Marco Levytsky, NP-UN Western Bureau Chief.
The Liberal government will not remove the two words “carbon pricing” from the updated Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement (CUFTA) in order to get Conservative support says Mary Ng, Minister of Export Promotion, International Trade, and Economic Development.
“The Ukrainians want it. It’s a high standard agreement and a high standard agreement that has carbon pricing on it means that they are committed to fighting climate change and I think if you ask Ukrainians, they think it is important because it is actually important for negotiating other high quality agreements like the one with Canada or their commitments to fight climate change as something that Ukrainians feel that they are committed to doing. They are the one who want it. We negotiated this together, so Canada agreed, and Ukraine agreed,” she told New Pathway – Ukrainian News during a brief interview following her meeting with Ukrainian community and business leaders arranged by the Ukrainian Canadian Congress – Alberta Provincial Council (UCC-APC) at the Chateau Louis Conference Centre in Edmonton, January 17.
The Conservatives voted against the updated agreement in Second Reading on November 21, 2023, and are expected to oppose it in Third Reading, claiming it will impose a carbon tax on Ukraine.
During her presentation, Ng said that Canada negotiated a comprehensive, high quality agreement with Ukraine which will give both Canadian and international investors “the confidence that there is a rules based system through our agreement that actually will give them the confidence to make the investments that are necessary as part of the rebuilding effort.”
Prior to the negotiations her Ukrainian counterpart told her that his country needs Canada to show confidence in Ukraine.
“We need Canada to demonstrate that, in spite of what could happen, Canada has the confidence to negotiate a trade agreement, to modernize it so that others will see Ukraine strong and that Canada has the confidence to pursue this,” she said.
Ng added that she needs the UCC to help by appealing to their Members of Parliament to support this bill because there is no good reason to oppose it and because “we want to have a united front and part of that is support for the full package of the free trade agreement.”
“I think it’s really important for Canada to show that solidarity behind Ukraine on the world stage and one of the ways of doing that absolutely is through the outreach of the Canada Ukraine Free Trade Agreement,” Ng said.
Dennis Scraba, founder of Amigo Relief Missions, reported on the tonnes of humanitarian assistance his organization has provided for Ukraine. This included firefighting and medical equipment, generators for hospitals, and other donated items.
Scraba worked together with former Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach and former Alberta Deputy Premier Thomas Lukaszuk in organizing the massive airlift of supplies to Ukraine in March, 2022.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has honored both Scraba and Stelmack with medals which were presented to Scraba during his visit last month.
In introducing the speakers, UCC-APC President Orysia Boychuk said the purpose of the meeting was to “gain a better understanding of the historical connections between Ukraine and Alberta and meet with Ukrainian businesses and organizations who help foster growth and development of the Ukrainian Canadian business community and contribute to the rebuilding of Ukraine.”