Front row: Deputy Premier Sarah Hoffmann; Andriy Shevchenko, Ambassador of Ukraine to Canada; Deron Bilous, Alberta Minister of Economic Development and Trade
Back row: Danylo Moussienko; Ivanka Soletsky; UCC-APC President Olesia Luciw; Jessica Littlewood, MLA for Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville; His Grace Bishop David Motiuk; His Grace Bishop Ilarion
The fifth bill in Alberta’s history to pass with unanimous consent in a single day, Alberta’s Ukrainian-Canadian Heritage Day Act, recognizes the enduring contributions of Albertans of Ukrainian heritage to the province. The date was chosen to honour the first officially recorded Ukrainian immigrants, Ivan Pylypiw and Vasyl Eleniak, who arrived in Canada on Sept. 7, 1891.
The legislative building was filled with people wearing vyshyvanky, with over 15 MLAs adorning them, including Alberta Premier Rachel Notley. Premier Notley also revealed she was once a Ukrainian dancer.
Following the signing from political officials, the bill was then signed by His Excellency Ambassador Andriy Shevchenko, UCC Alberta Provincial Council President Olesia Luciw-Andryjowycz, His Grace Bishop David Motiuk from the Ukrainian Catholic Church, His Grace Bishop Ilarion from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, and SUSK’s own Danylo Moussienko and Ivanka Soletsky.
“The idea behind the signing of this event was highly symbolic,” said Danylo Moussienko, VP Executive of SUSK and Past President at USS UCalgary, “The first from the Ukrainian community to sign the act, were those who represented our faith: because we first came here with our faith. Faith then guided us to become who we are today as Ukrainian-Canadians. Then Ivanka and myself, who symbolized the future of Ukrainianism in Alberta, were last to symbolically sign the act. We are incredibly grateful to Olesia Luciw-Andryjowycz, UCC-APC, and the Alberta Government, for including us in the signing of this historical act.”
“It was truly incredible to hear the kind words spoken by the numerous Members of the Legislative Assembly,” said Ivanka Soletsky, SUSK Secretary and President of USS UAlberta. “Many shared their Ukrainian roots with us, as well as recognized that without the hard work and dedication of the Ukrainian people, Alberta would not be what it is today.”
The event also featured a discussion period highlighting the significant contributions of the Ukrainian community to both Canada and Alberta. The evening was a very sentimental event, indicating the importance of the Ukrainian people as integral pioneers of Canadian society. SUSK congratulates UCC-APC for their involvement and hard work in getting this act drafted and passed, as well as the Government of Alberta for recognizing Ukrainians as a strong, model diaspora and a distinct thread within Canada’s multicultural fabric.
Find the full press release here.