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Prime Minister Harper Welcomes Deployment of Canadian Election Observers to Ukraine

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Prime Minister of Canada Press Office, media release

Gatineau, Quebec  – October 19, 2012

Steven Harper

Prime Minister Stephen leaves the stage after delivering remarks at the Ukrainian Observer Mission Training Session at the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Gatineau, Que., Friday, Oct.19, 2012. Photograph by: Sean Kilpatrick, The Canadian Press

Prime Minister Stephen Harper today attended the launch of the Mission Canada-Ukraine Elections 2012 short-term observers’ training session at the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Gatineau, Quebec, where he addressed Canadian election observers preparing to monitor Ukraine’s parliamentary elections on October 28. The Prime Minister also announced that Senator Raynell Andreychuk will head Canada’s electoral observation mission. Having led a previous electoral observation mission to Ukraine in 2010, she has significant experience in this area and is also an active member of the Ukrainian Canadian community.

“The bonds of friendship between Canada and Ukraine are strong and deep, and we are proud to support Ukrainians in their aspirations for a peaceful, democratic and prosperous society,” said the Prime Minister. “On behalf of all Canadians, I would like to commend participants in this electoral observer mission and thank Senator Andreychuk for accepting this important role.”

On October 28, 2012, Ukraine will be holding parliamentary elections. Canada and the international community have identified these elections as a key benchmark for Ukraine’s democratic development, given growing concerns about Ukraine’s commitment to international standards of human rights, democracy and rule of law.  This includes ongoing concerns with the imprisonment of former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and other members of the opposition.

Canada is sending a total of 500 election observers to Ukraine: 420 of the observers will form part of Canada’s independent international observation mission, Mission Canada-Ukraine Elections 2012, and will be implemented by CANADEM.  The remaining 80 observers will participate as part of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly observation missions.

Canada has a long history of providing observers to elections around the globe.  Since 2004, Canada has sent observers to four previous Ukrainian elections. This fifth observer mission to Ukraine will be one of the largest deployments of observers that Canada has ever sent to monitor elections overseas.

This document is also available at http://pm.gc.ca

Backgrounder

Canada’s Support To The Electoral Process In Ukraine

The Government of Canada is committed to strengthening democracy, human rights and the rule of law in Ukraine.

On October 28, 2012, Ukraine will be holding parliamentary elections. Canada and the international community have identified these elections as a key benchmark for Ukraine’s democratic development, given growing concerns about Ukraine’s commitment to international standards of human rights, democracy and rule of law.

On October 19, 2012, Prime Minister Harper attended the launch of the Mission Canada-Ukraine Elections 2012 short-term observer mission at the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Gatineau, Quebec. During the launch, the Prime Minister announced that Senator Raynell Andreychuk will head Canada’s electoral observation mission. Having led a previous electoral observation mission to Ukraine in 2010, she has significant experience in this area, and is also an active member of the Ukrainian Canadian community.

Canada has a proud history of supporting the democratic process in Ukraine through electoral observation missions. Since 2004, Canada has sent observers to four sets of Ukrainian elections, including over 300 observers to monitor Ukraine’s 2010 presidential election.

This year, Canada is sending a total of 500 election observers to Ukraine: 420 of the observers will form part of Canada’s independent international observation mission, Mission Canada-Ukraine Elections 2012, and will be implemented by CANADEM.  The remaining 80 observers will participate as part of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly observation missions.

The $8.9 million cost for Canada’s observation of the elections will be jointly funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).

Canada has also contributed almost $2.5 million to a set of four local capacity-building initiatives in advance of the Ukrainian elections this fall. This includes three CIDA projects focused on raising voters’ awareness of electoral procedures, supporting local election monitoring and providing unbiased information on any instances of electoral fraud and misconduct. Additionally, the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade is funding a project aimed at increasing the transparency and efficiency of the State Voter List.

Mission Canada-Ukraine Elections 2012

Upon their arrival in Kyiv, Ukraine, election observers will receive three days of observer training. On election day, the observers will provide coverage of a representative sampling of Ukraine’s 33,540 polling stations.

The selection of candidates for election observation was administered by CANADEM in accordance with its established criteria. The criteria include previous experience as an election observer, work experience in Ukraine and/or the region, knowledge of the Ukrainian or Russian languages, professional background and domestic electoral experience.

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