By Myroslava Stadnyk, Toronto
On October 26, 2014, parliamentary elections were held in Ukraine, while two voting stations were open in Canada, at the Embassy of Ukraine in Ottawa and at the Consulate General of Ukraine in Toronto.
As of the Monday, October 27, evening, the results from both stations in Canada were announced, while the total results were known only partially (81%). There were three notable differences between those results: 1) the leader in Canada (23%) was SAMOPOMICH party of the Lviv City mayor Andrij Sadovyj while totally it finished third with about 11% of the vote; 2) the Opposition Bloc, comprised of former Yanukovych supporters, received almost 10% totally and only 0.4% in Canada; and 3) Pravyj Sector was among the leaders in Canada with more than 15% while in the total results it received less than 2% (see page 12).
In Canada, 1,004 registered voters voted in Ottawa and Toronto. In Toronto, the process went uninterrupted. The voting station at the Consulate of Ukraine opened at 8 a.m. and voters began to cast their votes promptly. The voting was monitored by registered international and local observers. The elections committee was comprised of seventeen members.
The Acting Consul General, Liudmyla Davydovych, confirmed that the electoral process took place without any trouble, and that all of the procedures were properly followed. “People were able to cast their ballots freely, without having to wait a long time or in huge line ups,” Davydovych added. As well, the Acting Consul General confirmed that “…there were no complaints filed by voters at the polling station #900038 regarding the way the overall electoral process was handled.”
The official election observer from Poroshenko’s Bloc, Nataliya Shevchenko, also reported that Sunday’s elections proceeded fairly smoothly. “There were no violations or complaints noted,” Shevchenko stated. “We have received a great deal of positive feedback from voters.” She also added that she believed everyone was able to express their opinion freely by participating in elections, which resulted in good voter turnout.
In Toronto, the polling booths closed at 8 p.m. – having 750 voters visit the polling station. Nataliya Laptyeva, a member of the electoral committee, hoped more people would vote knowing that Ukraine currently needs support more than ever. “With a total of 4,993 people being registered to vote in Canada, only a portion of the registered Ukrainian citizens actually came to cast their ballots,” she said. At the last Ukrainian elections, in May 2014, when the current President of Ukraine was elected, the turnout at the Toronto voting station exceeded 1,000 people.
Laptyeva believes there are notable difficulties associated with how the polling stations were located. “A lot of people were unable to travel great distances – to either Ottawa or Toronto to participate in the elections, as these are the only two polling places set up in Canada,” she remarked. “A province, like Saskatchewan, for example, where many Ukrainians live, should also have a polling station.” Laptyeva stated that, “…more has to be done, as Canada has the largest Ukrainian community.”
Davydovych, The Acting Consul General in Toronto, stated that the Consulate General will continue working closely with members of the Ukrainian community. She encourages the public to come forward with any questions or suggestions. “In collaboration with the government of Ukraine, we are happy to assist, placing a greater emphasis on important issues – including having to accommodate Ukrainian citizens who have the right to vote.”
Davydovych thanked everyone who took part in the electoral process. The Acting Consul also expressed her appreciation to the observers and committee members – who enabled fair elections to be conducted in accordance with democratic standards.