Holodomor Awareness and Education

Yvan Baker Constituency Office.

On May 26, 2015, MPP Yvan Baker gave the following statement in the Ontario Legislative Assembly on Holodomor Awareness and Education.

“We have a number of guests from the Ukrainian Canadian community here today, and I’d like to speak about the Holodomor.

Mr. Speaker, the Holodomor was a genocide that occurred in 1932 and 1933 in Ukraine. It was perpetrated by Joseph Stalin when he closed Ukraine’s borders and confiscated grain. He did so to destroy the Ukrainian population that was opposed to his rule. That’s the same freedom and independence that the people of Ukraine are fighting for today. During that time 17 people per minute, 1,000 per hour and 25,000 per day were dying of famine. The world was silent and millions died as a result.

In the gallery today we have two survivors of the Holodomor. My grandmother was a survivor of the Holodomor. She once told me that she hoped that the victims of the Holodomor would not only be remembered but honoured. “Honoured” means not just remembering and commemorating, but learning from our mistakes as a global community and taking the steps to make sure something like this never happens again. That is why it is so important that young people in Ontario learn about the Holodomor.

That’s why I’m so proud to stand here today with leaders of the Ukrainian Canadian community who worked towards that goal for so long, with you, Mr. Speaker, and other members of the Legislature who co-sponsored a bill to recognize the Holodomor; and with our Premier and our Minister of Education, who have ensured that the Holodomor will be in the Ontario curriculum so that every young person learns about the Holodomor.

Today, I hope we take this opportunity to commemorate and remember, but also redouble our efforts to ensure that a tragedy like this, a tragedy like the one that’s happening in Ukraine right now, never happens again.

Let us do as my grandmother would have asked, as all of the survivors and victims would ask if they were here today: Let us remember the victims. Let us commemorate the victims. Let us honour them.”