Ottawa South MP David McGuinty joined a team of experts sent to the Ukraine to assess the country’s upcoming parliamentary election.
McGuinty is a member of a U.S.-based National Democratic Institute (NDI) delegation which was sent to check out the country’s electoral conditions ahead of the country’s national elections on Oct. 28.
The MP was joined by Christine Todd Whitman, the former governor of New Jersey and four other delegates, a group that included international election experts, for a week-long review of the conditions and preparations in place for the election.
McGuinty said that being part of the delegation is a great honour and privilege.
“I have met a few people in my own riding who are originally from Ukraine and they tell me they are very worried about the state of Ukrainian democracy and whether the rule of law will thrive and whether or not this election will be conducted impartially, fair and transparent,” he said.
The delegation will meet with election and government officials, political competitors, civil society organizations, and the media to gather information about the country’s election process.
“It is an opportunity for me to contribute to something meaningful (to) the Ukrainian electoral environment, but at the same time learn from it and bring Canadian experience to bear in very practical ways,” added McGuinty.
The delegation will release a report highlighting its findings at the conclusion of the mission.
The report will look at the Ukraine’s existing legal framework, how the election was run, the political environment for the campaigns and whether there was any intimidation or harassment of candidates.
It will also highlight legal mechanisms available for any problems during the election and possible future reforms.
“It is going to be important to report out to the world,” said McGuinty.
Canada will be sending 500 observers to help monitor the elections.
In a statement early last month, Jason Kenney, minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism said that Canada has a long and proud history of providing observers to countries to help ensure free and fair elections.
“These elections are critical to a democratic and prosperous Ukraine. We are proud that Canadian election observers, many from the Ukrainian-Canadian community, will continue to stand by the people of Ukraine.”
The deployment of Canadian election observers will help assess the credibility of the elections in Ukraine, including steps in the months leading up to the elections. It will also observe voting day conditions and procedures of the Oct. 28 election.