Canada stands with Ukraine
When Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy spoke to the Canadian Parliament and Canadians on March 15th, he asked us to imagine how we would feel if Canadian schools, hospitals and neighbourhoods were bombed? If tanks were rolling into Montreal or Vancouver? If 97 Canadian children had been killed in the name of war?
This made me pause and my thoughts turned to what this would mean to my family, friends and the people of Flamborough-Glanbrook.
Zelenskyy used these comparisons to convey the fear and sense of injustice griping Ukraine since the unjustified and unprovoked invasion by Russia on February 24th.
But he also demonstrated the resolve of the Ukrainian people. “This is a fight for freedom, human rights, democracy and justice”, said Zelenskyy, who exemplified that courage and sacrificial leadership by staying in Ukraine despite the numerous assassination attempts on his life.
Canada has long had a close relationship with Ukraine. We are home to 1.4 million people of Ukrainian descent — the largest Ukrainian diaspora in the world outside of Russia. Canada was also the first western country to recognize the independence of Ukraine as the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991.
Since Putin’s invasion, the Government of Canada has tightened economic sanctions on Putin, his cabinet and the oligarchs. Canada has also sent military equipment and financial assistance. But there’s more that needs to be done.
We have called on the government to do more, together with our allies, to secure Ukraine’s airspace. At a minimum, we need to protect the airspace over humanitarian corridors so that Ukrainians can seek safe passage away from war zones and to allow humanitarian relief to reach those areas under siege.
We also need to cut red tape to welcome Ukrainian refugees to Canada. Millions of refugees are now in Poland, Canada must lead in helping those wishing to come to our country.
At the same time, we have been pushing the government for a robust plan to defend Canada’s arctic security and sovereignty – including purchasing the promised F-35s jets. We need to modernize NORAD’s early warning system and work more closely with Scandinavian countries and the United States to protect our arctic borders with Russia.
After his defeat, Putin must be held accountable at the International Criminal Court in The Hague. For targeting kindergartens, maternity hospitals, civilian neighbourhoods and using horrific vacuum bombs.
If you’re able, I encourage you to donate to the Red Cross (redcross.ca) or Canada-Ukraine Foundation (cufoundation.ca), as I have. Also, local churches are raising funds too. We all must do what we can.
Slava Ukraini! Glory to Ukraine. Glory to the heroes!