The Association of United Ukrainian
Canadians has evolved through a number of organizational
stages due to conditions and climate of the time.
It came on the scene as the Ukrainian Labour Temple
Association (1918 - 1924), followed by the Ukrainian
Labour-Farmer Temple Association (1925 - 1946),
the Ukrainian Association to Aid the Fatherland
(1941 - 1946); and finally, the Association of
United Ukrainian Canadians (1946).
The Association of United Ukrainian
Canadians is a progressive Organization with strong
and durable roots in the people and history of
Canada. The Association and its community, from
the turn of the century, constitute the progressive
wing of the Ukrainian ethnic group in the population.
They are the offspring and heir to those beginnings
that grew out of the early formative years of
community develop- ment and the struggle to survive.
Statement from the Association of United Ukrainian Canadians National Executive Committee regarding the situation n Ukraine as of March 2, 2014
As the last decade of the 20th century began, the world system of socialist states was dismantled, and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was shattered into a set of new countries. Ukraine was one of the newly formed countries in the geopolitical reality which emerged.
In Ukraine, as in most of the countries of the former socialist world, one of the first processes set in motion was the privatization of social capital. This privatization was done in a way which led to rapid accumulation of wealth by relatively few individuals. This process of accumulation happened throughout Ukraine, east and west.
In less than two decades, individuals now known as oligarchs amassed hundreds of millions, and even billions, of dollars in assets. By 2008, the top 50 oligarchs accounted for 85% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product. By the end of that year, Ukraine had a few more than 80 billionaires, including Rinat Akhmetov, the richest, at $23 billion.
The oligarchs were involved in Ukrainian parliamentary politics very early in their evolution. Scores of political parties were formed. Over time (spanning less than 25 years) these evolved into a handful of parties strong enough to win a parliamentary seat: the Party of Regions (associated until recently with Victor Yanukovich), UDAR (a relatively new party, now led by Vitaly Klichko), Batkivshchyna (associated with Yulia Tymoshenko), the Communist Party of Ukraine, and Svoboda (a far-right party based in Galicia, Western Ukraine).
From the beginning, the oligarchs have used Ukraine’s parliament to reward their friends and punish their rivals. Since November, 2013, this struggle has been particularly sharp, with the opposition to the Party of Regions and the presidency of Victor Yanukovich engaging in extra-parliamentary activity which has culminated in Mr. Yanukovich being deposed.
As a result of the historical development of Ukraine, the interests of the oligarchs are, to a large extent, geographically divided, between east and west.
As a result of Ukraine’s strategic position, NATO (and particularly the United States) and the European Union in the west, and Russia in the east, have keen interest in developments in Ukraine.
Encouraged by the NATO countries and the European Union, the opposition to the Party of Regions has played on the prejudices of many Ukrainians, especially in Western Ukraine. In this atmosphere, far right-right activists, with strong encouragement from partners in Germany and others, are emerging as a serious threat.
These facts create may dangers for Ukraine, as well as for the world.
There have already been attacks on members and supporters of the Party of Regions. Some factions involved in the opposition have bragged about their history of struggle against the Jews and Communists. There is a real threat of politically motivated violence against broad sections of the population by right-wingers who are now riding high.
Some of the early decisions of the new government suggest the possibility of limiting language rights and other restrictions on the freedom of ethnic Russians, and possibly others. This could well lead to continued conflict, including violence.
The internal dangers have their compliment in external dangers. The EU, the United States and Canada look to the situation in Ukraine as an opportunity to advance their strategic interests in Central Europe. Russia has long been wary of western designs on Ukraine. Thus it comes as no surprise that Russian forces have moved into the Crimea. This shows how dangerous and unstable the situation is as Russia responds to what it sees as a threat to its strategic interests in the region. This dangerous situation is exacerbated by the warnings of Obama, Merkel and Cameron and the visit of John Baird at the head of a high ranking Canadian delegation. Thus, the people of Ukraine are caught between the internal fight of the oligarchs and the external pressure of the big powers.
