Wasyl Luczkiw: Firmly Behind the Catholic Teachings

Wasyl Luczkiw is running for a Toronto Catholic District School Board Trustee in Etobicoke Ward 1. The elections will be held on October 27 during the Municipal elections. We interviewed Wasyl to find what this young man (he is a student of the University of Toronto, Mississauga Campus, majoring in physics and psychology) has to offer the constituents.
NP: What is your platform?
WL: I’m running because I have a lot of experience working with the community and I believe that is important for the Toronto Catholic Board to realize the importance of that community. I stand firmly behind the Catholic teachings and I stand for fiscal responsibility and making sure the Board does its job to connect with the constituents. I also believe that the Board should be able to receive proper input from the constituents.
I’m running because I believe I can help being young and able to provide another perspective. I’m able to provide a better insight on the current issues that are happening in the schools. The trustees are very experienced but they mostly know about the problems that the Catholic system had back then and today it is very different. It would be very beneficial for the Board to have a modern perspective in order for them to move forward in resolving some of these issues.
NP: How are you planning on resolving those issues?
WL: One of the main issues that everyone is worried about is that our Catholic schools are becoming less and less Catholic. I believe this is due to societal and cultural changes and I believe that this is something that no one has seen before and it’s hard for people to understand. I believe that because I have been working with the youth in our community for the past six years – trying to preserve their culture and inspiring the youth – I am able to bring that knowledge and experience to translate that into my role as Toronto Catholic School Board Trustee.
NP: What other problems would you like to address?
WL: In some wards, there are problems with leadership. Everyone depends on the Board to keep them informed about decisions and keep them up to date. Another problem that I want to address and improve upon is the disconnect between the constituents and the Trustees.
NP: You’re planning on taking on a more pro-active position then?
WL: Yes, take a more pro-active position and make sure the constituents are more aware of the decisions and are more open on receiving input and making sure that our constituents are kept in the loop and kept connected to the Board. I will make sure the community is not neglected because the responsibility of the Trustee is to be the elected representative of the community.
NP: What is your track record in this community work?
WL: For the past six years, I’ve been involved with the Ukrainian National Youth Federation and in the first two years of my involvement I’ve been the vice-president of the UNYF West Toronto Branch and later on I moved up to President. During my time of being Branch President, I was able to move the organization forward with a lot of help from the backing of the parent organization. I was spearheading a lot of programs and events and inspiring others to excite them about Ukrainian culture.
Currently, I am the National President of the UNYF and I hold another position on another board which is called the Canadian Ethno-Cultural Council. It is my duty to represent and facilitate the various multicultural youth across Canada. I have held these positions for a couple of years now and I believe that these are good indicators because no one is given these jobs overnight. There has been six years of hard work and effort.
NP: Among your positions is development of multiculturalism. Do you think multiculturalism is doing well in the Catholic system?
WL: I believe that multiculturalism is one of Canada’s biggest treasures. What is surprising about multiculturalism is that many people don’t know it’s potential. I believe that Canada can become a much better place if everyone realizes what multiculturalism really is.
There is evidence of multiculturalism in the Catholic system. But I believe it is struggling – the burden was placed on the Canadian people to preserve their cultural heritage voluntarily. There needs to be assurances that cultural differences are preserved in Canada – there needs to be maintenance and growth.
There is a misconception that various cultures in Canada are not Canadian – I believe that it stems from the misunderstanding of what multiculturalism is. It encapsulates all of these cultures and makes it our Canadian culture. I guess this is one of the reasons why multiculturalism has been seeing some difficult times.
NP: What do you think about Ukrainian schools in this respect?
WL: I believe that the discrimination that used to exist in Canada has slightly gone down during these times but the damage has been done. There were discriminations against multi-tongued communities from the only English communities. And this caused great damage to our children especially during the times of multiculturalism. There was a sense when you were a kid trying to figure out who you were – Canadian or Ukrainian – there was always pressure to conform. You didn’t feel comfortable being yourself.
This has done its damage because there are many kids in schools who are traumatized and afraid of being who they are.Before multiculturalism, it was impossible to become and to be accepted as Canadian so there was a stronger preservation of their culture. But during the transition period when multiculturalism became accepted in Canada there was a chance of being fully Canadian and they felt that leaving their culture for being Canadian was possible. However, what is beautiful of multiculturalism is that their culture became accepted as part of Canada.
NP: What other problems would you like to address?
WL: In the school system itself, the Trustee does not have that much responsibility for the curriculum. But I do have some power to help make the Catholic school a better place.
There is a misunderstanding, the Catholic School Board actually does include the Ukrainian Catholic as well. I believe that there is a myth there among the Trustees about the Eastern Rite Churches and I believe that I can humanize our religion and bring about more understanding and recognition of our Ukrainian Catholic communities and schools to the Board since I am more familiar with their needs. I can better help the Board translate the needs of Ukrainian parents and students.
In the end, Wasyl had this message to the voters:
“I encourage everyone to come out and vote because every vote counts. I hope you will vote for me and think this will be a new beginning for the Ward and for our Catholic Board and it’s going to a very interesting next couple of years. And God willing, I will be your next Trustee.”

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