ANNUAL UCC-APC MICHAEL LUCHKOVICH AWARD
Michael LUCHKOVICH was born in 1882 in Shamokin, where he received his first 10 years of education before moving to Winnipeg. His father emigrated from Ukraine in 1887 to Shamokin, Pennsylvania, where he was a miner and later a hotel-keeper. Mr. Luchkovich obtained a degree in political science from the University of Calgary and a teachers’ certificate from Calgary Normal School. He taught in Alberta for a number of years and became an active member of the United Farmers of Alberta. In 1936 Luchkovich defeated the liberal candidate, Joseph McCallum, and become one of the youngest MPs in Ottawa and the first MP of Ukrainian origin. As the first Ukrainian MP, Luchkovich represented more than just the people of his riding, but also became the spokesman for the 200,000 Ukrainians living in Canada. One speech that made a huge impact was delivered in 1929, when he reacted strongly to the statements made by Bishop Lloyd who referred to Ukrainians as “dirty, ignorant, non-preferred, garlic-smelling, continentals.” As well as a teacher and politician, Luchkovich was also a writer and translator. In 1931 he attended the International Inter-Parliamentary Union Congress in Romania as the delegate for the British Empire. Michael Luchkovich died on April 21, 1973, at the age of 80.
Since 1986, the Ukrainian Canadian Congress – Alberta Provincial Council has honoured individuals who have previously been elected officials with the Michael Luchkovich Award for their significant contribution and dedication to the betterment of all Canadians. The award is presented annually by the UCC-APC President during the Ukrainian Day Festival at the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village in Alberta
He further worked to introduce the publicly-funded medicare by the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) government. Mr. Romanow earned an Arts degree from the University of Saskatchewan in 1960 and a Law degree in 1964. He then served in public office in Canada for over thirty years, most notably as Premier of Saskatchewan, 1991-2001, and as Deputy-Premier and Attorney General of Saskatchewan, 1971-1982.
As Saskatchewan’s Attorney General, he was involved in the federal-provincial negotiations that resulted in the Constitutional Act of 1982, including the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. In 1984, Roy Romanow coauthored Canada “Notwithstanding” about the negotiations that were involved during the drafting of the new Constitution.
Mr. Romanow served as the sole Royal Commissioner on the Future of Health Care in Canada from 2001 to 2002. His final report is entitled: “Building on Values”.
Mr. Romanow was invested as an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2003, and is the recipient of numerous Honourary Degrees. Currently, Mr. Romanow is the Chancellor of the University of Saskatchewan. He also holds the position of Senior Fellow in Public Policy at the University of Saskatchewan.
The story of Janice Sarich is deeply rooted in Ukrainian culture. Born in Edmonton in 1958, Janice is a fourth generation Ukrainian-Canadian, and a proud Albertan. This intelligent and dedicated leader is driven by strong cultural, religious, and close family upbringing. Janice’s commitment to family and education attracted her to politics, confident she could have a positive impact on children, parents, and community.
Janice put her small business-consulting firm on hold when she became the first woman elected as the Ward 2 Trustee for Edmonton Catholic School Board and held the position from 2001-2007. A strong voice with an enviable work ethic and energy, Janice moved to provincial politics in 2008. She was elected as a Member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta (MLA) for Edmonton-Decore and was re-elected in 2012, serving until 2015.
Former Premier, Ed Stelmach, appointed Janice to a challenging Cabinet position as Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Education, while continuing to serve on demanding Standing Committees.
Janice is a devoted wife, mother, sister and daughter while being a strong community supporter and fixture at countless community and spiritual events.
She believes that faith is an integral part of promoting tolerance and understanding amongst Albertans. Janice greatly respects Bishop David Motiuk as a leader.
Janice is honored and humbled to accept the Michael Luchkovich Award, and joins past recipients who she has long admired and respected. She will continue to promote Ukrainian culture and traditions as she continues to write chapters to her story.
