An odd, bitter piece was published in the Toronto Sun last weekend, dismissing the efforts of the Ukrainian community’s recent “Ukraine at the Crossroads?” conference that discussed democracy, human rights, law and freedom in Ukraine.
often involving some of the same “experts” — was the House of Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development. Again, they rehashed what to do about the loss of democratic reforms that jeopardize Ukraine’s ties with Europe.
A very dismissive tone by veteran author Peter Worthington, who concludes the Ukrainian Canadian cause is ultimately futile: too far away to help Ukraine against neighbouring Russia’s growing totalitarianism:
Now that Ukraine is an independent country, but still economically, socially and culturally dependent on Russia in ways that Belarus is, it cannot escape Russian paranoia about its desire to identify more closely with Europe.
The UCC is aggressive and vibrant, but it’s difficult seeing them having much influence on Russian policies.
After the presidential election in Russia, it’s likely that Vladimir Putin is going to be the guy in charge until about 2024 if he so wishes — and if he lasts.
If, indeed, it is at a crossroads as the title of its recent Ottawa conference suggests, it is stalled at the crossroads — paralyzed between east and west, unable to advance until one side or the other blinks. Which neither shows any sign of doing. Yet.
It’s a troubling article, because it offers the reader no real background or information on the issues and ultimately makes up the readers mind for them.
The Canadian Standing Committee wants to send an observer team to Ukraine for elections due in October. How may times have we heard similar proposals for elections in Africa and other sensitive spots in the world? And how often has such monitoring affected the outcome of elections? Not often.
Worthington seems to forget the Orange Revolution, it was largely initiated by the international election observers who were able to hold up democratic rules that voided a fraudulent election.
For those who weren’t able to attend the conference, here are some pictures and reports from it:
Statements and Speeches
- Remarks by Eugene Czolij, UWC – “Ukraine at the Crossroads” Conference
- Canadian Election Observer Missions in Ukraine – Markian Shwec – “Ukraine at the Crossroads” Conference
- Introductory Remarks for Session IV – Derek Fraser, former Canadian ambassador to Ukraine – “Ukraine at the Crossroads” Conference
- “New Election Law and the 2012 Parliamentary Elections”: Remarks by Judge Bohdan A. Futey – “Ukraine at the Crossroads” Conference
- Presentation by Halya Coynash, Kharkiv Human Rights Group – “Ukraine at the Crossroads” Conference
- Comments from US Deputy Assistant Secretary Thomas O. Melia – “Ukraine at the Crossroads” Conference
- “Ukraine: Capitalism in One Family” [Anders Aslund]
- Opening remarks by UCC National President, Paul Grod, at “Ukraine at the Crossroads” Conference
- Ukraine’s National Survival and the US-Ukraine Relations: Looking Ahead at Geopolitics, Energy and Economics [Dr. Ariel Cohen]
Photos and Recaps
- Photos from “Ukraine at the Crossroads” Conference in Ottawa March 7 & 8, 2012
- “Ukraine at the Crossroads” Conference – March 7 & 8, 2012 – Ottawa [PHOTOS]