On October 6, the Leader of the Progressive Conservative Caucus of Ontario Patrick Brown held a reception at Queen’s Park Legislative Assembly for the Ukrainian-Canadian Community. The reception was also hosted by MPP John Yakabuski (Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke). More than 50 leaders of the Ukrainian community, along with several other high-ranking representatives of the Progressive Conservative Party (PC) and conservative candidate for Etobicoke Centre Ted Opitz attended the reception.
At the beginning of the reception, the Party's Outreach Advisor, Natalia Kusendova, addressed the gathering in fluent Ukrainian. In the English-language part of her address, she mentioned that Patrick Brown has established three priorities in his work as a PC leader: to facilitate creation of good transportation corridors in Ontario for people and products, of affordable energy rates for Ontario and cutting “red tape” as “with more than 350 regulations ‘red tape' is choking Ontario”.
In his speech, Patrick Brown thanked several prominent Ukrainian Canadians who helped him become the PC Leader: Borys Horodynsky (who he referred to as the biggest onion producer in Canada), Peter Proszanski of Himelfarb Proszanski, and two hockey hall-of-famers Dale Hawerchuk and Wayne Gretzky. Mr. Brown expressed his belief that Ukrainian Canadians share the PC Party values, namely, traditions, hard work and family values. He offered the Ukrainian community to build the Party together and nominate individuals as riding presidents, MPPs and future Cabinet Ministers.
According to the President of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress Paul Grod, who spoke at the reception, he and Patrick Brown have discussed several initiatives for Canada-Ukraine cooperation: trade and commercial relationships in aerospace, manufacturing, IT, mining, nuclear and other sectors between Ontario and Ukraine within the framework of the recently signed Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement; and the initiative to build a place of commemoration of the Holodomor “in a prominent spot somewhere near the Ontario Legislature”.
Later in the evening, in his interview for KONTAKT TV, Patrick Brown said that the idea to put a Holodomor monument in Queens Park is “long overdue” and that he supports putting a monument in the north side of Queens Park, the request for which has been submitted to the Ontario government.
Dancers from the Barvinok Dance Ensemble, who were dressed in the costumes from Central and Northern Ukraine, brought a touch of Ukrainian culture to the reception. The night ended with a traditional Ukrainian meal of holubtsi (cabbage rolls), perogies and salads, and a group photo.