The signing of the Charter was a very difficult, complex journey that involved many players to see it through, and one of them was a Ukrainian Canadian:
Trudeau wanted the Charter. The premiers worried over loss of provincial power. The logjam was broken in a dramatic few hours by four people — Jean Chrétien, federal minister of justice; Bill Davis, Conservative premier of Ontario; Roy McMurtry, Ontario attorney general; and Roy Romanow, the NDP attorney general of Saskatchewan.
By Day 3 — that was Nov. 4 (1982) — the participants were going nowhere.
That’s when Chrétien, McMurtry and Romanow forged what became known as the “kitchen accord.”
“It was not the kitchen, actually, but rather a pantry,” recalled Romanow. “We happened to be there by accident — one Anglophone from Ontario, me a Ukrainian socialist from Saskatchewan, and this French Canadian from Shawinigan.
“Those two did most of the talking. I happened to be carrying a note pad, so I took down notes. Chrétien, having gone through one referendum in Quebec, was determined not to go through another that would end up dividing the country and dividing families. “I also dreaded a national referendum on such divisive issues as language.”
Prime Minister Stephen Harper is on “the wrong side of history” by failing to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms to avoid stirring up lingering resentment in Quebec, says former Saskatchewan premier Roy Romanow.
In an interview with Evan Solomon, host of CBC’s Power & Politics, Romanow believes bitter divisions have dissipated over time, and that Harper is in a “very, very small minority of Canadians” not marking the occasion as a historic milestone.
“I’m saddened a bit that the prime minister would not recognize it as an important contribution to Canada’s nation-building, an articulation of our values and our responsibilities,”
“There will be separatists who don’t like the process or perhaps even the substance – what can we do about that, except to explain in Quebec and elsewhere to Canada and elsewhere in the world that this country is one of the greatest, most fair-minded, most opportunity-filled nations in the world?” he said.
“I think that’s what we should be celebrating, and harbouring, in fact, raising the spectre, I find it tough to accept that a prime minister would raise it.”
Romanow was Saskatchewan’s attorney general and intricately involved in the high-stakes political negotiations in the run-up to the patriation of the constitution in 1982. Failure to bring home the constitution would have had “unconscionable and unfathomable” consequences for Canada, he said.
Happy Easter! For those celebrating this weekend, here are some articles and videos that should get you into the spirit:
While we’re in hockey playoff season, even Don Cherry gets into the spirt… sorta :/
Ukrainian Easter in Kerhonkson
Parishioners Saturday at the Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Kerhonkson celebrated Easter and Ukrainian traditions of egg-decorating and food at a Ukrainian Easter Festival. The church’s annual event before Easter features traditional Ukrainian homemade breads, gift items and various meats from the East Village Meat Market in Manhattan, and special emphasis on carefully decorated eggs. Times Herald-Record
A Ukrainian Easter Egg from the Midwest
Luba Perchyshyn, an artist and owner of the oldest Ukrainian Gift Shop in Minneapolis, keeps the traditional art of decorating Easter Eggs alive… In the video that I shot in her Ukrainian Gift Shop — in business since 1947 — Perchyshyn demonstrates how to create a Ukrainian Easter Egg.
In the files of the Peace River Museum Archives and Mackenzie Centre is a descriptive compilation of Ukrainian Easter customs by Joyce Sirski. She documents the customs thusly: “Easter customs are rich in heritage. Easter is not only a three-day period, but also a cycle of 40 days known as Lent, when age-old associations with man and nature come to a religious climax with the resurrection of Christ.
As Easter approaches (Sunday the 15th on the Julian calendar and this Sunday on the Gregorian), one of the oldest Ukrainian traditions is decorating Easter Eggs known as Pysanky (which is plural, where as Pysanka is one). An ancient custom pre-dating Christianity in the region over 1,000 years ago, these eggs were decorated to symbolize new life that began in Spring.