Borys Wrzesnewskyj, MP Etobicoke Centre (Liberal) and the Honourable Jason Kenney, MP Calgary Southeast, Secretary of State (Multiculturalism and Canadian Identity), Government of Canada (Conservative) had both attended the 50th Anniversary Banquet of the Ukrainian Canadian Social Services in Toronto on Saturday February 24th 2007. During this Banquet, Borys Wrzesnewskyj accused the Conservative Government of canceling the Agreement in Principle (A.I.P.) and the "alleged" $12.5 million dollars associated with this A.I.P. signed on August 24th 2005 by the government of the Right Honourable Paul Martin, former Prime Minister of Canada.
Borys Wrzesnewskyj, MP continued this public jousting in the Parliament of Canada on Thursday March 1st 2007 (French) during Question Period. The Honourable Jason Kenney MP used un-Parliamentary language to refute Borys Wrzesnewskyj claim.
Borys Wrzesnewskyj, MP brought up the next day a Point of Privilege (French) in the Parliament of Canada in reference to the Hon. Jason Kenney MP using un-Parliamentary Language. The Hon. Jason Kenney MP apologized for the language used. This did not resolve the underlying issue.
At issue was that Borys Wrzesnewskyj MP has made a claim that there was a "Done Deal" between the Government of Canada and the Ukrainian Canadian Community for $12.5 million dollars to be put into a fund in the The Ukrainian Canadian Foundation of Taras Shevchenko. He takes the claim further that the present Conservative Government had cancelled such a deal.
The Hon. Jason Kenney MP has counter-claimed that an A.I.P. was signed between the then Liberal Government and the Ukrainian Community that promissed a "down payment" of $2.5 million once terms were created by the Government of Canada with further negotiations for a follow on amount to be determined by negotiations.
This jousting match in the Parliament of Canada was escalated with a Press Conference in the Ukrainian Community on Tuesday March 13th 2007 held by Borys Wrzesnewskyj MP and the Honourable Ralph Goodale, MP Wascana, (Liberal), former Finance Minister under the Liberal Government 2004-2005. They both made the claim that there was a "Done Deal" between the Ukrainian Community and the then Liberal Government.
What was referred to in this Press Conference, was that in the 2006 preliminary Budget, the Liberal Government had set aside $12.5 million for Ukrainian Internment Redress. What they failed to follow up on was signed documents, a Final Redress Agreement or any evidence that there was a "Done Deal". Also note that the Liberal Government collapsed under a motion of non-confidence and the election was called on November 28th 2005 resulting in a Federal Electioni in which the governing Liberals lost the election on January 23rd 2006.
Let us look at the facts:
The truth lies somewhere between between these various claims.
The Liberal Party of Canada had 13 years of power to resolve this issue. 11 of those years were under the Right Honourable Jean Chretien who had promissed in writing to resolve this issue. The Right Honourable Paul Martin had 2 years of power to resolve this issue. Ralph Goodale had budgeted $25 million for Redress in the 2005 Federal Budget yet failed to process the paperwork to pay out the agreed-to $2.5 million down-payment in the 5 months from the signing of the A.I.P. to election day. They failed.
Wrzesnewskyj & Goodale would like us to believe that $12.5 million was budgeted in the 2006 Federal Budget. That may very well be true and it may have very well been their intentions to pay that out to the Ukrainian Community. The point is mute because of the following reasons:
The Conservative Government has failed to resolve this issue to date during the 1 year of power. They only re-started negotiations in the past 4-6 months. They have not lived up to the terms of the A.I.P. to this date. There has been no statement from the present Government to whether the A.I.P. will be adhered to.
As of April 8th 2007, the Government of Canada has been in negotiations with the Official Negotiators of the Ukrainian Community for some time. No final deal has been reached as of this date.
The InfoUkes Inc. Staff
Sunday April 8th 2007