"While the previous Conservative government was proud to be a world leader in its support for Ukraine, many of our initiatives are set to expire.  We are calling on the Trudeau government to immediately renew and expand Canada’s support for humanitarian and military assistance and reverse the Liberal policy of appeasing the Kremlin and immediately restore the sharing of RADARSAT satellite images with the Government of Ukraine.

“The Canadian Armed Forces’ training mission in Ukraine, Operation UNIFIER, is set to expire at the end of March. For nearly two years, Canadian troops have been providing training in explosive ordnance disposal, flight safety, logistics system modernization, military policing, and medical training. In addition, over the last six months Ukraine’s President, Petro Poroshenko, has repeatedly called on Prime Minister Trudeau to extend Canada’s mission beyond March 2017.   He deserves a clear answer.

“The Liberals should also demonstrate their willingness to stand up to the illegal actions of the Putin regime by following through on their election promise to implement sanctions against corrupt foreign officials. The sanctions put in place by our previous Conservative government have been effective and until the illegal occupation and annexation ends, they should be maintained and strengthened.

“In addition, Conservatives have put forward ‘Magnitsky’ style legislation which, if passed, would hold Russia’s corrupt officials, murders and torturers to account. Prime Minister Trudeau’s first Foreign Affairs Minister refused to take a stand.  We urge Minister Freeland to reverse the government’s position and support our Magnitsky Act.

“Canada has long been a steadfast ally and supporter of Ukraine. As their sovereignty continues to be threatened, now is not the time for Canada to hesitate. The Trudeau government must translate their verbal support into concrete action.”


For more information:

Office of James Bezan, MP
Phone: 613-992-2032
Office of Peter Kent, MP
Phone: 613-992-0253

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