NP-UN Western Bureau.
Over 900 citizens of Ukraine have registered to vote in the Ukrainian Presidential Elections at the new Consulate General office in Edmonton, guests were told at the reception marking the opening of the new Consulate office.
The consulate, which serves the provinces of British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan, was moved into its permanent premises at Unit 327, 9707 – 110 St. NW, Edmonton, T5K 2L9, a month earlier.
Prior to that it had operated out of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress – Alberta Provincial Council’s (UCC – APC) office.
Consul General Oleksandr Danyleiko took note of this, saying the staff was very proud to provide this service as previously citizens of Ukraine living in western Canada had to travel to Toronto in order to vote.
First round of voting is scheduled for March 31. Should no candidate receive a majority of the vote, the second round will be held April 14.
Ukraine’s Ambassador to Canada Andriy Shevchenko commended Danyleiko and Consul Nadia Kostenko who did the preparatory work in setting up the office prior to Danyleiko’s arrival, adding “Alberta has a special place in our hearts.”
Representing the Government of Alberta, Economic Development and Trade Minister Deron Bilous said it was an honour to be present at the reception and to see the relationship between Ukraine and Alberta progress.
He thanked former Premier Ed Stelmach, who was also present, for his work in blazing the trail for the consulate, which had been scheduled to open during his tenure, but was postponed due to the 2008 financial crisis which hit Ukraine particularly hard.
He also paid tribute to the late Speaker Gene Zwozdesky, who authored the 2008 Holodomor bill, while he was still a government minister.
Representing the City of Edmonton, Councillor Jon Dziadyk who is of Ukrainian origin, as is Bilous, noted that Edmonton has the largest urban population of Canadians of Ukrainian origin, adding that the consulate recognizes the history of the contributions of Ukrainians to western Canada
Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson himself showed up later in the evening and presented a congratulatory certificate to Danyleiko and Shevchenko.
UCC – APC President Olesia Luciw Andryjowycz noted that “the opening of the Consulate will facilitate and enhance the development of cultural, social, economic and trade linkages between Canada and Ukraine. Western Canada is home to over 670,000 Canadians of Ukrainian descent, and many Ukrainian citizens.
“This is a new chapter in the growing relationship between Canada and Ukraine. The opening of the Consulate will ensure even closer links between Canada and Ukraine. – We look forward to working closely with the new Consulate General and Consul for many years to come,” she added.
The ceremony opened with a blessing of the consulate by Edmonton Eparch Bishop David of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church and Western Eparch Bishop Ilarion of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada. Co-celebrants were Rev. Peter Babej (UGCC), Rev. Georg Podtepa and Rev. Cornell Zubritsky (both UOCC).