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Secondary School Teacher

Date and Place of Birth: March 6, 1940 in Toronto, Canada

Date of Interview: December 8 and 10, 2015

Place of Interview: Toronto, Ontario

Interviewer: Olena Wawryshyn

Length of Interview: 02:20:09 (raw)


Michael Wawryshyn: What are some of the things we got involved in? During that time this was the Bi and Bi Commission [Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism] which examined the current state of Confederation in the early 60s, which brought about multiculturalism, not the multicultural we're talking about now, but that whole concept was born at that time. And in fact we coined the word. We had all of our associations right across the country, at that time I guess it was about 15, 16, very, very active in this particular regard. We decided that we wanted to go for ... that Bi and Bi thing what it did was it really re-invigorated the Ukrainian community, because what happened was that when the initial terms of reference came out it talked about the state of bilingualism and biculturalism in Canada and completely left out everyone else. And they said, what the hell? I mean like, who are we? Don't we belong in this country, etc, etc. And this fired up the whole community from top to bottom. So we said we gotta tackle this thing. And thank God that one of the commissioners of this Royal Commission struck by the federal government was Prof. Rudnytsky from the University of Manitoba [Dr. Ivan Lysiak-Rudnytsky of the University of Alberta], he wrote a dissenting – when the 4 volumes report came out on the state of bilingualism and biculturalism in Canada, he wrote a dissenting book where he said that the country is not bicultural, it could be bilingual, but that it’s multicultural and that it includes all kinds of other people starting off with the indigenous people, etc. In fact this helped to fire up other groups in Canada as well, including the native groups. So anyway this was a really major thrust. And out of that came things like...because of the fired-up nature and the competence of the people that joined up, and these were some of the most competent Canadians, period. I mean when you get people involved like deans of law schools and university professors and high politicians of all stripes etc., you really have something to work with.

Out of that too, sprung things like the renewal of the bilingual school system in Western Canada, Ukrainian-English schools. Because this invigoration really invigorated people to go more and more into politics and start pushing for things that would enhance the Ukrainian community. We went after things like Chairs of Ukrainian Studies, which was set up at that time at the University of Toronto. Things like, I mentioned the bilingual schools, but the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies [CIUS] was born at this time. The outdoor museum of Ukrainian pioneers. That was part of this movement. The Encyclopedia, the concise Ukrainian Encyclopedia in English, that was taken on by our Federation [Ukrainian Canadian Professional and Business Federation (UCPBF)] and we financed that and made sure that it was translated and eventually published. All kinds of things like this that we felt were extremely necessary and weren't being done by anybody, so the P's-and-B's [UCPBF] took this on.


Zariczniak, Larysa, "Independence Day in Centennial Park / День незалежности у Centennial Park," New Pathway, 29 Aug. 2014, Web.

excerpt from the Interview with MICHAEL WAWRYSHYN

The interviews can be accessed at the UCRDC. Please contact us at: office@ucrdc.org