Mr. Speaker, 15 years ago, Ukrainians overwhelmingly chose to return to the status of an independent nation. The day after its referendum, Canada and Poland became the first two countries to recognize the newly sovereign Ukraine.
Today the Canada-Ukraine Parliamentary Friendship Group is hosting a reception celebrating this monumental achievement that brought with it the rebirth of democracy in Ukraine. We will also celebrate the ties that bind Canada, Ukraine and Poland. Two million Canadians owe their heritage to Ukraine and Poland.
Since laying the foundations of democracy in those early years, people of Ukraine have surely and steadily strengthened their institutions of democracy. Canada will continue to be supportive of all people who strive to achieve freedoms that are brought about by their desire for democracy.
I wish to congratulate the people of Ukraine for their great accomplishment 15 years ago and for their continued determination to embrace their future within the world of democratic nations.