The honourary consul for Ukraine in B.C., Mir Huculak, is publicizing opportunities for British Columbians to help the families of shooting victims in Kyiv, Ukraine, and those who were injured in anti-government protests. Between 75 and 100 people died in the upheaval, which led to President Viktor Yanukovych fleeing Kyiv on Friday, and a plan for new elections in May.
Huculak is a regular attendant at Langley’s International Festival, where he represents the many Canadians of Ukrainian background. Canada has the third-largest group of people of Ukrainian descent in the world, behind only Ukraine itself and Russia. The total number of Canadian residents of Ukrainian descent is 1.5 million.
Many of the original Ukrainians who came to Canada did so before the First World War to settle on the Prairies, but there has been a steady wave of immigration over the years.
This has often been due to a series of tragic circumstances, including the forced starvation of millions under Josef Stalin, known as the Holodomor, and the upheaval and destruction caused by the Second World War, in which about seven million Ukrainians died.
In more recent years, immigrants have come to Canada from Ukraine, since it gained its independence when the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics collapsed in 1991.
Langley MP Mark Warawa is of Ukrainian descent, and has made a number of representations on behalf of Ukrainians and Canadian of Ukrainian background in his 10 years as an MP.
Huculak said that people wishing to make tax-deductible donations, which will be used for humanitarian relief for shooting victims’ families and injured protesters, can donate online through the CUF Maidan Fund, at www.cufoundation.ca, or through Ukrainian Canadian Social Services, at http://www.canadahelps.org/dn/15000.
Non-tax deductible donations can be sent to Ukrainian Canadian Congress, at 145 Evans Ave. – Suite 208, Toronto, ON, M8Z 5X8.