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The Hamilton Spectator
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Canada's 500 observers en route to Ukraine
Canadian observers heading to Ukraine for that country's election Sunday expect history to unfold before their eyes.

"It's an uplifting experience, what happened in the last few weeks," said Bohdan Klid as he prepared to travel to Kiev. "I want to be there to witness what I think will be a transition to more open, democratic government.

Klid was one of hundreds of observers en route to the Ukrainian capital this week. The Canadian government is spending $5 million to send 500 people, many of them from Western Canada, which has been a popular destination for Ukrainian immigrants for more than a century.

It's the largest number of election observers Canada has ever sent and is the first mission of the Canada Corps, a federal initiative designed to use Canadian expertise to strengthen governance around the world.

The Ukrainian-Canadian Congress was also seeking accreditation for 291 observers, as well as another 150 from Canadians already living in Ukraine.

All members of the delegation were scheduled to leave Canada by today.

Ukraine's presidential election is entering an unprecedented third round. The country's Supreme Court ordered the new vote after annulling the fraud-marred Nov. 21 run-off which was allegedly won by Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych. Source.

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December 22, 2004