President Poroshenko addresses Parliament of Canada



The Speaker    The Speaker: I would now like to invite the right hon. Prime Minister to take the floor.



Le très hon. Stephen Harper (premier ministre, PCC)    Le très hon. Stephen Harper (premier ministre, PCC): Monsieur le Président du Sénat, monsieur le Président de la Chambre des communes, honorables sénateurs et députés, distingués invités, mesdames et messieurs, ladies and gentlemen.


It is our great pleasure to welcome to Canada, to welcome to our Parliament today, the President of the Ukraine and his wife, Petro and Maryna Poroshenko.


Merci monsieur le président d’avoir quitté brièvement votre pays pour participer à cette séance conjointe de notre Parlement. Nous savons qu’il s’agit d’une période cruciale pour vous et pour l’Ukraine et nous apprécions grandement votre présence ici.


Mr. President, you will recall that in June I was in your parliament to witness you take the oath of office to “protect the sovereignty and independence of Ukraine”. I went to Kiev representing not only the Government of Canada, not only the 1.2 million Canadians of Ukrainian descent, I went to Kiev representing all Canadians from all regions, all walks of life, and all parties represented in this Parliament to demonstrate our unwavering support for your nation’s democratic future and for the independence of the Ukrainian people.


Monsieur le président, peu de temps s’est écoulé depuis le mois de juin. Cependant, seulement quatre mois plus tard, votre pays et notre monde ne sont plus les mêmes.


Mr. Putin’s soldiers and their proxies have expanded their penetration into Ukrainian territory. More members of Ukraine’s armed forces have been obliged to make the ultimate sacrifice. The world has witnessed the attack on flight MH17, a deplorable crime that took the lives of so many innocent people, including one Canadian.


Mr. President, what I told you in June has not changed.


Peu importe les difficultés que pourrait réserver l’avenir, peu importe les actions de ce qui menace la liberté de l’Ukraine, l’Ukraine ne sera jamais seule parce que l’Ukraine peut compter sur le Canada.


This commitment is almost as old as our country. It began in the late 19th century with the arrival in our west of tens of thousands of Ukrainian settlers fleeing tyranny and poverty there to help build a free and prosperous society here, but never surrendering the dream that their homeland would one day also share that freedom and prosperity.


It was expressed in the 1960s by Prime Minister Diefenbaker in his demand that Khrushchev grant open elections to “freedom-loving Ukrainians”.


Cette sympathie s’est à nouveau manifestée à la fin de la guerre froide lorsque le premier ministre Mulroney a fait du Canada le premier pays occidental à reconnaître une Ukraine nouvellement indépendante.


It was forcefully displayed again in this Parliament in 2008 when, led by our colleague James Bezan, we declared the Holodomor what it was: an act of genocide against the Ukrainian people.


Canadians have now served proudly as observers for seven successive Ukrainian elections and just last week I announced that when the Ukrainian people once again go to the polls exercising their hard-won democratic rights on October 26, Canadians will again be there in force.






14:15 (2)


…    Nous collaborerons avec nos alliés afin d’aider l’Ukraine par d’autres moyens.


We have, in large measure, terminated our engagement with Mr. Putin’s regime, suspending his Russia from the G7 and working to isolate it diplomatically.


We have enacted tough sanctions on business interests tied to Russia’s illegal occupation of Ukrainian territory. Just yesterday, Minister Baird announced additional measures.


Nous avons livré de l’équipement de protection et de l’équipement médical et logistique pour aider les courageux soldats ukrainiens à défendre leur pays et leur famille.


We are providing significant financial assistance. Canada is also giving humanitarian aid to help Ukrainians affected by the conflict, including additional funds announced today.


We have also deployed the Canadian Armed Forces as part of the reassurance mission to our NATO allies in Eastern Europe, and we have been unequivocal, Mr. President, in our support for the peace plan that you have been pursuing for the Ukrainian people.


At the same time let us be clear. Canada recognizes the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, all of Ukraine. Whether it takes five months or 50 years to liberate it we will never, ever recognize the illegal Russian occupation of Ukrainian territory.


