Marco Levytsky, Editorial Writer.
On August 14, the Ukrainian Canadian community lost one of its most effective parliamentarians when Senator Raynell Andreychuk reached the mandatory retirement age of 75.
First appointed by Governor General Ramon Hnatyshyn, upon the recommendation of Prime Minister Brian Mulroney in 1993, Senator Andreychuk became the first woman to be appointed to that position from Saskatchewan. She served as a member of the Progressive Conservative Party until 2004 when the PC’s merged with the Alliance Party to become the Conservative Party of Canada.
Prior to her Senate appointment, she served as a lawyer, judge and Chancellor of the University of Regina. She was named Canada’s High Commissioner to Kenya and Uganda as well as Ambassador to Somalia, the Comoros, and Portugal. During the course of her diplomatic appointments, she also served as Canada’s representative to the United Nations Human Rights Commission and to the United Nations Environment Program, Habitat.
Throughout her stellar 26-year career in the Red Chamber, Senator Andreychuk has been “policy driven” as she puts it.
“A lot of senators are very focused on certain issues,” she says. “I do foreign policy, I do human rights, I do family issues. I do Saskatchewan — pulse crops forever — so international trade. And then I do Ukrainian things. So, I’m all over the world and all over Canada and Saskatchewan.”
Although the Canadian Senate has limited powers and rarely initiates its own legislation, Senator Andreychuk has utilized those powers to the fullest and has sponsored a number of bills in the Senate, especially when it came to issues of importance to the Ukrainian community. She introduced the resolution on the Holodomor Ukrainian Famine/Genocide in the Senate, which was adopted on June 19, 2003. She also sponsored Bill C-459 in the Senate, which established a Ukrainian Famine and Genocide (Holodomor) Memorial Day and recognized the Ukrainian Famine of 1932-33 as an act of genocide. Senator Andreychuk sponsored Bill S-226, which enacted the Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act (Sergei Magnitsky Law) in Canada on October 18, 2017. This Act enables the Government of Canada to impose sanctions against perpetrators of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights.
Senator Andreychuk was a member and Chair of the Canada-Ukraine Legislative Project following Ukraine’s independence and held the position of Vice-Chair of the Canada-Ukraine Parliamentary Friendship Group. At the request of the Government of Canada, she has led four election Observer Missions to Ukraine. Senator Andreychuk served as Honorary Chair of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress 75th Anniversary Commemoration of Holodomor activities in Canada, and as Honorary Patron of the Kobzar Literary Award established by the Shevchenko Foundation. She furthered her work with the community as a Director of the Canada-Ukraine Centre and as a member of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress and the Ukrainian Business and Professional Club. As a part of her international commitments, Senator Andreychuk served as Chair of the Ukraine-NATO Inter-parliamentary Council (UNIC) of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly.
Senator Andreychuk was awarded Ukraine’s Order of Prince Yaroslav the Wise for her substantial contribution in the development of Ukrainian-Canadian relations. She is also a recipient of the Ukrainian World Congress St. Volodymyr the Great Medal, the World Federation of Ukrainian Women’s Organizations’ Woman of Distinction Award, the Ukrainian Nation Builders Award, the Taras Shevchenko Medal, and a Special Lifetime Achievement Award from the Ukrainian Canadian Professional and Business Association of Calgary.
Yet another honor (or what we consider to be an honor) was bestowed upon her by Russian dictator Vladimir Putin in March 2014 when Senator Andreychuk became one of 13 Canadians banned from traveling to Russia under retaliatory sanctions imposed by him.
All of the above awards and honors bear testimony to the remarkable record of achievement Senator Andreychuk has attained during her more-than-a-quarter-century of service in the Senate. As a community we are very grateful for her years of service, particularly as they related to those issues that we cherish so deeply and wish her many happy years in her retirement.
Мнoгая лiта, панi сенатoркo!