Genia Leskiw is the daughter of Ukrainian Immigrants. In Junior and Senior High School Genia was very active in the life of her school, holding different positions on Students’ Union. In grade 9, she was awarded the Citizenship Award, and in Grade 12 was nominated for the Percy Page Award for her contribution to the Students’ Union.
When Genia became a teacher she was actively involved in her Teaching profession holding various positions on her local ATA executive. She most enjoyed being the spokes person for her fellow colleagues bring change to the classroom and working conditions.
After moving to Bonnyville, Genia became involved in her church and Ukrainian Community. She held various executive positions for her Church ladies’ group and eventually became the president of her church. She also helped run the Kiev’s-K-Hi Ukrainian Youth camp for 25 years.
In 2008 Genia was elected to represent the electoral district of Bonnyville-Cold Lake in the Legislative Assembly of Alberta, the first woman and the first Ukrainian-Canadian to represent the area.
In addition to serving as Deputy Chair on the Premier’s Council on the Status of Persons with Disabilities, Genia also served as a member of the Privileges and Elections, Standing Orders and Printing Committee and the Special Standing Committee on Member’s Services. She also chaired PC on Education. Served as a member of ACAUR-Advisory Council of Alberta-Ukraine Relations for 12 years. In her last three years, she was given the honour to chair this committee.
As an MLA, Genia had the opportunity to attend many Canadian Women’s Parliamentarian Conferences in Canada. She also had the privilege to represent Alberta in Nairobi, Kenya at the International CommonweaIth Parliamentarian Conference at the women sessions. One outstanding memory in her life as an MLA was organizing two Aboriginal Showcases in Bonnyville and Cold Lake showcasing beautiful Aboriginal cultures in the area.
As for her active involvement in her local community and the Ukrainian community in the province, Genia was awarded with the Alberta Centennial Medal and the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Medal.
In her retirement from teaching and politics Genia has returned to being active in her church. She had the opportunity to judge 4-H public speaking and she makes herself available to help Ukrainian immigrant women in her community with their English and being available when they require a helping hand.
Genia has been married to Ron Leskiw for 42 years and makes Bonnyille her home. They have two beautiful children David and Lynna.
Gene Zwozdesky was born on July 24, 1948 in Nipawin Saskatchewan. He moved to Alberta at the age of two, and his family lived in the communities of Grand Centre, Hinton, and Sangudo before finally settling in Edmonton when Zwozdesky was 15 years old. Prior to entering politics, Zwozdesky worked as a music educator, and a business owner.
In 1993, Gene Zwozdesky was elected as the MLA for Edmonton Avonmore. He would subsequently be elected 5 more times as the MLA for Edmonton Mill Creek. During his 22 years in office, he was appointed as: Minister of Community Development (Arts, Culture, Sports, Recreation, and PDD); Minister of Education: Minister of Aboriginal Relations; Minister of Health; and as Associate Minister of Capital Planning and of Health and Wellness.
Gene’s political highlights include writing, researching, and presenting the “Ukrainian Famine and Genocide (Holdomor) Memorial Day Act” Bill which passed all three Readings in one day and became only the second Bill in Alberta’s history
to do so. In recognition of this historical Act, Gene received the Order of Ukraine Medal from the Government of Ukraine, and the Shevchenko Medal from the Ukrainian Canadian Congress. Gene Zwozdesky’s political career was capped-off by becoming Speaker of the Alberta Legislative Assembly from 2012 to 2015.
In addition to his countless political contributions, Zwozdesky has been extensively involved in promoting Ukrainian culture throughout his lifetime. In 1963, he joined the Ukrainian Shumka Dancers where he danced, served as President, co-Artistic Director, and then, for 25 years, the group’s Music Director. Other dance groups that Zwozdesky was involved with include Cheremosh, Rusalka, Tryzub, and Yevshan.