Comme vous-même l’avez dit là-dessus, il ne peut y avoir aucun compromis. Le Canada restera ferme dans ses positions et continuera de dénoncer sans équivoque le manque de respect de M. Poutine pour les lois et nous continuerons avec nos alliés à répondre à l’agression russe.


Mr. President, in your inaugural address last June you said, and I quote, “Nobody will turn Ukrainians into the slaves of criminals or the servants of a colonial power. The world”, you said, “supports us”.


Monsieur le président, les pays libres et démocratiques du monde vous appuient.


We cannot let Mr. Putin’s dark and dangerous actions stand for they have global security implications and because, as I have said before, for Canadians, with our deep connections to the Ukrainian people, this is not to us just a matter of international law or political principle, this is a matter of kinship, this is a matter of family, this is personal and we will stand by you.


Monsieur le président, ce n’est pas en vain que des générations de patriotes ukrainiens ont lutté pour la liberté.


The Ukrainian people have the right, like all free countries, to seek their own future, to seek a European future of hope and never to return to the darkness of a Soviet past.


La population d’Ukraine veut avec raison ce dont nous profitons en Occident: la liberté, la démocratie, la justice, la prospérité.


Mr. President, freedom, democracy, justice, prosperity. These are not mere words, they are the very foundations of our country and they are the values that Canada champions around the world, not out of selfish ambition but because Canadians have always desired these things for all peoples.


Lorsque nous aidons d’autres peuples à préserver leur liberté, c’est notre propre liberté que nous assurons également.


Let me close, Mr. President, by commending you for showing leadership and courage and careful judgment in the face of ruthless and relentless intimidation and for tirelessly pursuing peace, independence and security for your people. Know that whatever lies ahead, Canada and Ukraine will continue to move forward together, confident that our shared dreams and aspirations are right, just and good.


I told you you would feel at home here.


Mesdames et messieurs, ladies and gentlemen, please join me in welcoming a true friend of Canada, le président de l’Ukraine, the President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko.






14:21 (3)


H.E. Petro Poroshenko (President of Ukraine, House of Commons)    H.E. Petro Poroshenko (President of Ukraine, House of Commons): It is very hard to give a speech in such an atmosphere, believe me. I have never felt anything like this.


Mr. Prime Minister, Speaker Kinsella, Speaker Scheer, hon. members of the Senate and the House of Commons, hon. members of the diplomatic community, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, dear friends, dear Ukrainians, it is a deeply felt honour to address this distinguished legislative body.


I must thank you, Mr. Prime Minister, for inviting me to come to Canada, Speaker Kinsella and Speaker Scheer, for giving me such an outstanding opportunity to address the Canadian Parliament. I see this as a tribute to my country and the Ukrainian people and an expression of the unique distinctive partnership which both of our nations enjoy.


C’est un grand honneur pour moi de tenir un discours dans le Parlement du Canada.


Let me also, just once, use the third official language of Canada: Ukrainian.


[The President spoke in Ukrainian, interpreted as follows:]


Thank you for this great honour, dear friends, dear compatriots, and dear Ukrainian community.




To be frank with you, I feel very much at home with you here today in a country that is very close to Ukraine, not in distance but through our hearts and through the common idea.


Indeed, Canada has become home for so many early Ukrainian settlers who came here more than a century ago. In 1892, a century before Canada was the first to recognize Ukraine’s independence, the first Ukrainian immigrants, Ivan Pylypiw and Wasyl Eleniak, arrived. They launched further numerous Ukrainians’ immigration to the Pacific coast, settling across the woods and prairies of Canada.


The Ukrainian community has easily integrated into Canadian society. It built railways and towns, schools and churches, heroically fought against the Nazis during World War II, contributed to the Canadian economy and culture. Later, the sons and daughters of farmers became prominent members of Canadian society, businessmen, artists, scientists, athletes and politicians.


One of them, Ramon Hnatyshyn, became a governor general of Canada. We always remember his name. The list is long and impressive: the premiers of Saskatchewan and Manitoba, Roy Romanow and Gary Filmon, Senators Raynell Andreychuk and David Tkachuk, James Bezan and William Kereluk, hockey superstars Terry Sawchuk and Wayne Gretzky, and also female astronaut, Dr. Roberta Bondar.


