Monday, October 12, 2015

Spotlight on: Borys Wrzesnewskyj

In just about every election a handful of our members cast their hats into the ring in the hopes of winning the right to represent their neighbours at one or another level of government.
In this federal election we have so far identified only one member running for election as Member of Canada’s Federal Parliament. Borys Wrzesnewsky is the Liberal Party candidate for Etobicoke Centre, a riding that was hotly contested in 2011 and will likely once again act as a primary battle ground come voting day on October 19.

Though Ukrainian Credit Union Limited does not endorse candidates, we always encourage those of our members who get actively involved in the political life of Canada. What better way to contribute to our society than to be directly involved in governing it?

Borys is not a new-comer to politics, he represented Etobicoke-Centre for three terms between 2004 and 2011 when Conservative Ted Opitz won the election in a squeaker of a vote decided by some two dozen votes.

During his seven years in Parliament, Borys took part in many committees, including as a vice-chair of the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration and the Subcommittee on the Agenda and Procedure on the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration.

Among bills that he helped get passed in the House of Commons was MP James Bezan’s Bill C-459, An Act to establish a Ukrainian Famine and Genocide Memorial Day and to recognize the Ukrainian Famine of 1932-33 as an act of genocide, at all stages through the House of Commons and Senate. He also worked with MP Bob Rae to introduce and pass the Black Ribbon Day motion establishing an annual Canadian Day of Remembrance for the victims of Nazi and Soviet Communist regimes on August 23.

Another of Borys’ achievements was helping the Canadian government to negotiate and sign a historic agreement for $12.5 million with the Ukrainian Canadian community that was to be used for the acknowledgement, commemoration and, education of Canadians about the dark episode of internment operations against Ukrainian Canadians.

Borys at his bakery
A third generation Ukrainian Canadian and local business owner (Future Bakery and MC Dairy), Borys Wrzesnewskyj has lived in Etobicoke Centre for over two decades. Borys received his Bachelor of Commerce from Trinity College – University of Toronto in 1983 and quickly gravitated towards humanitarian and pro-democracy work – helping organize and finance the People’s Movement of Ukraine in the late 1980s, and in support of the referendum for the independence of Ukraine in 1991. One of his projects was an underground printing press which produced and distributed several million pieces of pro-independence literature in the South and East of Ukraine.

Borys Wrzesnewskyj with former Prime Minister
the Rt. Hon. John Turner
Throughout the 1990s, he was involved with various civil society and humanitarian projects in Ukraine, such as the building of libraries and providing scholarships for gifted students.
Borys initiated and was actively involved in organizing the Canadian delegation headed by former PM John Turner to the contested Ukrainian election during the Orange Revolution of 2004. Wrzesnewskyj was actively involved in the Canadian delegation to the contested Ukrainian election of 2004, Orange Revolution, and has often spoken to Canadian media on its behalf. Then, Canadian Prime Minister, Paul Martin said that he was personally briefed by Borys to publicly warn Russian President Vladimir Putin "hands off the Ukrainian election" in the House of Commons of Canada which fundamentally shifted Canada's position. Originally, the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade in Ottawa took a "hands off" approach to the contested Ukrainian election. Martin says that he, and the Government of Canada would not have stood up for democracy in Ukraine "if it hadn't been for Borys". Subsequently, he was instrumental in securing the Government of Canada's commitment to sending five hundred Canadian election observers to the December 2004 Presidential elections in Ukraine.

If you know of any other candidates who are members of Ukrainian Credit union Limited, please let us know and we will gladly profile them. In the meantime, make sure you are registered to vote and that you know all of the issues and candidates. Exercise your democratic right to vote!

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