Liberals’ dire twist of fate. Why Ukrainian Canadians found themselves out of politics?
03:52 05/16/11

While in countries with the authoritarian regime, those in power control everything, in the democratic world the results of an election are difficult to foresee. Here unexpected factors or issues not taken into account often come into play, completely reshaping the political map of a country.

Sometimes a dire political fate seems to haunt a party. The Liberal party of Canada has been haunted by such a fate for the past seven years. While the Liberals' defeat in the 2004 federal election could be explained by the frozen corruption scandal, their recent spectacular downfall compels a political analysis. More specifically, we, Ukrainian Canadians, should assess why we have lost our representation in the Canadian federal government for no less than for the next four years.

Let us begin with the Liberals' defeat. First: they are towing behind them the tainted train car of the corruption scandal under the Jean Chrétien/Paul Martin leadership. Second: to this old scandal was added the public's antipathy toward Michael Ignatieff. Third: the domino effect, launched by the province of Quebec, progressed throughout Canada. To amplify, according to ratings, Quebecers were voting out the Bloc Québécois party which they deemed not an effective representative in parliament of their current aspirations. As a province adhering to liberal-socialist principles, this French-language province chose the party that was not tarnished by political scandals, the New Democratic Party (NDP). Following the example of Quebec, people across Canada voted massively for the NDP, disastrously taking votes away from the Liberals. Fourth: Prime-Minister Stephen Harper's disrespect for the letter of the law: the new election was called in contravention of the election law, recently passed by the Parliament of Canada. Conservatives created a dead end situation for the opposition during the budget debates. Fifth: the Conservative government's more or less balanced politics. Sixth (this concerns only the Ukrainian community): gratitude expressed to Canadian leader Stephen Harper for his firm position during his visit to Ukraine, i.e. the criticism of Yanukovych's regime, particularly concerning the curtailing of democracy in Ukraine, and the commemoration of the victims of Soviet totalitarianism.

Certainly, Ukrainians of Canada need not be overly perturbed which of the existing parties and for how long they will govern the country. For Canada, unlike Ukraine, is not in danger of losing its independence; the country of the maple leaf will not become the 51st state of the USA, its neighbouring country will not rule on her territory and rob it, will not destroy its ethnic multiculturalism, a voracious oligarchy will not be working solely for its own enrichment while driving the country into default, will not take the last shirt off the back of an ordinary citizen etc..

It all seems true, yet there is one Ukrainian "but", namely: there will be nobody in the federal government to voice, to defend the interests of the Ukrainian community. What is even worse, it happened because of our own stupidity, our own fault.

It is well worth examining closer why the Ukrainian community lost its only representative in the federal government, Liberal Borys Wrzesnewskyj. It is not just a matter concerning a Canadian with Ukrainian surname, but at issue is the loss of a very active and effective defender of Ukrainian interests.

There are many reasons, but we will state the most important of them. First: the Diaspora leadership which does not know how to or does not want to subordinate itself to interests of the Ukrainian community at large. The leadership of the Ukrainian World Congress is less guilty than the leadership of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress. The president of the UWC, who can influence the head of the UCC, should have ensured that we, Ukrainians, do not lose our sole spokesperson in the Canadian government (by less than 20 votes!).

The last remark concerns all of the Diaspora, not only Canada. We, the world community of Ukrainians, must fight relentlessly for our presence in all governmental bodies of the country in which we reside. The slogan of the UWC should be: "Less reports and photo sessions; more big and real actions!"

Instead the leadership of the UCC, conservative sympathizers, played up to the conservatives to the detriment of Ukrainians' common interests. Knowingly or unknowingly, by constantly reminding on the eve of the election that the Prime-Minister Stephen Harper was awarded the Shevchenko medal by the UCC, the leadership of UCC drew off Ukrainian votes from Liberals in favour of Conservatives and New Democrats. We should be reminded that the leadership of the UWC, UCC or any other Diaspora umbrella organization should stay away from partisan passions.

The biggest misfortune for Canada would certainly the coming to power of the Russian chauvinist M. Ignatieff. Nevertheless, maintaining the Ukrainian presence in the federal parliament should have been the priority task for the UCC leadership. But the UCC ignored this responsibility. It should be noted that on the eve of the election everybody knew that the Liberals' ratings had plummeted to the lowest level, which meant that Liberals would force Ignatieff to resign.

However, contrary to all-Ukrainian interests, enough Ukrainian Conservatives worked at removing B. Wrzesnewskyj from parliament. It suffices to say that thanks to one person's campaigning in the senior's building in Etobicoke, Toronto (at 123 La Rose Ave.), 76 of 256 Ukrainian votes were cast for the Conservative candidate and against Borys Wrzesnewskyj. Also unfortunate is that Ukrainians blindly voted for a formerly unknown newcomer-Conservative

We have a striking example of a lack of statist thinking, of Ukrainian destructive chieftainship, a real bungling of our community!

In conclusion, politically mature peoples strive to have representation in all existing parties because they always want to be able to influence the situation in their country. It is time for us as well, Ukrainians dispersed around the world, to comprehend this simple truth, instead of arranging (political party) cock-fights among ourselves, to the detriment of our own interests and to the scoffing and mirth of other peoples!

Source: ePoshta

See also
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08/19/11 Did we just sidestep a war in the Black Sea?
06/19/11 Ukrainian Canadian Congress calls upon government of Canada to include protection of human rights in free trade talks with Ukraine
05/25/11 Ukraine-Russia joint military exercise in Black Sea reflects rapprochement with Kremlin
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