He was also conductor of the CYMK Ukrainian Youth Choir for several years, and is currently a member of St. John’s Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral Choir and of the Ukrainian Male Chorus of Edmonton, for whom he composed “That Old Sheepskin Coat” to lyrics written by his mother, Anna. In appreciation of Gene’s musical contributions, he was inducted into CFCW’s Ukrainian Music Hall of Fame. In 1991-92, Gene was the Executive Director of the Alberta Ukrainian Centennial Commission and concurrently Executive Producer of the 100th (National) Anniversary Celebration of Ukrainian Settlement in Canada.
Raymond Bruce Danyluk’s Ukrainian great grandparents, Alexander (Sandy) and Nastesia Daniluk came from the Bukovina Region to settle near Willingdon, Alberta in the 1890s. Ray’s grandfather, Peter Danyluk, was born near Whitford, Alberta in 1900. Nastesia died during childbirth and Sandy died when Peter was 3 years old. To earn his keep, Peter worked on farms at young age and was not able to attend school. He farmed near Hairy Hill, married Jennie Hirka and raised a family of three sons and three daughters. In 1945 they bought 5 quarters of land and moved southwest of Elk Point to a place with an abundance of trees for firewood and the prospect of building a log house.
Ray was born on February, 22 1952 in Calgary. He grew up on the Elk Point farm under the care and guidance of his grandparents and Uncle Bill. His first language was Ukrainian, and he didn’t learn English until he began attending school in Elk Point. He studied science at the University of Alberta and married Lorraine Hodge. They purchased the farm from his uncle and cared for his grandfather until his death in 1975.
Ray’s political career began in the 1970s serving as a UGG delegate, Cattle Commission Director and President of the Rural Electrification Association. He was very involved with his three children’s activities; Ukrainian Dance, 4-H, hockey and basketball, often coaching, always cheering. Ray’s motivation to create better educational and recreational opportunities for rural children propelled him into electoral politics. He was elected as a Municipal Councilor and School Board Trustee for the County of St. Paul in 1992. He served as Reeve and as St. Paul Education Board Chair. He is proud of his work as Chair of the Amalgamation Steering Committee and of having major influence in the redesign of educational funding in support of rural students.
Ray was elected to the Alberta Legislature in 2001, representing Lac La Biche-St. Paul as MLA until 2012. Ray served under 3 Premiers and held four ministerial portfolios; including municipal affairs and housing, infrastructure and transportation. In his capacity as minister, Ray launched a sustainability initiative to provide sustainable funding for municipalities. He modernized the coordination of emergency and fire management across the province. He helped lead and support an initiative to electronically network and update Alberta libraries.
He fought to obtain funding for universities, schools, hospitals, roads, bridges and cultural facilities, including the new Royal Alberta Museum and Archives. It was a privilege for him to serve under Premier Stelmach, during a dynamic period of growth and investment in infrastructure.
In 2011, Ray was honored to receive the Lieutenant Governor’s Leadership for Active Communities Award. In 2015, the gymnasium in the Elk Point FG Miller High School was named in honor of Ray’s dedication to community and youth, promotion of sports and his great efforts to make the school modernization a reality.
During his tenure as MLA, Ray enjoyed the experience of serving as Chair of the Council on Alberta-Ukraine Relations. Unequivocally, he is proud of his Ukrainian heritage. He recognizes the cultural attributes that compose his “natura”. He supports the cause of Ukrainian Village as an educational resource showcasing Ukrainian culture, as well as agricultural heritage in Alberta.
Kenneth Reginald Kowalski was born September 27, 1945, in Bonnyville, Alberta, the son of Paul Kowalski and Mary Chachula. Mr. Kowalski is proud to be a descendent of Ukrainian pioneers. His grandfather’s family arrived in Canada in 1901 and his grandmother’s family immigrated in 1928. Mr. Kowalski was educated in Alberta public schools, graduating from the University of Alberta with a bachelor’s degree in history in 1966 and a master’s degree in East Asian history in 1970. Following the completion of his master’s degree, Mr. Kowalski pursued education training and eventually taught high school in Barrhead, Alberta from 1969 to 1974, and coached the Barrhead Reach for the Top team to the national championship in 1973. While teaching, he also served as secretary of the Alberta Provincial Kinsmen Association in 1972, and received the national award in 1973 as editor of Canada’s best Kinsmen magazine. Mr. Kowalski also received a Government of Alberta achievement award in 1973.
