Jason Kenney denounces ‘useful idiots’ amid uproar over university lecturer’s Holodomor denial

A very Kenney comment, and warranted:

A day after Ukrainian students vented their fury at a University of Alberta lecturer who called the Holodomor famine “a lie,” Alberta Premier Jason Kenney slammed the “useful idiots” who engage in genocide denial.

Dougal MacDonald, who is listed as a lecturer in the university’s education department, said on Facebook that the Holodomor was a myth perpetuated by the Nazis. His comments led the Ukrainian Students’ Society to call them “harmful and false beliefs” that are unacceptable for an employee of the university.

“Sad to see some in Canada still engaged in this genocide denial,” Kenney said on Twitter on Thursday morning although he didn’t mention MacDonald by name.

Kenney also posted a video of a speech he gave about Holodomor, which was a fierce condemnation of “Western, supposedly-progressive voices who were complicit in one of history’s great cover-ups.”

“These were the useful idiots of whom Lenin wrote. Westerners who purposefully lied about one of the great acts of mass murder in human history,” said Kenney.

The speech was delivered last week at a Holodomor commemoration in Calgary and the video was posted in full on Thursday morning as the scandal around MacDonald erupted.

MacDonald’s comments were originally reported by The Gateway, the student newspaper at the U of A, and MacDonald responded to the paper’s story with a statement decrying the “irrational assertions” and “defamation” directed at him.

The term Holodomor means “to kill by starvation” and refers to the famine in Ukraine that killed millions of people in 1932–33. The genocide has been recognized by the Canadian Parliament and provincial legislatures, including in Alberta.

In his Facebook post, which was archived online by the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, MacDonald describes the Holodomor as a myth perpetuated by the Nazis to discredit the Soviet Union.

“In Canada, former Nazi collaborators and their spawn have long led the phony Holodomor campaign,” wrote MacDonald.

The Ukrainian Canadian Congress urged its members to contact the university and demand the dismissal of MacDonald, even providing suggested text for an email to the school’s president.

“This is a stark reminder that, even in 2019, we cannot afford complacency in Holodomor education and awareness,” the organization’s website reads.

MacDonald was a candidate for the Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada in the 2019 federal election in the Edmonton-Strathcona riding, which NDP candidate Heather McPherson won. MacDonald tallied 77 votes. His banner photo on Facebook is an advertisement to subscribe to the Marxist-Leninist Party’s online bulletin and his profile picture is a photo of Fidel Castro. His photos on Facebook are a collection of historical leftist leaders, like former Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez, Che Guevara and former North Korean dictator Kim Il-sung, who MacDonald describes as a “great leader of the Korean people.”

Although the university did not respond to a request for comment before press time, it said in a statement to the Gateway that the university is “balancing many interests and obligations” while it is “carefully monitoring this matter.”

The university has a commitment to freedom of expression and academic freedom for its staff, which includes “the right to comment (and) to criticize without deference to prescribed doctrine.”

In responding to the Gateway’s questions, deputy provost Wendy Rogers noted that MacDonald was making the comments as a private citizen and that they did not reflect the university’s views.

“The University of Alberta actively fosters an inclusive culture committed to the expression of, exposure to, and debate of diverse points of view,” a draft statement on freedom of expression on the school’s website reads. “Our campuses are forums for rigorous debate.”

Source: Jason Kenney denounces ‘useful idiots’ amid uproar over university lecturer’s Holodomor denial

Minister Joly Launches the New Paul Yuzyk Youth Initiative for Multiculturalism – Canada.ca

Funny to see the Paul Yuzyk award relaunched under the Liberals.

The Conservatives launched it when I was the DG – Citizenship and Multiculturalism in 2009, largely in part to counter the prevailing narrative that multiculturalism originated with the Liberals as well as responding to wishes of the Ukrainian Canadian community.

Now the Liberals are trying to appropriate Yuzyk, a former Conservative senator. That being said, it is positive when governments adopt or appropriate other party programs that support integration.

This, along with the related initiative Holodomor National Awareness Tour 2017–2020, also demonstrate the influence and sophistication of the Ukrainian Canadian community, who worked closely with the previous government on such initiatives as the Historical Recognition Program, Holodomor recognition and foreign policy issues.

Text of press release follows:

Diversity is Canada’s strength. Our young leaders play a critical role in shaping our country’s future and fostering a stronger, more prosperous Canada, where everyone has the ability to reach their full potential.

