(E) Canadian Member of Parliament Borys Wrzesnewskyj to the Canadian-Croatian Chamber
Remarks by Canadian Member of Parliament Borys Wrzesnewskyj
to the Canadian-Croatian Chamber
(from left to right):
Kitchener City Councillor Berry Vrbanovic (past president of Queen Helena Croatian Folklore Group), former three-term Member of Parliament for Cambridge Janko Peric, Associate Critic for Foreign Affairs and Member of Parliament for Etobicoke Centre Borys Wrzesnewskyj, and the President of the Canadian-Croatian Chamber of Commerce John Marion.
M.P. Borys Wrzesnewskyj addresses business awards ceremony of the Canadian-Croatian Chamber of Commerce
Ottawa - Borys Wrzesnewskyj, Member of Parliament for Etobicoke Centre and the Associate Critic for Foreign Affairs addressed the 4th Annual Business Excellence Awards ceremony of the Canadian-Croatian Chamber of Commerce on April, 21, 2006. In his speech, Wrzesnewskyj underscored the contributions of Croatians to Canada, including those who served in the Canadian armed forces during World War II:
'Dobra vecer dragi prijatelji Hrvati i Hrvatice! I'd like to begin by thanking John Marion, the President of the Canadian-Croatian Chamber of Commerce, for inviting me to be here today.
Ever since the Croatian metallurgical expert Master Jacques, or should I say 'strucnjak Jakov', accompanied Samuel de Champlain on his voyage to our country's shores in the early 17th century, the presence of Croatians in their new homeland of Canada has steadily increased.
The Croatian community and the Ukrainian community, of which I'm a part, share similar experiences here in Canada. Both started arriving in larger numbers at the close of the 19h and beginning of the 20th centuries. The hearty Croatian Licani, from whom my Parliamentary colleague Lynn Yelich, M.P. draws her ancestry, were part of the block settlement in Kenaston, Saskatchewan, just like the tens of thousands of Ukrainians who settled the prairie provinces.
Since that time Croatian-Canadians, like Ukrainian-Canadians, have experienced both heartache and hardship, including the sad chapter of Canadian history when members of both communities were forced behind barbed wire and into hard labour during Canada's first national internment operation.
But today, we are not here to speak about the sad episodes, but to showcase the exceptional contributions of members of your community to the mosaic of our great nation.
And your community has much to be proud of. Croatian Canadians like Navy Captain Marijan Zadrijevac, Air Force officer Nikola Zunic, Navy officer Anton Milos, and some 27 others from Kenaston alone, served in Canada's armed forces during World War II. Larry Dosen, currently at the national office of The Royal Canadian Legion, is a retired Brigadier-General. And with sport legends like George Chuvalo, Senator Frank Mahovlich and his brother Pete, Marty and Matt Pavelich, and Sandra and Val Bezic, you have shown that you are an integral part of Canada. Each day, hundreds of visitors to our nation's capital walk past the World War I memorial at Lyon and Wellington streets that was carved by renowned Croatian sculptor Ivan Mestrovic.
I am pleased to see that Janko Peric, one of the moving forces behind the establishment of the Chamber back in 1995, is here with us today. I look forward to working with your community to build on the legacy Janko established as a successful three-term Member of Parliament and the first ever Croatian-born Canadian MP.
Back in 1988, members of your community, led by many of your most successful business leaders, came together and raised a million dollars to establish the Chair of Croatian Language and Culture at the University of Waterloo. And during the very difficult period of the early 1990s when you were forced to watch the daily destruction of villages, towns and cities where many of you were born, grew up in, or where you had family members who became refugees overnight, your community came together like never before. You placed aside your generational and ideological differences and undertook tremendous initiatives to provide humanitarian assistance in the form of food, clothing, medicine, and badly needed medical equipment.
I'd like to congratulate the Chamber on its ongoing success in supporting members of your business community and fostering deeper Canada-Croatia economic ties. This is essential given that we live in a world that's become a global village. However, as you look forward, I'd also encourage the Chamber to continue playing a leadership role in supporting the educational, cultural, and promotional efforts of the Croatian community in Canada. By building and nurturing these institutions for your community, you will also strengthen the fabric of the mosaic we know as Canada.
Cestitam clanovima komore na dosadasnjem radu i zelim sve najbolje u buducem razvoju vaseg programa. Hvala vam!'
Borys Wrzesnewskyj, is the Liberal Member of Parliament for the Toronto riding of Etobicoke Centre, Associate Critic for Foreign Affairs, and Treasurer of the Canada Croatia Parliamentary Friendship Group. He has served as a member of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Public Accounts, the Standing Committee on Transport, the Standing Committee on Justice, Human Rights, Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, and the Special Liberal Caucus Committees on Immigration and Global Affairs. Since his university days Wrzesnewskyj has been keenly interested in the promotion of civil and human rights, and has dedicated much of his life to promoting tolerance and assisting various communities in a number of humanitarian causes both in Canada and abroad. In the late 1980s to 1991 he worked with former Soviet political prisoners to help establish democratic fronts in the former Soviet Union. Throughout the recent crisis in Ukraine, Wrzesnewskyj worked tirelessly to reach all-party consensus in Canada's Parliament to support the struggle for democracy in Ukraine. In 2004 he spearheaded a unanimously accepted House of Commons motion on October 26, an emergency debate on November 24, and another unanimously accepted motion on November 25. He was instrumental in securing the Government of Canada's commitment to send 500 election observers to Ukraine for the December 2004 Presidential election. In 2005 he personally organized and financed Canadian Parliamentary fact-finding missions to Somalia and Darfur, Sudan.
Please find below the remarks by Canadian Member of Parliament Borys Wrzesnewskyj to the Canadian-Croatian Chamber of Commerce. Also included is a photograph from the event. I'm sending this your way because I thought your readership would be interested in the speech. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me.
Borys Wrzesnewskyj, M.P.
Associate Critic for Foreign Affairs
(613) 947-5000 tel.