Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper to arrive in Ukraine on Monday

Update: Harper arrived Monday and asked Yanukovych some serious questions! 

The Canadian government has announced that Prime Minister Stephen Harper will travel to Ukraine from October 25 to 26:

The Prime Minister will also travel to Ukraine at the invitation of President Viktor Yanukovych.  “I look forward to my meetings with President Yanukovych and others, and to gaining a better understanding of Ukraine, the ancestral homeland of so many Canadians, with its unique society and culture.”

But the UCC warns that Ukraine has strayed from many democratic goals since President Yanukovych took over:

"Recent steps taken by Ukraine’s political leadership have seriously undermined the country’s constitution, its democratic institutions, the protection of its historical memory and national identity, sovereignty and territorial integrity. A continued deterioration of human and political rights in Ukraine, the weakening of its national sovereignty will have serious implications in the region and beyond. Any relations between Canada and Ukraine must be founded on the principles contained in the bilateral agreement signed in September 2009 "Priorities for Canada-Ukraine Relations – Road Map" including the provisions on democracy, human rights and the protection of Ukraine’s political sovereignty and territorial integrity. Canada’s leadership is critical in ensuring peace, prosperity, and that Ukraine will be able to pursue a fully independent, democratic and dignified existence," stated Grod.

"In the current context, with signs that Ukraine’s language, history, and national identity are being threatened amid media reports indicating that the rule of law and democratic freedoms such as freedom of the press, assembly and speech are being stifled, it is important that these issues be raised at the most senior levels," stated Grod. "Canada has an opportunity to take a leadership position in response to this situation. Canada is widely respected in Ukraine as a model for democratic values and as a civil society, for its economic and social development, and its long-term support for Ukraine."

The last PM to visit Ukraine was Jean Chretien in 1999 and the latest representative was Michaelle Jean, Governor General of Canada.

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