These are among the issues which cause us deep concern about developments in Ukraine. We urge all parties involved in events in Ukraine to take a step away from violence and seek peaceful political resolution of differences.
We call on the countries of NATO (including Canada) and the EU to reduce their stance of hostility to Russia. The continuation of the Cold War, with Russia substituted for the Soviet Union, is a dangerous policy which limits, rather than enhancing, global development. Inflaming anti-Russian sentiment in Ukraine can only increase conflict in that country, without producing any long-term benefit to Ukraine or its partners.
We call on the countries of the West, especially Germany, to stop encouraging, aiding and abetting the far-right groups in Ukraine. A fascist Ukraine will pose no less a danger to the world than did Nazi Germany, also encouraged by western countries for many of the same reasons, including the expectation that it would be a weapon aimed eastward.
We call on the current government and future governments of Ukraine to act with restraint and exercise common sense. Corruption in Ukraine was not, and is not, limited to the Party of Regions, nor are ethnic Russians enemies of Ukraine. Attacking them, or attacking the Communists, or attacking certain religious groups, or attacking any group, will not move the country forward. Instead, deal with the social and other problems, and bring everyone into the struggle for a brighter future.
In addition, we call on the current government and future governments of Ukraine to resist the temptation to make the question a choice between East and West. There is no reason why Ukraine, if it chooses to do so, can not have beneficial relations with both the EU and Russia. In the process, Ukraine could serve as a moderating influence between the two camps and affirm its independence and its own course in the world.
We are hopeful that the greatest dangers posed by the situation in Ukraine will be avoided. Our wish is that the crisis can pass without further bloodshed.
Ukrainian Labour Temple was Designated a National Historic Site
||On Saturday, September 29th, 2012 at the Ukrainian Labour Temple 591 Pritchard (at McGregor) the Winnipeg Branch of the Association of United Ukrainian Canadians hosted representatives of the National Executive Committee of the AUUC, Parks Canada, invited dignitaries and the general public for the unveiling of the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada plaque commemorating the Ukrainian Labour Temple as a National Historic Site of Canada. The formal ceremony commenced at 3 p.m.
The Ukrainian Labour Temple is an iconic centre for the Ukrainian community in Manitoba, which also boasts ties to one of the most significant historical events in Canadian history - the Winnipeg General Strike of 1919. This designation supports the commemoration of this important national treasure.
The Ukrainian Labour Temple was dedicated to improving the circumstances of Ukrainian workers and farmers. It was the headquarters for several national Ukrainian organizations that provided educational, mutual aid, charitable and other services.
This temple was constructed by the Ukrainian Labour Temple Association in 1918-1919 in the multi-ethnic immigrant neighbourhood of Winnipeg's North End. While grandly designed by architect Robert E. Davies to have a substantial and enduring presence, its socialist role as a workers' community hall was familiar to most Ukrainians.
“We are honoured that the Government of Canada is recognizing the Ukrainian Labour Temple as a national historic site,” said Glenn Michalchuk, president of the local branch of the Association of United Ukrainian Canadians. “The rich value of this building stems not only from its links to the Winnipeg General Strike and the political activities that took place here, but also to its importance as a cultural centre for the Ukrainian community, a role that continues to this day. This designation will help ensure that this site and the values it represents will continue to be a source of pride for all Canadians.” See a pamphlet.
Amateur cultural activities always hold an important
place in the life of the Ukrainian Canadian community.
They played a prominent role in the cultural-educational
development of the community and were a significant
factor in the maturing of the Ukrainian national
consciousness. Thousands of plays were staged
by the AUUC amateur drama groups, hundreds of
orchestras, choirs, dance groups were formed to
perform in the AUUC halls, as well as on other
Ukrainian Canadian stages. more...
The Ukrainian Canadian Herald is
a general-interest family publication produced
by Kobzar Publishing Company Limited, serving
the progressive Ukrainian Canadian community.