May 28 2008

On the eve of Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko's visit to Toronto,
the public school board is under pressure to include the Ukrainian
famine in a high school course on genocide.

The course will be offered next year to grade 11 students and will
focus on the Holocaust as well as the Armenian and Rwandan genocides.

Irene Mycak of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress says there's no reason
for the school board to exclude what Ukrainians call Holdomor from
the genocide course.

In 1932-33, the Soviet government under Josef Stalin systematically
starved and killed anywhere from three million to 10 million people
in Ukraine.

"All food stuff was literally removed from people's homes. Borders were
closed so no one could run elsewhere to look for food," said Mycak.

On Tuesday, while Yushchenko was on his first official trip to Canada,
Prime Minister Stephen Harper expressed support for a private member's
bill that would recognize the Ukrainian famine as an act of genocide.

Mycak is hoping that will help influence the Toronto District School

"Living in Canada, a country which promotes multiculturalism, we
believe that the way the course is structured, it defeats the entire
purpose of the Canadian mosaic," she said.

Darryl Robinson, a human rights lawyer who was on the independent
committee that reviewed the genocide course, recommended excluding
the Ukrainian famine.

Robinson says the recommendation was not politically motivated. "The
course already had three case studies. We thought it was better to go
in-depth with these three case studies. They're from three different
eras and three different regions."

Officials with the TDSB aren't commenting on the course until the
curriculum is finalized.

The board is holding a meeting next week to hear submissions from
Ukrainian supporters, as well as appeals from people of other ethnic