NP-UN Western Bureau.
The Government of Alberta will not be providing direct aid to Ukraine as did the previous administration of Premier Jason Kenney says Premier Danielle Smith.
Instead it will be focusing its support on newcomers already here, she said during a roundtable with multicultural media, August 28.
“No. We’re going to support Ukrainian evacuees as they arrive here because that’s where we have the expertise in making sure that young people are able to get into school, that we have Ukrainian language learners who were taken care of and that we can help to resettle and retrain… I leave international affairs to the federal government to be able to address,” she said in response to a question from New Pathway – Ukrainian News Western Bureau Chief Marco Levytsky.
He had asked whether she would make similar donations to those made by here predecessor Jason Kenney.
On October 4, 2022, just before he stepped down as premier, Kenny committed $10 million to frontline humanitarian efforts. The funding went to the Ukrainian World Congress, the global voice for Ukrainian people worldwide, for the Unite with Ukraine campaign. This brought Alberta’s total contribution to Ukrainian relief at that point in time to more than $23 million.
Two other Ukrainian journalists also took part in the roundtable at which each participant was allowed one question. Yulianna Voloshyna, who represented NP-UN and the Ukrainian Program on World FM, asked about support for senior and disabled evacuees.
Smith replied that she has reappointed Jackie Armstrong Homeniuk as the parliamentary secretary for settlement and “asked her to continue telling me whether there are pressure points that we need to be able to address.”
“She has not raised this in particular with me or any particular solutions to it. So, I’ll have to circle back to her to see whether there are any additional programs that need to come forward, “she said adding she will check with Jason Nixon, Minister of Seniors, Community and Social Services, and has his staff follow up.
Subsequently Heather Barlow, Press Secretary for the Office of the Minister of Seniors, Community and Social Services sent an email noting that Ukrainian evacuees with limited assets and resources, including seniors and those with disabilities, may be eligible for one-time emergency benefits or monthly benefits through the Ukrainian Evacuee Emergency Financial Support and Benefits program. To qualify for this program, individuals and households must:
• live in Alberta;
• be approved under the federal Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel;
• be unable to pay for basic needs; and
• not have income or assets exceeding program eligibility requirements.
“Alberta also provides temporary emergency accommodations to Ukrainian evacuees who have no other place to stay upon arriving in Alberta. Ukrainian evacuees can apply for the same social housing and rent supplement programs as other Albertans,” she added.
Noting that 2023 marks the 90th anniversary of the Holodomor, Lidia Wasylyn asked the Premier “would your government assist the Ukrainian community to commemorate this monumental historical tragedy by making provision for additional educational resources to be dedicated to this task and for special educational materials/lectures/programs to be prepared for junior and/or senior high school students?”
Smith replied: I think this is a perfect time for you to be raising this question with the education minister because that is exactly what we are trying to do in redoing our curriculum to make sure that we have age appropriate introduction to some of the historical events that have occurred and also to make sure that every community that is represented in Alberta feels like they’re represented in the curriculum… so if it needs to be more work that is done to bring it into the curriculum this next year of consultation would be the time to make sure the minister is aware of that.”