UKRAINIAN-CANADIANS IN "CANADIANS ALL" PROGRAM
C.B.C - February 20, 1941
CAPTAIN M. SYROTUCK'S SPEECH
I am certain that all Canadian of Ukrainian descent heartily appreciate the opportunity given them to express themselves and be heard throughout the breadth of this nation.
It is not without pride that I find myself speaking for my fellow Ukrainians.
When my people came to Canada they found rolling plains and prairies, alternations of cold and heat, and an agricultural life similar to that which they had left in the old land. But they also found differences. They had to learn a new language - a difficult task for those who came late in life. They found new customs and, above all, they found liberty far greater than they had dreamed of. They found a voice in the affairs of the Dominion, the Province, the Municipality and the local school - freedom to travel from coast to coast, security of the home, and opportunity of gaining individual independence. Their children were privileged no less, being free to avail themselves of the facilities which the Canadian institution of learning offered them, in order to cultivate their minds and bodies. All in all, Canada has offered the Ukrainian a haven in which a sound cultural development is not only possible, but encouraged. They are even free to preserve the traditions and customs which they have brought with them.
This freedom of thought, expression and action is appreciated far more by Canadian-Ukrainian people than it is by the Anglo-Saxon and French-Canadian majority who take their liberty for granted and who have not experienced the oppression that existed, and still exists, in Central Europe. The younger generations who have heard of that oppression from the elders are no less grateful for this freedom than their fathers.
No wonder, then, that their enlistments in the Canadian Active Service Force are proportionately far higher than their population. They are will represented in all branches of the service.
The spirit of the Cossacks who, in the older days of Ukrainian history, inspired Europe with deeds of bravery and sacrifice in defending their homes and liberty, lives not only in those Ukrainians who today are serving the forces, but also in those who are eagerly awaiting an opportunity to join the colours, to maintain the ideals which Canada and the whole British Commonwealth is struggling to preserve. When the call came, the Ukrainians were not found wanting; they answered in large numbers. That they will give a good account of themselves, I have no doubt.
The Ukrainians of Canada are, first of all, Canadians. True enough, the older generation is connected by family and of traditional ties to the country of their birth. This is inevitable, but now their only allegiance and that of their children is to Canada and the Empire. From the people of my race, Canada and the Empire can expect loyalty, devotion and co-operation, the more so in times of distress.
All that is required to strengthen this feeling of loyalty, devotion and co-operation is a deeper and more sympathetic understanding among Anglo-Saxon, French-Canadian and Ukrainian races.
In conclusion, may I state, on behalf of those whom I represent, that we are and will remain good and staunch Canadians, eager to do our best for Canada and the Empire.