Baird Attends 22nd Anniversary of Ukrainian Independence Day

August 24, 2013 - Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird, Bob Dechert, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Ted Opitz, Member of Parliament for Etobicoke Centre, at the invitation of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, today attended a celebration of the 22nd anniversary of Ukrainian Independence Day in Etobicoke, Ontario.

“The more than 1.2 million Canadians of Ukrainian ancestry continue to make significant contributions to Canada’s cultural, political and economic life and help strengthen our bilateral ties with Ukraine,” said Minister Baird. “Today, we remain a strong proponent of Ukraine’s democratization, reflecting the shared respect of Canadians and Ukrainians for freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law.”

Canada and Ukraine enjoy close bilateral relations. The two countries have signed a variety of agreements and memoranda of understanding covering such areas as trade, technical cooperation, defence, and mutual legal assistance.

“Canada was the first Western country to recognize Ukraine’s independence,” said Parliamentary Secretary and Member of Parliament for Mississauga-Erindale Bob Dechert. “Today, we celebrate Canada’s rich Ukrainian heritage and the huge contributions Ukrainian-Canadians make to our great country.”

Canada and Ukraine also cooperate in a range of international organizations, including the United Nations, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe and La Francophonie.

“Here in our community, we are blessed to have such a rich and diverse cultural fabric,” said Member of Parliament Ted Opitz. “Our government will continue to support the Ukrainian people as they seek a more democratic and prosperous future.”

Minister Baird, Parliamentary Secretary Dechert, and Member of Parliament Opitz took the occasion to meet with a small group of Ukrainian-Canadian leaders to discuss Canada-Ukraine relations and how Canada can continue to help Ukraine on the path to strengthened democratic values.

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