A Vernon resident experienced the democratic process in Ukraine first-hand.
Andrea Malysh was part of a Canadian team observing the recent parliamentary election in the European nation. She monitored polling stations in Odessa for one week.
“Many of the locals were happy and thankful to see Canadians on the ground as observers to their election,” she said.
“They have hope for their future and freedom which has been a struggle for Ukraine for decades.”
Malysh is a member of the Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Association and the Canadian First World War Internment Recognition Fund.
The Canadian mission’s goal was to observe and report on whether the election results reflected the democratic expression of voters.
The election campaign was marred by corruption charges against the ruling party, which is pro-Russian. Many of the opposition parties want a stronger relationship between Ukraine and the west.
“The election was in a large part a referendum on a central conflict within the former Soviet state,” said Malysh.
“Whether Ukraine should ally itself with Russia or the west and which of these alliances would best support economic growth in a nation where slow economic growth is increasingly threatened by the falling price of steel, a major export.”
Malysh was part of Mission Canada, an independent election observer mission.
It is funded by the Canadian government and logistics are co-ordinated through Canadem, a non-governmental organization.
“Four-hundred-and-twenty-two trained and impartial observers have been to all regions and territories of Ukraine and represented the largest ever deployment of its kind by the Canadian government,” said Malysh.
“Mission Canada observers continue to monitor the completion of the tabulation, adjudication and complaints process.”