The Viceregal Lion
  1. The Governor General of Canada
  2. Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette
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Visit to Ukraine - Statement

January 18, 2018

Statement by the Governor General of Canada in Lviv, Ukraine, 
in the Presence of President Petro Poroshenko 

LVIV—President Poroshenko – my sincere thanks for this warm welcome to your beautiful country. 

Canada and Ukraine have been friends and partners for many years. We were proud to be the first Western nation to recognize Ukraine’s independence in 1991. 

At the heart of our relationship are the 1.3 million individuals who comprise the vibrant Ukrainian-Canadian community in Canada – the second-largest Ukrainian population outside of Ukraine. 

Ukrainian-Canadians and their descendants have left a profound mark on the development of Canada and continue to make contributions in all aspects of Canadian life. Two of my Canadian astronaut colleagues have Ukrainian roots. And some of our most famous and talented hockey players have Ukrainian origins. Distinguished Canadians of Ukrainian descent have excelled as artists, authors and musicians and have occupied business and political positions at the highest echelons. In fact, one of my predecessors, the 24th governor general of Canada, the late Ray Hnatyshyn, was one of them. 

Canada has been at the forefront of the international community’s support for Ukraine, because our countries share important values that include respect for democracy, human rights and the rule of law. This is what we stand for as people, and this is why we work together as partners.  

I am here, Mr. President, to reiterate Canada’s commitment to your sovereignty, security and territorial integrity. Our country will remain a close ally, including this year as we preside over the G7 Group. 

In pursuit of this objective, working closely with Ukrainians, Canada will continue to:

  • provide loans and development assistance in support of institutional reforms and sustainable economic growth; 
  • extend humanitarian assistance to people affected by the conflict in eastern Ukraine; and 
  • support initiatives that help with conflict resolution, reduce corruption, and defend and promote human rights for all Ukrainians. 

To solidify our bilateral relations, we have recently signed the Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement to increase prosperity and create opportunities for businesses. 

And we are cooperating through our military in addressing security and defence challenges. Canada’s Operation UNIFIER, currently ongoing, provides tactical readiness and capacity building assistance to the Ukrainian Armed Forces. 

We are particularly grateful for this relationship, because we have been learning a lot from you. It is an honour to have the opportunity to reaffirm our friendship. 

I am looking forward, Mr. President, to visiting our troops with you this afternoon and to witnessing the close cooperation between members of our armed forces on the ground. 

May there be continued partnership between Canada and Ukraine for years to come. 

Julie Payette 


Media information

Josephine Laframboise
Rideau Hall Press Office
613-668-1929 (cell)


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