Ukrainian Canadian PC Wins in Alberta

By Yaroslaw Hermak

Genia Leskiw (nee Jereniuk), a thirty six year career teacher in Alberta has won the rural constituency of Bonnyville-Cold Lake (in Eastern Alberta, close to the Saskatchewan border), on March 3 in the 2008 Alberta Provincial Election. In the fall of 2007, Leskiw won the nomination for the Progressive Conservative Party, headed by Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach, who was returned as Premier in the elections. She has been travelling from one end of the riding to the other promoting the values of her party.

Leskiw is well known in the constituency for her active role as a teacher and Ukrainian Canadian leader. She is the president of the Lakeland Ukrainian Association and member of the Provincial Advisory Council on Alberta-Ukraine Relations. She has played a most active role in St. Elia’s Ukrainian Orthodox parish and served on the executive of the Ukrainian Women’s Association of Canada. She was groomed for her leadership roles through activity in the ranks of the Ukrainian Youth Association of Canada (SUMK).

In her profession that of a teacher, Leskiw has served the Alberta Teachers' Association as VP of her local, involved as the chairperson of the Provincial Curriculum Board of Ukrainian as a Second Language and was nominated for an Excellence in Teaching Award. Many of her students consider her an “A+” teacher.

Leskiw became involved in politics to better serve her community and wants to provide better leadership in areas of affordable housing, better infrastructure, especially roads, support for seniors, sustainable growth, and strengthening cultural and recreational facilities. She places priorities on education, better health care, and dedication to the agricultural sector. She is a strong proponent for education and multiculturalism and in Alberta.

Leskiw will serve her riding very well, sensitive to its various multicultural communities – Francophone, Ukrainian as well as Metis and Aboriginal. Married to Ron Leskiw, they and have been blessed with two university educated professionals – a son and a daughter.

The New Pathway’s John Pidkowich was able to reach Genia Leskiw at her home the day after her election win. Asking her whether she briefly had some time to talk underestimated the flurry of activity around her. Leskiw said “To-day, I woke up to sunshine and a “Tory Blue” sky. People from all over my constituency have been phoning and wishing me well. I look forward to serving my constituency. I only wish my father OTTO was alive to witness this”. May no clouds appear upon her blue-sky horizon! – NP

Genia Leskiw received 4,437 votes with the closest rival Liberal candidate obtaining 695 votes.