Luchkovich, Michael

Image - Michael Luchkovich with his wife (ca 1930)

Luchkovich, Michael [Лучкович, Михайло; Lučkovyč, Myxajlo], b 13 November 1892 in Shamokin, Pennsylvania, d 21 April 1973 in Edmonton, Alberta. Politician, writer, and teacher. He moved to Canada in the footsteps of his sisters (who became teachers in Manitoba) and studied at the University of Manitoba (BA, 1916) and the Calgary Normal School (teaching certificate, 1917). He then held a succession of teaching posts in the Ukrainian immigrant communities of east central Alberta. In 1926 he was elected as a United Farmer of Alberta candidate in the Vegreville constituency. He became the first Canadian member of parliament of Ukrainian origin, and his victory was hailed as a major triumph for the Ukrainian community in Canada. He was re-elected in 1930. His parliamentary career was highlighted by his vigorous response to disparaging public comments made by the Anglican bishop of Saskatoon, George Lloyd, about ‘unpreferred continentals’ and by an address to Parliament regarding the violation of minority rights in Poland (following the Pacification campaign against Ukrainians).

Luchkovich was defeated in the Canadian federal election of 1935 as a result of a vote split resulting from the candidacy of Matthew Popovich on the part of the Communist Party of Canada. After that, he wrote extensively. His works include translations of Mykola Prychodko’s One of the Fifteen Million (1952), Illia Kiriak’s Sons of the Soil (in abridged form, 1959), and Solomon Goldelman’s Jewish National Autonomy in Ukraine (1968). His reminiscences appeared in 1965 as A Ukrainian Canadian in Parliament.

Luchkovich’s papers were donated to the Ukrainian Canadian Archives and Museum of Alberta. A guide to the collection, prepared by Serge Cipko, was published in 1992. Since 1986 the Alberta Provincial Council of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress has presented the Michael Luchkovich Award for outstanding public service by a Canadian politician of Ukrainian origin on an annual basis. The Michael Luchkovich Scholarships for Career Development were created by an endowment from the Alberta Heritage Scholarship Trust Fund.

Andrij Makuch

[This article was updated in 2010.]

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