Politics

Feds will spend $1.5M to raise awareness of Ukraine famine known as Holodomor

The federal government will spend $1.5 million to sponsor a cross-country project to raise awareness of the Ukrainian famine of the 1930s, known as the Holodomor.

Money to go to Canada Ukraine Foundation for cross-country tour

A woman holds a candle during a commemoration ceremony at a monument for Holodomor victims, in Kiev November 22, 2014. The government is providing $1.5 million to the Canada Ukraine Foundation to raise awareness of the famine through a cross-country tour. (Gleb Garanich/Reuters)

The federal government will spend $1.5 million to sponsor a cross-country project to raise awareness of the Ukrainian famine of the 1930s, known as the Holodomor.

The money will go to the Canada Ukraine Foundation, which will run the tour. The educational program is expected to start this spring.

The government says the project will teach people — including thousands of students — about the Holodomor, a state-sponsored famine in 1932-33 in which millions starved while resisting Soviet collectivist policies.

In 2008, the Harper government officially recognized the famine as an act of genocide.

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney says remembrance is important.

"It is by remembering the tragedies and atrocities of the past that we can equip ourselves to prevent them from happening again," Kenney said in a statement.

There are about 1.2 million Canadians of Ukrainian origin and the Harper government has long courted them -- not just with recognition of the Holodomor, but also with strong support for Ukraine in its confrontation with Russia.

Legislation passed by the House of Commons in 2008 designates the fourth Saturday in November as Holodomor Memorial Day.