We have high praise for the great Ukrainian Canadian sculptor Leo Mol who crafted one of the best Taras Shevchenko monuments in the world in Washington, D.C. We always remember that. If I continue with the list, we will run out of time in this session, believe me.


Today, the Ukrainian Canadian community is over a million people. It is strong, and now it has been demonstrated that it is consolidated. It has preserved the language of their homeland, faith and traditions. Ukraine has always felt proud of Ukrainian Canadians and grateful for their lasting support.






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…    [The President spoke in Ukrainian, interpreted as follows:]


On behalf of the Ukrainian people, I would like to thank you, dear brothers and sisters, for your help to Ukraine.




However, it is not only history that bonds us; it is also shared values that make Canada and Ukraine an integral part of the global family of democracies.


Today Ukraine pays a very high price for defending what we believe in: democracy and the freedom to choose our own future. For more than two decades we proudly stated that Ukraine gained its independence without shedding a single drop of blood. Now that is no longer true. Now we are engaged in a true battle for our independence. Now we are paying the real price.


Today Ukraine is bleeding for its independence and territorial integrity. The Governor General of Canada, Ramon Hnatyshyn, in his speech at the Ukrainian Parliament in 1992, just one year after Ukrainian independence, stated that we must not forget the suffering of the people that we are witnessing. That day he spoke to brave Ukrainian and Canadian soldiers who kept the peace across the world in zones of conflict and unrest. These words remain true now as never before.


Today thousands of brave Ukrainian men and women are sacrificing their lives for the right to live in the way they choose, on their land, under the blue and gold colours of the Ukrainian flag, colours that are so dear to many Canadian Ukrainians. In these dark days, we feel your strong support. Thank you very much for that.


It is in our time of need that we see our friends, and there is no other way to put it: Canada is a friend indeed.


As a commander-in-chief, as a Ukrainian, and as a father of soldiers, I thank Canada for each life that is being saved today in the Ukrainian Donbass by the helmets and bulletproof vests you gave us.


Once again I thank you, Mr. Prime Minister, and your government for your position. I thank the Canadian parliamentarians and senators, all Canadians, and fellow Ukrainians for standing tall and making your voices heard; for helping financially with technical assistance and non-lethal military aid; and for supporting us in international fora such as the UN, NATO, and the G7. This is very valuable for us.


I would like to use this great opportunity to thank all Canadian parliamentarians for their continued support of Ukraine and especially for the emergency debate in the House of Commons during the critical period of the Maidan revolution in human dignity. We heard your voice, and this voice was very important for us. Our great achievement and our victory happened because of your support.


Thank you very much indeed for the work of the House of Commons foreign affairs committee on Ukraine and for the election observation mission, which helped to ensure that the will of the Ukrainian people was respected. You sent 500 observers, the biggest mission ever to come to a presidential election to confirm that it was true, free, and fair. It helped us to establish a new authority in Ukraine. Thank you.


We are waiting for your October 26 mission on the parliamentary election because we are determined to demonstrate that this election will also be free and fair.


Thank you for the many visits by the parliamentary interns, and for your visit, Mr. Prime Minister, at the inaugural ceremony. In the same way that Canada recognized our independence, you recognized the results of the presidential election. That was crucially important for us. In difficult times, you are always with us.






14:31 (5)


…    Also, I want to thank the Minister of Foreign Affairs, John Baird, for his support of Ukraine, during the Maidan especially.


I have a long list of thanks, believe me. From my heart, thank you very much. We really feel the strong support of Canadians not only in difficult times, but I am sure when we have peace and we stop the war by integrated and coordinated efforts of all the nations of the world. Canada helps us to keep the world united and Canada can help us to demonstrate to the whole world its strong solidarity with Ukraine. Thank you very much, Canada.


Without this support provided by the Government of Canada, by all parliamentarians, and by the Ukrainian Canadian community under the leadership of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, it would be much harder for Ukraine to face the challenges of today. No other leaders or nations, I mean no one, with the possible exception of Poland, was so straightforward and earnest when sending a signal across the world to the Russians and the rest of the world that fighting a nation which is trying to chart its own path is just conceptually wrong.


