UCCLA, For Immediate Release - 1 January 2007 (Ottawa)
A five-metre high statue of the bard of Ukraine, Taras Shevchenko, erected near Palermo, Ont., a 1951 gift to the pro-Communist Association of United Ukrainian Canadians from the Kyiv-based Soviet Ukrainian Society for Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries, has been reported stolen, apparently for its scrap metal value.
Commenting on this theft, the director of research for the Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Association, Dr. Lubomyr Luciuk, said:
"While it it true that Ukrainians everywhere honour Ukraine's greatest poet, Taras Shevchenko, the statue stolen from Palermo was unveiled by the Soviets and fellow travellers in Canada as a propaganda exercise. It was denounced as such at the time and has been remembered for what it was, ever since. No self-respecting Ukrainian Canadian would ever have anything to do with it. So, by all means, catch and prosecute the thieves, but let's not whitewash the bandits who hid behind this statue in the first place.
"What is more shocking is that trilingual bronze plaques recalling the only Ukrainian Canadian First World War Victoria Cross recipient, Cpl. Filip Konowal, were stolen from The Royal Westminster Regiment's armoury in British Columbia and, sometime this past November, from the facade of Branch #360 of The Royal Canadian Legion, in Toronto, without any media attention at all. No citizen should be indifferent to the utter lack of respect shown by those who stole plaques commemorating a Canadian veteran and war hero and, in fact, honouring all of the men and women who fought for our freedom in the world wars."