On Holodomor Memorial Day, we remember a truly dark period in human history.
Through oppressive political force and deliberate starvation, the Soviet regime snuffed out the lives of over seven million Ukrainians; millions more were made to suffer. The Ukrainian people persevered, but faced a new challenge – an international community unwilling to acknowledge the extent of their losses, or to condemn their oppressors.
It was only in 2009 that Ontario passed legislation marking the Holodomor Memorial Day – the first tri-partisan legislation in Ontario history.
While the Soviet regime tried to crush the Ukrainian people, they endured, and eventually won their independence. Thanks to their efforts to preserve their unique culture and identity, Canada is lucky to have a vibrant, thriving Ukrainian community, many of whom live in Ontario.
Today, New Democrats and all Ontarians stand with Ukrainians around the world to remember, and condemn, the atrocities of 1932-33.
At the same time, we are mindful of the troubling political situation in Ukraine today. If we are to avoid the mistakes of the past, we must be vigilant in promoting basic human rights and democracy, and addressing injustice wherever we see it.