It is arming rebels with advanced anti-aircraft missiles, providing them with operators, intelligence, and in-flight data. Those who were equipped, trained and financed by Russia executed a terror attack, shooting down the civilians on flight MH17, killing 298 innocent lives of the Netherlands, Malaysia, Australia, and many other nations, including Canadian citizen Andrei Anghel. I think that the war in eastern Ukraine is a war against terror, our common war. I have no doubt of that.


With your support and with the support of the global community, we will win this struggle and fulfill the dreams of many Ukrainians in our homeland and across the world. Ukraine will be strong and independent, a very important European nation.


Yesterday was one of the most important days in the history of Ukraine. Thee Verkhovna Rada ratified the European Union-Ukraine Association agreement. Do you know what my feeling was yesterday when I was standing in front of the Ukrainian parliament presenting this association agreement, coordinated and synchronized with the European parliament? It was that it was the last farewell from Ukraine to the Soviet Union. That was a Rubicon that Ukraine crossed and we never ever will turn back to our awful past.


I strongly believe that our values, our freedom, our democracy, our European future, including a membership perspective, is possible and reachable for the Ukrainian nation. Why? Because the Ukrainian nation has passed one of the most important tests during the last five months and maybe paid the highest price for being European. That is why we demand providing reform, defending democracy, defending freedom, from a membership perspective, in the European Union.






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…    Implementation of the agreement will not only harmonize Ukraine’s trade and customs rules with European Union standards but will help my country draw closer to democratic norms and a market-oriented economy.


At the Wales NATO summit, I declared my country’s desire to move closer to NATO and to gain the status of a major non-NATO ally. I really count on your support on this.


All allies have strongly condemned Russia’s aggression in Ukraine, the illegal annexation of Crimea, and stand ready to support territorial integrity and sovereignty in Ukraine within the internationally recognized borders, as the Canadian government, the Canadian Prime Minister, and the Canadian people are strongly doing.


I am thankful to Canada. Your country was one of the strongest supporters of Ukraine at the summit and committed to provide more than $1 million to the NATO trust fund. It will help Ukraine build its command, control, communications, and computer capabilities.


Dear friends, let us look beyond the crisis and war. Let us think of how to enhance the special partnership between Ukraine and Canada. This is why I am here. I am convinced that we need to pay more attention to bilateral co-operation and such spheres as energy, trade, investment, information, air space, and many other technologies.


In co-operation with Canada, we hope to accomplish the ambitious project of consolidating Ukraine’s informational space by launching the telecommunications satellite built by a Canadian company. We will finally be able to provide all of our regions with reliable and trustworthy information and export telecommunications services. There should be more projects like this.


I hope that both negotiation teams have translated our firm signal, the Prime Minister’s and mine, and the next time we see each other we will have a Ukraine-Canada free trade agreement to sign.


Having said that, I cannot help but mention one particular program that played a significant role in enhancing our people-to-people contact. I am talking about the Canada-Ukraine parliamentary program. During the years of independence, CUPP has hosted over a thousand students from Ukraine who were able to work as interns right here in the Canadian Parliament and help us build Ukrainian democracy. Welcome back, dear colleagues.


I also want to thank the Canadian Parliament and the Ukrainian diaspora for helping us breed the new generation of new Ukrainian democratic and free leaders.


Mr. Prime Minister, I remember you mentioned that Canada is probably the most Ukrainian nation outside of Ukraine itself. You know what? This is absolutely true. Let me reciprocate. There are great European nations that stood as the source of the foundation of modern Canada. Canada has friends all over the globe, and the closest one is next to it. However, I doubt that you will find another nation that would say so sincerely what I say about you: Ukraine is probably the most Canadian nation after Canada itself.






14:41 (7)


…    Exactly this feeling I felt today during my meeting with many Canadians. Thank you for all of that.


Let me refer to the words of Winston Churchill, who truly loved your country and visited it seven times from 1900 to 1954. We recall him as a brave leader who confronted the Nazi aggression with courage.


In the summer of 1929, he wrote this from Canada to his wife:


Darling I am greatly attracted to this country.…I am profoundly touched; & I intend to devote my strength to interpreting Canada to our people….




I have the same feeling, believe me. Unfortunately, I will not write these words to my wife since she sits here with me today. I will simply tell her these words.


Please let me quote Churchill once again. He said:


I love coming to Canada….God bless your Country.




