OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Oct. 28, 2012) - Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird and International Cooperation Minister Julian Fantino issued the following statement on the parliamentary elections held today in Ukraine:
"Today's elections are a key benchmark in Ukraine's democratic development and are indicative of worrying trends in the country's progress towards achieving its democratic aspirations. We look forward to the assessments of Mission Canada, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and other independent election observation missions in the coming days.
"The head of the Canadian mission, Senator Raynell Andreychuk, yesterday expressed continuing concerns about irregularities in the electoral process. Irregularities observed during the campaign created an uneven playing field which may have interfered with the ability of citizens to freely express their electoral will.
"Ukraine has made substantial democratic strides since 1992 and it is disheartening that this year's parliamentary elections do not appear to have measured up to Ukraine's past democratic performance.
"Canada is committed to advocating for freedom, democracy, human rights and rule of law for all Ukrainians."
Canada has sent a total of 500 election observers to Ukraine, one of the largest deployment of observers that Canada has ever sent to monitor elections overseas. These observers form part of Canada's independent international observation mission, Mission Canada-Ukraine Elections 2012.