Toronto, August 9, 2012 — The Government of Canada is sending 500 observers to help monitor Ukraine's parliamentary elections in October. The announcement was made today by Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism; Bob Dechert, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs John Baird; Lois Brown, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Cooperation Julian Fantino and Ted Opitz, Member of Parliament for Etobicoke Centre.
"Canada has a long and proud history of providing observers to countries to help ensure free and fair elections," said Minister Kenney. "These elections are critical to a democratic and prosperous Ukraine. We are proud that Canadian election observers, many from the Ukrainian-Canadian community, will continue to stand by the people of Ukraine."
"This is a very important vote in Ukraine, and in recognition of our special relationship we are pleased to support this democratic process," said MP Opitz.
The Canadian mission will deploy 500 election observers. Most of those deployed, some 425 short-term observers, will provide effective coverage of a representative sample of polling stations on voting day. An additional 75 long-term observers will cover Ukraine's 25 regions and play a key role in the pre-election period.
"The Harper Government is committed to promoting human rights and democracy around the world," said Parliamentary Secretary Dechert. "Given international concerns about the deterioration of democratic conditions in Ukraine, it is especially important that Canada joins with international partners to assess the fairness and transparency of the elections."
"Canada is helping Ukrainians take greater leadership themselves, as we assist in monitoring the parliamentary elections, from campaign financing through to ensuring the results are fair and impartial," said Minister Fantino. "Only in a truly democratic environment can the people of Ukraine have access to real economic opportunities."
The deployment of Canadian election observers will help assess the credibility of the elections in Ukraine, including the important steps in the months leading up to the elections. It will also observe voting day conditions and procedures of the October 28, 2012, Ukrainian parliamentary election.
The Government of Canada is committed to strengthening democracy in Ukraine, and providing them assistance in achieving their own objectives of transparency and more accountable government.
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Office of the Minister of International Cooperation
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Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)