Thank you very much indeed. Merci. Diakouyou. Slava Ukraini.




Hon. Noël A. Kinsella (Speaker of the Senate, House of Commons)    Hon. Noël A. Kinsella (Speaker of the Senate, House of Commons): Mr. Speaker, Your Excellency President Poroshenko, vitannya.


Prime Minister, honourable senators, members of the House of Commons, mesdames et messieurs, on behalf of all parliamentarians and all gathered here this afternoon I have the honour, Mr. President, to thank you for addressing this joint session of the Parliament of Canada. Your important words have been clear and stress that you are among friends.


We have taken note of the significant challenges currently facing the peoples of Ukraine. We thank you for your leadership and courage that you are bringing to securing peace, order and good government in your beautiful country.


Monsieur le président, monsieur le premier ministre, nous avons pris bonne note des importants défis auxquels sont confrontés les peuples de l’Ukraine à l’heure actuelle. Nous vous remercions, Votre Excellence, de votre leadership et de votre courage quand vous assurez la paix, l’ordre et une bonne gouvernance dans votre magnifique pays.


Canadians appreciate your leadership and fortitude as Ukraine addresses current challenges. We support your efforts to realize a successful resolution based on the solid foundation of human rights and democratic values.


Colleagues, Mr. President, Prime Minister, among the many images that adorn the chamber of the Senate of Canada is one of St. Andrew the Apostle, who is of course the Patron Saint of Ukraine. Indeed it was St. Andrew who prophesied in the year 55 A.D. that a great people would build a successful civilization along the banks of the River Dnipro. Notwithstanding the ebb and flow of the tides of history, the peoples of Ukraine continue to fulfill the prophecy of your patron saint.


Thank you, President Poroshenko, for sharing with us Your Excellency’s view of the road ahead. Please be assured of the solidarity of the peoples of Canada on your journey forward.


To Your Excellency and to the peoples of Ukraine we wish you godspeed. Thank you for your presence and address to the Parliament of Canada.




L’hon. Andrew Scheer (président de la Chambre des communes, PCC)    L’hon. Andrew Scheer (président de la Chambre des communes, PCC): Monsieur le président Poroshenko, monsieur le premier ministre, monsieur le Président du Sénat, collègues parlementaires, distingués invités, mesdames et messieurs,


[Le Président de la Chambre des communes s’exprime en ukrainien.]


Au nom de tous les députés et de toutes les personnes rassemblés ici, à la Chambre des communes, je souhaite la bienvenue au président Poroshenko et le remercie de prendre la parole devant nous, aujourd’hui.






14:48 (8)


…    It is a rare and special occurrence when heads of state or foreign dignitaries address a joint session of our Parliament and, even rarer still, to have a joint address during world events such as we are witnessing today. Your inspirational words are given even greater historical significance when we consider the current situation facing Ukraine.


As has already been mentioned, the links between our two great countries are well known and they run deep. Ukrainians have made their mark in many areas across Canada, from vibrant communities and our large cities to enclaves across the Prairies. Their contribution to Canada’s social fabric has been profound.


Les liens qui existent entre les citoyens de nos deux pays contribuent à nous rapprocher et ce qui renforce nos liens d’amitié, surtout depuis 1991, ce sont nos positions de principes communs envers la démocratie, les droits de la personne et la primauté du droit.


For those of us who were fortunate enough to be sitting as members of Parliament when His Excellency President Viktor Yushchenko addressed the chamber in May of 2008, we will recall that he observed that in the previous 90 years Ukraine had declared its independence six times. He said that he did not want the range of historic tragedies to be repeated in today’s history of Ukraine. What President Yushchenko then described in what may have been more abstract or theoretical terms has become all too real today.


Canadian parliamentarians have followed closely as recent events have unfolded in your country and have been inspired by the courage and perseverance that has been repeatedly demonstrated by Ukrainians in recent months. This Parliament has expressed its resolute support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and for the Ukrainian people and their determination to realize a free, democratic, peaceful and prosperous future.


While there are, no doubt, many challenges and uncertainties for your country and its people, one thing that is certain, however, is that this Parliament and Canadians across the country are watching closely and stand united in support of Ukraine.


Thank you; merci; slava Ukraini.



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