Crisis in the Ukraine: CCCB President Asks Prime Minister Paul Martin to Intervene

Monday, November 29 2004

The Right Honourable Paul Martin, P.C., M.P.
Prime Minister of Canada
Langevin Bldg.
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A2

Dear Mr. Prime Minister:

On behalf of the Roman and Eastern Catholic Bishops of Canada, among them Most Reverend Michael Bzdel, C.Ss.R., Ukrainian Archeparch of Winnipeg and Metropolitan of Ukrainian Catholics in Canada, and five other Ukrainian Catholic Bishops in Canada who also are members of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, I wish to convey our complete support for the strong action by the Government of Canada in denouncing the results of the recent presidential election in Ukraine and in calling for an investigation into election irregularities and allegations of fraud.

Together with all Canadians who are following the events in Ukraine closely and with great concern, including the members of every political party as well as over a million Canadians of Ukrainian descent, we ask the Government of Canada to continue urging Ukrainian authorities to ensure full recognition of the rights of the people in Ukraine to self-determination and religious freedom.

Time and time again throughout their history, the people of Ukraine have suffered under oppression. We pray that this particular moment not be another occasion marked by bloody violence, but instead that there be a peaceful and non-military resolution to the present crisis, with a guarantee of free and fair democratic elections, conducted under the rule of law and which meet international standards. We also call on the Government of Canada to continue working toward these objectives.

We unite our prayers with those of His Holiness Pope John Paul II, who in his general audience of 24 November 2004 said that he was praying particularly for Ukraine at this moment, and with those of His Eminence Lubomyr Cardinal Husar, Major Archbishop of Lviv and head of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, who issued a pastoral message on 23 November 2004 in the name of the Bishops of the Synod of the Kiev-Halych Metropolitanate, calling all Ukraine “to common prayer for God’s help”, because “Today the nation is convinced that democratic principles were violated.”

Thank you, Mr. Prime Minister, for your leadership in this urgent cause and for the Government of Canada’s insistence that these important concerns be addressed.


+ Most Reverend Brendan M. O’Brien
Archbishop of St. John’s
President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops

CC His Excellency Leonid Kuchma, President of Ukraine
The Honourable Pierre Pettigrew, Minister of Foreign Affairs
His Excellency Mykola Maimeskul, Ukrainian Ambassador to Canada