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Munitions and energy to fight off Russia: Garnett Genuis tables Bill C-388

May 14, 2024 | Canada, Featured

Kontakt Ukrainian TV’s Jurij Klufas (right) interviews MP Garnett Genuis on May 5. Photo: Yuri Bilinsky

Yuri Bilinsky, New Pathway – Ukrainian News.

Garnett Genuis, an MP representing one of Canada’s most Ukrainian-populated ridings, Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, and the Conservative Shadow Minister for International Development, has introduced a new bill aimed at addressing both long- and short-term challenges in Canada’s response to Russian aggression against Ukraine. Bill C-388, tabled on May 2, seeks to expedite energy and mining projects and facilitate the provision of munitions to Ukraine while also fostering the development of its munitions industry.

Since the outset of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the Conservative opposition has urged the government to enhance Canada’s capacity to produce and export oil and gas, thus reducing reliance on Russian energy in global markets. Now, these calls have materialized into legislation. The proposed bill states: “Within 60 days after the day on which this Act comes into force, the Minister of Natural Resources must, in collaboration with representatives of the provincial governments responsible for natural resources, prepare a detailed plan to fast track energy and mining projects, including those related to liquefied natural gas and civilian nuclear energy, that includes measures to displace energy exports from hostile countries and support energy cooperation with allies and partners.”

Notably, this language closely mirrors remarks made by current Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland over 1.5 years ago in October 2022: “Many of [the countries in Europe] have found themselves so economically dependent on Russian energy, particularly Russian gas,” and “Canada must – and will – show […] generosity in fast-tracking, for example, the energy and mining projects our allies need to heat their homes.” (https://newpathway.ca/canadas-east-coast-lng-saga-continues-conflicting-signals-as-to-whether-canada-will-help-europe-phaseout-russian-gas-for-good/).

Given Freeland’s rare reference from the governing Liberals to Canada’s potential role in the energy conflict with Russia and the introduction of Bill C-388 by the Conservative opposition, it appears Canada may start taking steps to fulfill this role in approximately 1.5 years.

The bill’s immediate objective in aiding Ukraine is to streamline the provision of munitions and foster its munitions industry. In light of discussions surrounding Canada’s donation of decommissioned CRV7 rockets, Genuis stated that the draft bill mandates regular reviews of Canada’s military equipment by the Minister of Defense, with surplus or unused equipment being donated to Ukraine.

The bill includes exemptions for certain munitions from export controls to facilitate swift procurement, expands the General Export Permit to include munitions for Ukraine, extends coverage of the General Brokering Permit to imports into Ukraine, and prioritizes the development of Ukraine’s defense manufacturing by Export Development Canada and the Business Development Bank.

Genuis emphasized the urgency of immediate action to support Ukraine’s sovereignty and security, citing the country’s inability to wait any longer for assistance after more than two years of war. He also criticized the current government’s failure to increase production of artillery shells requested by Ukraine and highlighted opposition criticisms of Canada’s sanction policy against Russia.

In a comment for Kontakt Ukrainian TV and NP-UN, he said: “The Ukrainians don’t need announcements that lead to delivery in a year or six months. And we’ve seen too much of that from Western capitals, particularly from the Trudeau Government, the language of solidarity, but an absence of urgency.”

The bill addresses concerns within the Ukrainian Canadian community regarding the Conservative Party’s stance towards Ukraine. Genuis said: “While Liberals continue to carve out holes in our sanctions that undermine their effectiveness by granting waivers to certain companies, Conservatives will ensure that Ukraine receives the necessary weaponry to defend itself against aggression.”

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