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Deron Bilous honored with Michael Luchkovich Award

Sep 4, 2023 | News, Canada, Featured

Deron Bilous (left) is presented with the Michael Luchkovich Award by UCC-APC President Orysia Boychuk. Photo: Marco Levytsky

NP-UN Western Bureau

Former Minister of Economic Development and Trade of Alberta and MLA Deron Bilous was honored with the Michael Luchkovich Award at the 2023 Ukrainian Day held at the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village, on August 20.

Since 1986, the Ukrainian Canadian Congress – Alberta Provincial Council has honoured individuals who have previously been elected officials with the Michael Luchkovich Award for their significant contribution and dedication to the betterment of all Canadians. The award is presented annually by the UCC-APC President.

In accepting the award, Bilous said he was honored to serve in the company of previous recipients, like former Speaker of the Alberta Legislature and Cabinet Minister (the late) Gene Zwozdesky and MLA Genia Leskiw.

Bilous was born in Edmonton in 1975. His grandfather immigrated to Canada from Ukraine in the 1920s. He grew up in a proudly Ukrainian home, attended St. Martin Ukrainian Bilingual Catholic school and was part of the Ukrainian dance group at St. Basil’s.

After attaining a Bachelor of Education from the University of Alberta, he taught and mentored students at Edmonton’s Inner City High School. And like Luchkowich (who was a teacher before serving in Parliament), Deron then served as a Member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta, representing the riding of Edmonton-Beverly-Clareview, between 2012 and 2023.

In 2015, he was named to the cabinet as Minister of Municipal Affairs and the Minister in Charge of Service Alberta and later that year, his position changed to Minister of Economic Development and Trade. He also was named Deputy Government House Leader.

Deron is proud of his heritage and during his 11 years in office was always available to support Ukrainian and Ukrainian-Canadian causes, even assisting those who have come over from Ukraine.

For many years, Deron participated the annual Holodomor Recognition Services at the Alberta Legislature and has spoken in support of Ukraine and its peoples whenever possible. He has advocated for support from the Government of Alberta during his time in opposition and Government – from enhancing partnerships, growing trade, strengthening programs to support newcomers, increasing aid to Ukraine, or calling for on government to do more.

In 2016, Deron was part of a government which sponsored a bill declaring September 7th as the Ukrainian Canadian Heritage Day, which passed unanimously through first, second and third readings. Fewer than 10 Bills have ever passed all three readings in one day in the history of the province.

Deron also led a trade mission to Ukraine in 2017 – the first in many years for Alberta – which renewed sister province Memorandum of Understandings with Ivano-Frankisvk and Lviv Oblasts and brought dozens of Alberta businesses to Ukraine, strengthening trade and business opportunities between the two countries, and promoting the new Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement.

Deron was extremely proud to work with the Ukrainian Ambassador to Canada, the Ukrainian Canadian Congress- Alberta Provincial Council and the federal government to open the first Ukrainian Consulate in Western Canada in Edmonton in 2018.

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