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Maxime Bernier, Margareta Shpir, Lisa Shymko
Peter MacKay, Lisa Shymko, Margareta Shpir
Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Hon. Maxime Bernier (centre) meets with CFU Vice-President Margareta Shpir (left) and Lisa Shymko, Director of the Canada-Ukraine Parliamentary Centre (right) to discuss Canada’s foreign policy vis-à-vis Ukraine.The Hon. Peter MacKay, Canada’s Minister of Defence, meets with Canadian Friends of Ukraine representatives Margareta Shpir (left) and Lisa Shymko (right) in Ottawa.

Press Release

Canadian Government officials meet
with Canadian Friends of

(Toronto-Ottawa) In recent weeks, representatives of Canadian Friends of Ukraine carried out a series of meetings with Canadian Government officials to discuss matters of interest to the Ukrainian-Canadian community as well as issues relating to Canada-Ukraine relations.

Among the government officials who met with Canadian Friends of Ukraine were a number of Canadian cabinet ministers, including the Hon. Maxime Bernier (Minister of Foreign Affairs), the Hon. Peter MacKay (Minister of Defence), the Hon. Jason Kenney (Secretary of State for Multiculturalism and Canadian Identity), and Tom Lukiwski (Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform).

CFU representatives, Margareta Shpir and Lisa Shymko, briefed the government officials on the ongoing programs and activities undertaken by Canadian Friends of Ukraine in the area of democracy-building in Ukraine which focus on strengthening Ukrainian civil society. The Canadian government was updated on the valuable legislative reform efforts carried out by the Canada-Ukraine Parliamentary Centre in Kyiv—an institution established by Canadian Friends of Ukraine in November 2000 at the National Parliamentary Library of Ukraine.

CFU presented Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Hon. Maxime Bernier with official Briefing Notes and Recommendations on Canada’s future foreign policy options vis-à-vis Ukraine. Among the issues raised by Canadian Friends of Ukraine was the importance of enhancing Canadian support for the newly-formed government of Yulia Tymoshenko and Ukraine’s recent efforts to consolidate its entry in the WTO as well as Euro-Atlantic institutions. CFU presented a series of concrete proposals for re-focusing Canada’s democracy-building endeavors in Ukraine.

Thanks to the efforts of Canadian Friends of Ukraine, Foreign Affairs Minister Maxime Bernier was the first Canadian government official to receive the text of Ukraine’s Draft UN Resolution on the Holodomor, said Jurij Darewych, President of the CFU. The Canadian government was also presented with a set of official briefing materials on the Famine Genocide prepared by Canadian Friends of Ukraine entitled “Genocide: Holodomor— the Ukrainian Terror-Famine of 1932-33.” The CFU encouraged the Canadian government to support multilateral efforts at the UN to have the Holodomor recognized as an act of genocide.

In their discussions with various Canadian government officials, representatives of Canadian Friends of Ukraine underscored the value of Canada’s relationship with Ukraine, given the vital geopolitical role that a stable and democratic Ukraine plays in Eastern Europe.

This week, CFU welcomed the statement made by Canada’s Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Deepak Obhrai in the House of Commons, voicing Canada’s dismay over recent statements made by Russian leaders, including President Putin, who claimed Russia would aim nuclear weapons at Ukraine if it joined NATO and allowed U.S. missile defence assets on its territory.

In his statement, the Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs said that “the use of such threats is unacceptable. Our response is firm: the sovereignty and independence of Ukraine are not to be questioned. Ukraine is free and must remain free to choose the foreign policy course that suits its aspirations. In this respect, it can count on Canada's unquestionable support.”

Canadian Friends of Ukraine look forward to enhancing inter-governmental and inter-parliamentary relations between Canada and Ukraine, by focusing on efforts to promote economic stability, institutional transparency and democratic reform as well as to guarantee Ukraine’s political sovereignty.

For more information, contact:

Canadian Friends of Ukraine
620 Spadina Ave.
Toronto, Ontario M5S 2H4
Tel: (416) 964-6644 Email:


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Copyright  2014 Canadian Friends of Ukraine