Today, the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Minister responsible for Multiculturalism, announced the launch of the new Paul Yuzyk Youth Initiative for Multiculturalism. This annual funding initiative will award micro-grants of up to $1000 to dozens of young Canadians to fund projects that promote diversity and inclusion in their communities. This initiative will empower young leaders to make a positive impact on their communities, while addressing racism and discrimination. Canadian citizens or permanent residents aged 18 to 24 will be able to submit their applications online starting today, until April 20, 2018.

The new Paul Yuzyk Youth Initiative for Multiculturalism is in keeping with the Government of Canada’s commitment to promoting multiculturalism and strengthening our diverse communities, while working to eliminate discrimination, racism and prejudice in all its forms. The new initiative will honour the legacy of the late Senator Paul Yuzyk in developing and promoting Canadian multiculturalism by inspiring young leaders to continue advancing cultural understanding and inclusion in‎ communities across the country.

The initiative will be administered by Inter-Action, the Government of Canada’s multiculturalism grants and contributions program, which funds community engagement and development projects which promote intercultural understanding and equal opportunities for people of all cultures.

via Minister Joly Launches the New Paul Yuzyk Youth Initiative for Multiculturalism – Canada.ca

Press release on Holodomor National Awareness Tour:

Today, Arif Virani, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage (Multiculturalism) and Member of Parliament (Parkdale–High Park), announced that the Government of Canada is providing more than $1.4 million to the Canada-Ukraine Foundation in support of the Holodomor National Awareness Tour 2017–2020. Mr. Virani made this announcement on behalf of the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Minister responsible for Multiculturalism.

The ongoing Holodomor National Awareness Tour 2017–2020 has launched a Holodomor Mobile Classroom that tours the country both to raise awareness of the Holodomor and to promote tolerance and mutual understanding. This project is expected to reach 65,000 participants across the country.

The project is receiving $1,459,730 in total funding over three years through the Projects component of Inter-Action, the Government of Canada’s multiculturalism grants and contributions program. Inter-Action funds community engagement and development projects that promote intercultural understanding and equal opportunities for people of all cultures.

via Parliamentary Secretary Virani Announces $1.4 Million in Funding for the Holodomor National Awareness Tour – Canada.ca

Government of Canada proud to support Holodomor National Awareness Tour – Canada News Centre

Likely one of the larger grants under the program which has an annual funding envelope of about $8 million:

The Holodomor, otherwise known as the “terror-famine in Ukraine,” resulted in the deaths of millions of people in the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1932-1933. The famine was the direct result of a planned repression of the people of Ukraine for massively resisting the Stalinist state’s collectivization.

Canada became the first country to officially recognize the Holodomor genocide in 2008.

The Canada Ukraine Foundation will receive an investment of $1,459,728 from Citizenship and Immigration Canada for the cross-Canada tour. The project will educate Canadians of all ages and backgrounds on this tragic historical event and highlight the importance of our shared values of freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law.

The Tour, which is anticipated to begin in the spring of 2015, has also garnered support from organizations such as the Ukrainian Canadian Research and Documentation Centre, the Ukrainian Canadian Congress and the Holodomor Research and Education Consortium.

Government of Canada proud to support Holodomor National Awareness Tour – Canada News Centre.

As noted earlier, compares to $50,000 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Canadian flag (Feds to spend $50,000 for flag’s 50th birthday celebration). Perhaps an effort to smooth over some of the Ukrainian Canadian community criticisms over the Canadian Museum of Human Rights (Canadian Museum for Human Rights – More Dissent).

Feds to spend $50,000 for flag’s 50th birthday celebration

The historic scars of the debate over the Canadian flag still haunt the Conservatives, apparently (under Minister Kenney, the historic flags of Canada were often displayed along with the current flag).

And in contrast to the $1.5 million to commemorate the Holodomor, displaying yet again the political clout of the Ukrainian Canadian community:

The federal government has allotted $50,000 for celebrations for the upcoming 50th birthday of the iconic Maple Leaf flag.

As Maple Leaf approaches 50, some wonder: Where’s the party?

That’s compared to almost $4 million for a campaign marking the 200th anniversary of Sir John A. Macdonald’s birth, and $5.2 million spent on the bicentennial of the War of 1812.

Canadian Heritage said Thursday that the $50,000 includes funds for promotional material, a photo exhibit during Ottawa’s upcoming Winterlude festivities and various “outreach products.”

In an email, a spokesman also said the department has provided more than $200,000 to organizations, including provincial lieutenant-governors, for their 50th birthday projects.

By way of contrast, the government announced earlier this week it will spend $1.5 million on a cross-country project to raise awareness about the Holodomor, a state-sponsored famine in Ukraine in 1932-33 in which millions starved while resisting Soviet collectivist policies.

Feds to spend $50,000 for flag’s 50th birthday celebration – Politics – CBC News.