Hon. David Kilgour, M.P.
The following are excerpts of remarks by Hon. David Kilgour at the
Commemoration of the 65th Anniversary of the Man-made Famine in Ukraine,
Sponsored by the Ukrainian Canadian Congress (Edmonton Branch), City Hall
Plaza, Edmonton, June 6, 1998.
On behalf of the Government of Canada, permit me to extend heartfelt regards
to all members of the Ukrainian community here in Edmonton and across Canada
on this solemn occasion commemorating the 65th anniversary of the
artificially created famine in Ukraine.
We have gathered here today to remember one of the darkest chapters in the
history of Ukraine and the twentieth century world.
Sixty-five years ago, the Ukrainian people became victims of a conscious and
deliberate genocide, the magnitude of which had no precedents in the history
In order to completely destroy Ukraine's aspirations towards independence,
and to crush its opposition to collectivization, the Stalin communists
resorted to physical extinction of millions of innocent people. A report by
a prominent Belgian daily, Le Flandre Liberale, published on September 2,
1933, captures graphically the drama and the tragedy unfolding in Ukraine:
- ".So Ukraine is dying. The Ukrainians are dying of hunger. This is a great
calamity not only for Ukraine and the Ukrainians, but for the culture of
Russia, Europe and even the whole world. For this dying land was once a
great production centre of agriculture . The soil is not changed, only the
people have. This is where we have to look for the causes of the great drama
in which a whole nation has become sacrificial victim."
One man's inhumanity was taking place right before the eyes of the
democratic world. With few exceptions, most of the world leaders of the day
Yet this terrible atrocity, and the suffering and the devastation of World
War II did not succeed in breaking the spirit of the Ukrainian people. To
paraphrase the words of Ukraine's President Kuchma, Ukraine rose from the
ashes of the ruin like the mythical phoenix. Seven years ago the whole world
watched the spectacular rebirth of the country for so long under foreign
Special ceremonies marking the 65th anniversary of the Ukraine famine are
being held across Canada, Ukraine and other parts of the world. Let us
fervently pray that through the commemoration of this tragic event and
through perpetuating the memory of those who perished, we can ensure that
this crime will forever be engraved in the collective conscious of
humankind. Let us all pray that the future of Ukraine and the world will
reflect the lessons of all painful memories of the past. Let us hope that
tragedies like this never, ever happen again.