In 1974, Mr. Kowalski joined the Government of Alberta as Executive Assistant to the Deputy Premier, Minister of Agriculture. From 1975 to 1977, he served as Executive Assistant to the Deputy Premier, Minister of Transportation. In 1977, he was appointed chairman of regional transportation services, and in 1979 was appointed deputy minister of regional transportation services. He also served as secretary of the Rural Development Cabinet Committee from 1974 to 1977. In October 1979, he resigned the position of Deputy Minister of regional transportation services to run for election as an MLA in the Alberta constituency of Barrhead.
Since he was first elected as an MLA, Mr. Kowalski has held a variety of positions including chair of the Select Committee on Surface Rights, chair of the Heritage Savings Trust Fund Select Standings Committee and was a member of the Syncrude Board of Directors. He was appointed Minister of Environment and Minister of Alberta Public Safety Services in 1986. After his re-election in 1969, Mr. Kowalski was appointed to cabinet as Minister of Public Works, Supply and Services, responsible for Lotteries, Major Exhibitions and Fairs, the Public Affairs Bureau, Public Safety Services, the Wild Rose Foundation and ACCESS Corporation. He has also served as Minister of Career Development and Employment and as Minister of Economic Development and Tourism responsible for Technology, Research and Telecommunications, International Trade Offices and Lotteries.
In 1997, Mr. Kowalksi was elected Speaker of the Legislative Assembly and was re-elected in 2001, 2005 and 2008. As Speaker, Mr. Kowalski hosted some 300 events in the Alberta Legislative Assembly and Rotunda including visitations of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth, several Governor Generals and annual remembrance ceremonies to recognize the Holodomor, El Eid, Poppy Day, Remembrance Day and other significant historical events and holidays.
Mr. Kowalski retired from the Alberta Legislature on May 23, 2012. His official portrait as Speaker was unveiled on October 15, 2012, and now hangs in the Rotunda of the Legislature building. ON February 6, 2014, he received the first ever President’s Award from the Consulting Engineers of Alberta for outstanding contribution to Alberta’s Consulting Engieers.
Mr. Kowalski served Alberta as an MLA for 33 years and is the fourth longest serving MLA in the history of Alberta. He is the only MLA to serve with five premiers. He was also Alberta’s 11th Speaker and the second longest serving Speaker in Alberta’s history, serving from 1997 to 2012.
Known for his integrity, humility and down to earth approach, Edward Michael “Ed” Stelmach’s life and work reflect a deep knowledge of and respect for Alberta’s potential. The grandson of Ukrainian immigrants, Nancy and Michael, Ed Stelmach was born and raised on a farm near Lamont and speaks fluent Ukrainian. Marie and Ed Stelmach were married on August 11, 1973. Together they raised their four beautiful children on the homestead founded by his grandparents in 1898 near Andrew where they still live and operate the farm today. Ed Stelmach was among the first to present his candidature in the 2006 leadership race and was sworn in as Alberta’s 13th Premier on December 14, 2006. Ed Stelmach is the first Premier of Alberta of Ukrainian origin and only the second person of Ukrainian descent to be elected Premier of a Canadian province. On March 8, 2008 he won an overwhelming mandate, the largest ever for a first time Premier.
Mr. Stelmach has a long record of public and community service. He served as a school trustee, chair of the Vegreville Health Unit and as a hospital board member. His first foray into politics was a 1986 municipal election, when Ed was elected to the county council of Lamont County and later becoming Reeve. First elected in 1993 as MLA in the Vegreville-Viking constituency, he was elected to his fifth term as MLA in 2008. Before becoming Premier, he held four cabinet positions as Minister of Agriculture, Infrastructure, Transportation, and International and Intergovernmental Relations. As Premier from 2006 to 2011, Ed Stelmach led a government that managed through the challenges of a boom and bust cycle. As Premier, he supported efforts to end homelessness and create affordable housing. He also recognized the importance of diversifying the economy and seeking global leadership to help shape the province’s future.
