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, MLA Rossmere
November 22, 2012

Remembering the Holodomor

Mr. Speaker, November 19th to 25th is Holodomor Awareness Week in Canada. This year marks the 79th anniversary of Holodomor, the Ukrainian famine genocide. At this time the country and the province will stand with Manitoba's Ukrainian community and many other communities that were affected by this tragedy.

The Holodomor was the artificial famine that occurred in 1932 to 1933 under Joseph Stalin's Soviet regime. At that time Ukraine was home to the most productive agricultural lands in the Soviet Union. Stalin, however, imposed a policy of forced collectivization and raised Ukraine's grain quota far beyond manageable levels. The USSR's motive was to break down Ukrainian nationalism by denying the people their harvest. This meant that while large shipments of grain were being exported to western markets, thousands of Ukrainian people were dying daily from starvation. The genocidal famine slowly and painfully took the lives of 7 million people. Many Holodomor survivors came to Canada and set new foundations in Manitoba.

In 2008, Manitoba passed an act to recognize the fourth Saturday of November as the Ukrainian Famine and Genocide Holodomor Memorial Day. Throughout this week, students are learning about the Holodomor in school, community groups are hosting film nights, lectures and discussions. On November 20th, two world-renowned Ukrainian researchers presented a lecture on Stalin's secret files which displayed first-hand accounts of these heinous crimes.

Mr. Speaker, we are pleased that members of the Ukrainian community, including the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada and Manitoba Parents for Ukrainian Education, are here with us today. They, together with the greater community, will gather at Winnipeg City Hall this Saturday. There, they will remember the millions of lives lost and the people who lost their mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, children and friends in this premeditated famine. A memorial service in commemoration will be held. Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian‑Canadians recall the heartbreak and loss left by this genocide and yet their strength, dignity and courage have inspired all Manitobans.

Dyakuyu and thank you, Mr. Speaker.