Liberals Must Take Concrete Action and Support Ukraine

February 02, 2017

OTTAWA, ON – Peter Kent, the Official Opposition Critic for Foreign Affairs, and James Bezan, the Official Opposition Critic for National Defence, today issued the following statement urging Canada’s new Foreign Minister, the Hon. Chrystia Freeland, and her colleagues to take concrete action and support Ukraine in the face of ongoing Russian aggression:   

“Russian forces continue to illegally occupy Ukraine’s sovereign territory and indiscriminate rebel artillery barrages are driving thousands of civilians from their communities.  As conditions deteriorate, Canada should not hesitate in offering additional support to our Ukrainian allies. While the previous Conservative government was proud to be a world leader in its support for Ukraine, many of our initiatives are set to expire.  We are calling on the Trudeau government to immediately renew and expand Canada’s support for humanitarian and military assistance and reverse the Liberal policy of appeasing the Kremlin and immediately restore the sharing of RADARSAT satellite images with the Government of Ukraine.

“The Canadian Armed Forces’ training mission in Ukraine, Operation UNIFIER, is set to expire at the end of March. For nearly two years, Canadian troops have been providing training in explosive ordnance disposal, flight safety, logistics system modernization, military policing, and medical training. In addition, over the last six months Ukraine’s President, Petro Poroshenko, has repeatedly called on Prime Minister Trudeau to extend Canada’s mission beyond March 2017.   He deserves a clear answer.

“The Liberals should also demonstrate their willingness to stand up to the illegal actions of the Putin regime by following through on their election promise to implement sanctions against corrupt foreign officials. The sanctions put in place by our previous Conservative government have been effective and until the illegal occupation and annexation ends, they should be maintained and strengthened.

“In addition, Conservatives have put forward ‘Magnitsky’ style legislation which, if passed, would hold Russia’s corrupt officials, murders and torturers to account. Prime Minister Trudeau’s first Foreign Affairs Minister refused to take a stand.  We urge Minister Freeland to reverse the government’s position and support our Magnitsky Act.

“Canada has long been a steadfast ally and supporter of Ukraine. As their sovereignty continues to be threatened, now is not the time for Canada to hesitate. The Trudeau government must translate their verbal support into concrete action.”