Clarification with Multiculturalism Canada

December 28, 2000

Ms. Marcelle Gibson
Project Officer
Canadian Heritage
15 Eddy Street
Hull, PQ K1A 0M5

Dear Ms. Gibson,

In response to your letter of December 6, 2000, our subsequent discussion, and for the record I wish to reiterate several points regarding our initial submission for funding the national consultation on issues: The Canadian Issues Roundtable; held in Ottawa September 14-15, and during March-May in such key cities  as Toronto, Winnipeg, Edmonton and Vancouver.

•Our first submission seeking funding from the Multiculturalism Program for the national issues consultation initiative was sent and discussed with the Multiculturalism Program in the first quarter of 2000
•A subsequent submission was sent sometimes in the late spring/ early summer; many weeks were spent preparing this lengthy, some 30 pages, submission
•Our discussion with you did not lead us to believe that there was any reason to doubt that it would have favourable consideration; had there been we would have moved to more responsive pursuits
• We heard only a few working days before the September 14 event that funding would not be forthcoming
• The reason given was a "days old" policy shift in Multiculturalism requiring all monies to be directed to the World Conference on Fighting Racial Discrimination in South Africa
• You indicated that your management suggested that we re-introduce our submission in the context of the World Conference; a total shift of focus but one that we would consider after the Roundtable
• My calls to the Director, Barbara Levine and the Director General Karen Ginsberg were not returned
• Within two weeks of receiving documents dealing with the World Conference I called you to discuss and seek clarification; my call was not returned

The Ukrainian Canadian Professional and Business Federation is very unhappy with the way this matter was handled.  It is our view that we were not treated well, not by you specifically Ms Gibson, as you were but the instrument of more senior decisions, but by the Program.  The suggestion from your management in the eleventh hour that we rethink and resubmit our proposal in the context of the World Conference on Race in no way compensates for the total dismissal of the subject that, we feel, is central to Canada and its progress in nation-building.

As indicated to you, we are very much in favour of racial equality and for the equality of all Canadians. However, we do not feel that we were treated equally and will not be submitting a further request for funding at this time.  After this last experience we have lost confidence in the process.

However, we do have something to say about Canadian Multiculturalism which we feel is most important:  it is different from fighting racism and the two must not be confused.   We feel that the Multiculturalism Program is meant to serve the cultural identity needs of each Canadian in the relationship of Canada's own emerging culture.  It is our view that the Program is not responding to its mandate when it rejects Canadian diversity initiatives such as the UCPBF Roundtable.

I hope that we will be able to find a more receptive consideration of our efforts in the future.

With regards,

Oksana Bashuk Hepburn
Ukrainian Canadian Professional and Business Federation

Dr. Hedy Fry, Secretary of State for Multiculturalism
Mr. Eugene Czolij, President Ukrainian Canadian Congress
Ms.  Anna Chiappa, Executive Director, Canadian Ethnocultural Council