On February 23, Peter Kent, the Official Opposition Critic for Foreign Affairs, and James Bezan, the Official Opposition Critic for National Defence, issued the following statement calling on the Liberal government to take immediate action to support Ukraine in the face of ongoing Russian aggression:
“While the previous Conservative government was a world leader in its support for Ukraine, many of our initiatives are set to expire and it’s time for the Liberals to step up. Unfortunately, the Prime Minister’s record with respect to Ukraine is not positive – his government cancelled the supply of life-saving radar satellite imagery, refused to sign the Canada-Ukraine Cooperation Agreement, and backed down from its campaign promise to implement Magnitsky sanctions on corrupt foreign officials.
As the violence and tensions in Eastern Ukraine continue to mount, Ukraine is in need of more Canadian support, not less. That is why we are proposing a Ukrainian Defence and Aid Package, which calls on the government to immediately:
• Extend and expand Operation UNIFIER, Canada’s military training mission to Ukraine which is set to expire on March 31, 2017;
• Restore the practice of providing RADARSAT-2 Imagery to the Ukrainian military;
• Add Ukraine to the Automatic Firearms Country Control List, and supply the Ukrainian military with lethal defensive equipment;
• Strengthen sanctions to hold corrupt foreign officials to account by implementing our Magnitsky legislation (Bill C-267 in the House of Commons and Bill S-226 in the Senate);
• Sign and implement the Canada-Ukraine Defence Cooperation Agreement;
• Increase the number of OSCE monitors to report on violations of the Minsk Agreements;
• Provide additional humanitarian assistance to support the 1.6 million internally displaced people in Ukraine; and
• Call on Russia to respect Ukraine’s sovereign territory and abide by all aspects of the Minsk Agreements.
Canada has long been a steadfast ally and supporter of Ukraine. As its sovereignty continues to be threatened, now is not the time for Canada to hesitate. The Trudeau government must take immediate action and reassure Ukrainians that Canada will continue to support them in the face of ongoing Russian military aggression.”