Surrey-Whalley MLA Bruce Ralston honoured victims of Holodomor — the genocide and famine in Ukraine in 1932-33 — during a special ceremony Sunday afternoon at St. Mary’s Ukrainian Centre at 13512 108th Ave. in Whalley.
“For generations, British Columbians of Ukrainian descent have helped to build this province culturally, economically and politically,” said Ralston, B.C.’s minister of jobs, trade and technology. “Their families have lived with the horrors of Holodomor and will never forget them. I ask every British Columbian to join me in commemorating the victims of this tragic event so we can ensure nothing like it ever happens again.”
|Surrey-Whalley MLA Bruce Ralston|
Holodomor — or death by hunger, in Ukrainian — saw millions of Ukrainians starve in 1932-33 resulting from Soviet policies including collectivization of agriculture and brutal grain quotas imposed by Joseph Stalin. As many as 10 million died, roughly one third of them children. When the grain quotas could not be met, the remainder was confiscated by the state. The seizure of land and crops resulted in widespread starvation.
The provincial government has proclaimed Nov. 25, 2017 as Holodomor Memorial Day in B.C. The memorial day is honoured each November.
The Ukrainian Orthodox Church of St. Mary, at 10765- 135A St. neighbouring the centre, is located on land purchased for $700 on Feb. 11, 1947 by farmer Bruce Burroughs and the local Ukrainian community then raised $3,500 to build the church, which was completed in 1955.
A Holodomor commemoration was also held on Parliament Hill on Nov. 20 to mark the 84th anniversary of the famine and genocide. To learn more about this tragedy in Ukrainian history, check out the Holodomor National Awareness Tour Mobile Classroom at holodomortour.ca