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Canada and Ukraine have recently signed an agreement on free trade zone, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised that it would be a new surge in the development of Ukraine’s economy. How do you asses this document?
This document will help to use the full potential of these economic relations. In my opinion, some experts drew attention to some quite low numbers. But this agreement was signed to increase them. For example, Ukrainian exports to Canada has great potential in terms of processing of agricultural products. This agreement is more profitable for Ukraine than the Association Agreement with the EU, except for a few sectors that we keep relatively closed for the others, namely: chicken, milk, egg sectors. Ukrainian producers of oil, canned food, and other products have great opportunities. We are already working with the representatives of major Canadian supermarkets to familiarize them with the Ukrainian manufacturers that could be included in their networks.
One analyst, who participated in the preparation of CUFTA, said that it is not in favor of Ukraine.
By no means. Ukraine has a 7-year transitional period on many tariffs, and Canada does not have it. Some Ukrainian producers of chicken, probably, might have some reservations, and our approach to this sector is the same as in the US, EU, and other countries with which we signed the FTA. We do not follow the mercantilist approach. If Ukraine exports more, it does not mean something bad for us. In general, we are ready to implement some joint projects to enter the third markets. If you followed the news from Farnborough, you know that "Antonov" enterprise has signed an agreement with two Canadian companies - SMS Esterline of Montreal, avionics manufacturers. Thus, the new management system of "Ruslan" AN-124, and AN-148, AN-158, AN-178 will be equipped with a Canadian avionics, and they will be used at the third markets. A draft of An-132 is developed together with Saudi Arabia; Ukrainian engines and Canadian fuselage. Obviously, this is an example of high-tech partnership, in terms of which each country finds its own advantages, the money comes from the world markets.
Canada is officially bilingual, with the exception of Quebec. How do you adjust the language policy?
We should clarify that Canada is bilingual at the federal level. Quebec is officially monolingual at the provincial level, but with services in English, if they are needed. New Brunswick is officially bilingual, Ontario has a very wide range of French services - for example, television is also in French; Nunavut territory is trilingual: English, French, and Inuktitut; the Northwest Territories have six official languages. So in Canada we have different options. Our federal system allows to adapt the language and cultural regimes to the needs of a particular region. But you cannot just copy the experience of one country. French and English are the languages of political cultures that have shaped the nation, the very structure of our society. And so they have a unique value to our society. Multiculturalism is an important factor here. Interestingly, the current Prime Minister Trudeau continues his father's policy, announced 45 years ago at the Congress of Ukrainian Canadians in Winnipeg. This was the platform, which had declared the policy of multiculturalism in Canada.
Canada, as Ukraine has very strong neighbors in terms of geopolitics. But we, unlike you, were not able to establish equal relations.
First, neither party received unquestioning victory in the war of 1812 - 1815, when the border between the United States and British North America (which later became Canada) was established. However, over the last 50 years, in the aftermath of World War II, it was important to build our own structures and our own approach, create space for autonomous action in the cultural and political aspects. And we did it; then Canadian foreign minister and later prime minister Lester Bowles Pearson suggested that the United Nations station a peacekeeping force in the Suez in order to ensure that the ceasefire was honored by both sides. We are going to turn the back peacekeepers in the United Nations.
How do people in Canada study the history of Ukraine? Has something changed after the events that took place over the past two years in Ukraine?
I think that most of Ukrainian history textbooks in English are written in Canada. Many of them are translated and used in Ukraine, for example, works of Professor Paul Magocsi from the University of Toronto. Comparing with the Western countries, I would not say that we have the strongest ‘Ukrainian-centered’ position, but Ukrainians are seen as something natural. Ukraine’s history has been extensively and professionally represented in our universities.
I would like to note another change that took place in your country - Ukrainian book market. Ukrainian book publishing came out of philological-historical-ethnographic ghetto and rushed in a commercial practice areas. In my opinion, this is a very positive change.