Ed Stelmach has received a number of honours for his 25 years of public service Among other awards, Ed has received the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal (2002) and the Alberta Centennial Medal (2005). Most recently Mr. Stelmach received an Honorary doctor of laws degree from the University of Alberta. In addition to having been a lifelong public servant, Ed Stelmach has been a tireless supporter of the Ukrainian Canadian community. He was awarded the “Order of Prince Yaroslav the Wise” award in the 3rd degree for his work in the betterment of Alberta /Ukraine relations. Under his leadership, Bill 37 was unanimously passed by the Alberta Legislative Assembly. This historic act recognized the Holodomor as an act of genocide and proclaimed every 4th Saturday in November as Holodomor Memorial Day. He also is a recipient of the Hetman Award of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress – Alberta Provincial Council.
As the grandson of Ukrainian immigrants, Ed Stelmach, is truly a Canadian success story that should serve as an inspiration not just for Ukrainian Canadians, but for all Canadians. Committed to principled leadership, Ed Stelmach exemplifies the highest levels of dedication to public service and the betterment of all Canadians.
Mr. (Peter) Myron Kowalsky was born in North Battleford, Saskatchewan, July 11, 1941. While attending rural North Battleford elementary schools, Myron participated in various sports, music and cultural activities nurtured by the CYMK youth organization. He also belonged to the Yevshan Dancers, under the direction of Lusia Pavlychenko, and to the 4-H club. When attending the North Battleford Collegiate, Myron joined the Sea Cadets and was selected to spend a summer at Comox Naval Base where he declined a Sea Cadet scholarship. Instead he went to Saskatoon, staying at the Mohyla Institute and attending Nutana Collegiate. He graduated from the University of Saskatchewan with a Bachelor of Education with Distinction, and a Post Graduate Diploma in Curriculum Studies.
Myron began teaching in 1961 at Quill Lake High School, then at Unity Composite, and later at Riverside Collegiate and Carlton Comprehensive High Schools, both in Prince Albert. During his teaching career, he was sent to Gambia,Africa, through Project Overseas, which was aimed at strengthening professional skills of teachers. This project was sponsored by the Canadian Teachers’ Federation and Canadian International Development Agency. He was also active with the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation (STF), at the local and provincial levels. He served on the boards of the Wapiti Regional Library and the John M. Cuelenaere Library.
Myron was first elected to the Saskatchewan Legislative Assembly in 1986 and re-elected in 1991, 1995 and 1999. In 2001 he was elected Speaker of the House and re-elected in 2004. He has served as co-chair to the Canada-USA Relations Committee of the Mid-West branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, as Government Whip, on the Communications, Rules & Procedures committee, plus various others. He was the Chair of the Standing Committees on House Services and Privilege and chaired the Board of Internal Economy of the Legistrative Assembly. He also hosted the Midwest Legislative Conference which was held in Regina in July 2005. Mr. Kowalsky, with a strong interest in politics and his Ukrainian heritage, edited the booklet Ukrainians in the Saskatchewan Legislature, 1934-1993.
Myron was keen on becoming acquainted with the land of his forefathers and availed himself of opportunities presented to him as an educator and a legislator. In 1991 and 1994, he travelled to Ukraine to attend a Conference of Educators organized by the Saskatchewan Teachers of Ukrainian, a special council within the STF. In 2001, he again visited Ukraine, this time as part of the Canada-Ukraine Legislative & Intergovernmental Project. In December of 2004, Mr. Kowalsky participated as an election observer in the Presidential Election in Ukraine. Stationed in Chernivtsi, he helped oversee the process in order to ensure a fair election. Mr. Kowalsky also has served on the board of the Canada-Ukraine Business Initiative. Myron is a member of the Ukrainian Orthodox Holy Trinity Cathedral in Saskatoon. Myron and Olesia (Kindrachuk) have two daughters and one grandchild.