Toronto, Canada, February 8, 2009 - The United Macedonian’s annual Gotse Delchev Evening, held in the year of the 50th Jubilee of the organization took place on Saturday February 7, in the Clement Room of the Macedonian Orthodox Cathedral St. “Clement of Ohrid” in Toronto. The 500 attendees were honoured with the presence of the Prime Minister of Canada, The Right Honourable, Stephen Harper. Mr. Harper is the first Canadian Prime Minister to attend an event organized by the United Macedonians or to visit the first and largest Macedonian cathedral in Canada.
The Prime Minister was welcomed in front of the cathedral St. “Clement of Ohrid”, by the president of the Organization Dragi Stojkovski, where he viewed the beautiful frescoes and signed the golden Guest Book. There was an outpour of emotions when Mr. Harper entered the banquet hall. Everyone wanted to shake his hand and personally thank him for the recognition of the constitutional name of the Republic of Macedonia and to share a photo with Canada’s leader.
Among the other guests at the celebration were Canadian dignitaries such as The Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, while the Macedonian side was represented by Vlatko Gjorchev and Aleksandar Nikoloski, both MP’s in the Macedonian Parliament, and Martin Trenevski, Consul General of the Republic of Macedonia in Toronto and others.
The President of the United Macedonians, Dragi Stojkovski, spoke about the importance of the Gotse Delchev Night and the 50th Jubilee of the Organization.
On behalf of all Canadian Macedonians, as well as Macedonians worldwide, Stojkovski thanked the Prime Minister for recognizing the historic and constitutional name of Macedonia in 2007. He encouraged the Prime Minister to intensify trade and cultural ties with the Republic of Macedonia and to open a Canadian Embassy in Skopje, the Macedonian capital.
Stojkovski praised Canada’s multiculturalism and encouraged “Greece and Bulgaria, two of Macedonia’s neighbours…to learn a lesson from Canada”.
Prior to introducing the Canadian Prime Minister, Minister Kenney spoke about the contribution that Canadian Macedonians have made in Canada.
The Canadian Prime Minister thanked the more than 500 guests with “blagodaram”, (which means “thank you” in Macedonian). Harper was pleased with the warm welcome and expressed his satisfaction of the good relations between Canada and the Republic of Macedonia.
Macedonian Prime Minister Gruevski sent a greeting of his own for the celebration, which was read by Stojkovski. In it, Mr. Gruevski conveyed his “personal gratitude and the gratitude of the Macedonian people to the Prime Minister Harper and the state of Canada for the overall support this friendly country provides to us in the field of the European and Euro-Atlantic integrations, as well as for the recognition of our Constitutional name, the Republic of Macedonia.”
Before departing, Prime Minister Harper presented the President of the “United Macedonians”, Dragi Stojkovski, a certificate in recognition of the 50 year “effort to enrich the lives of Canadians of Macedonian descent through community unification, and the celebration of your proud heritage and traditions.” In return, as a sign of respect for the Prime Minister and gratitude for the recognition of Macedonia’s name, Stojkovski presented Mr. Harper a sculpture of Alexander of Macedon in one of his victories, while the Macedonian hockey team “Macedonian Lions”, presented Mr. Harper with a hockey jersey bearing his name.
The Consul General of the Republic of Macedonia in Toronto, Martin Trenevski and Macedonian MP Vlatko Gjorchev also spoke at the gathering, and greetings from the “Union of Association of Macedonians from the aegean part of Macedonia – Skopje” were read .
From the Information Service of the “United Macedonians”