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Yvan Baker – Keeping Ukraine on the agenda. “Ukraine’s victory is vital to Canada and global security. It is the only option for all of us.”

Apr 25, 2024 | Featured, Politics

MPs Yvan Baker and Chrystia Freeland at the Ukrainian Bloor West Village Festival

Rachel Caklos for NP-UN.

Yvan Baker has been a public figure in politics for many years. Previously, his professional life was in the business sector, where he received two business degrees and was a managing consultant for various corporate firms. As his professional life evolved, he also taught the business MBA program at the Schulich School of Business at York University.

In 2014, Yvan began his political career as a Member of Provincial Parliament for Etobicoke Centre, where he assisted both the Minister of Finance and the Treasury Board. It was not until 2019 that Yvan became a political candidate for the Liberal Party of Canada and was elected as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Etobicoke in October of that year.

Yvan Baker with his fiancé Amanda Simard

Yvan’s Ukrainian ancestry stems from his mother, who immigrated to Canada after WWll at age five. His grandparents, like most victims of war, were living in a camp for displaced persons. With his mother’s background being a strong connection to Ukraine, Yvan’s involvement with the Ukrainian Canadian community began at a very young age and continues to manifest in his work today. As the President of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress of Ontario Provincial Council where he engaged in a great deal of work interacting with the provincial government of Ontario on a range of issues, including Holodomor, the genocide that took place in Ukraine between 1932 and 1933, and implementing its teaching within the Ontario curriculum. Yvan is very proud of his Ukrainian heritage and is driven to do his part for the Ukrainian communities and Canadians across the country.

As an MP, Yvan understands the importance of issues involving Ukraine and his personal connection to it. He recognizes that Ukraine’s fight against Russia is Canada’s battle and believes it is morally right and advantageous for Canadians to support Ukraine.

As Ukrainians have moved to Canada fleeing the war, Yvan has met families with different goals and interests regarding their stay in Canada. His observations indicate that families have mixed interests in either wanting to settle in Canada or wanting to return home to Ukraine. As many women and children have left their husbands and fathers behind with Ukraine’s restriction of men leaving the country, one can only imagine the sadness and turmoil of having to break up a family, especially amid such horrible conditions. Yvan notes that the government has dedicated its efforts to assist Ukrainians in settling. In particular, it has provided funding upon arrival, which has been helpful with settlement services such as finding housing, employment, school programs for children and youth and health care.

Alongside the government’s help, Yvan recognizes the immeasurable work that has been done by the Ukrainian Canadian communities and Canadians who have been generous in providing help and support to Ukrainians coming over to Canada. People have opened their arms and homes to help these families, regardless of whether they are connected to the Ukrainian community or not, and that is the true magic of Canadian unity. The Ukrainian Canadian Social Services have also played an extensive role in constant aid and service to help as many people as possible, working every day to help them settle into their new environment in Canada. Yvan recognizes these volunteers and says that Canadians have truly persevered and have come to support Ukraine in incredible ways, showing their devotion to the cause.

For Yvan, keeping Ukraine on Parliament’s agenda is critical to his work going forward. He believes that it is not only an important factor for an MP but for all of Canada. He notes that Ukraine is and has been one of the government’s top priorities without question, as Canada has committed 13 billion dollars in support through military, financial and humanitarian aid. Canada has been a leading country in supporting Ukraine, and with his party and Canadians from coast to coast, it will continue to stay that way.

Yvan focuses on bringing two critical points to the forefront of his work. Firstly, he firmly believes that Ukraine’s victory is vital to Canada and Canada’s security. He emphasizes that Ukraine must win, and that it is also in Canada’s best interest to win. If Russia were to move forward, it would not stop at Ukraine. This conflict, if not stopped by Ukraine’s success, will require nations worldwide to get involved and defend themselves against the Russian aggressor. He reiterated that investing in Ukraine and supporting them would minimize the costs Canada would potentially face in the future. As our current government stands, it is clear that supporting Ukraine and its values is indispensable. Not only is it the right thing to do for Ukraine, but it is also the best investment for Canada’s future.

Secondly, through the past 20 years, there has been a great deal of unity involving Ukraine and Canada’s support throughout the governments. MPs have clarified their intentions to support Ukraine since Euromaidan in 2014. However, we have seen a change in direction with the Conservative Party as many votes have been made against aid to support Ukraine and its future. In December, the party voted against funding for military aid and Operation Unifier, a training mission led by the Canadian Armed Forces that trained 40,000 Ukrainian soldiers. Yvan emphasized that this program is something to be proud of and is very impactful, as Canada has made a direct effort to support Ukraine and its forces. This program, Yvan emphasizes, is something to be proud of, and Canada’s direct support has positively impacted Ukraine and its forces. Another action that was voted against was the Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement, which covered more than just products. Yvan explained that in its current state, the agreement only addresses goods; it does not include services, which run the majority of Canada’s economy, nor investments, which would aid the future rebuilding of Ukraine’s economy and infrastructure. Yvan emphasized that this agreement would allow these investments to be made securely, which is a significant factor to consider.

As part of his work on the public platform, in addition to discussions with government decision-makers, Yvan communicates the importance of the war, the necessity of Ukraine’s win, and “the importance of persuading the Conservative party to support Ukraine.” Yvan encourages Canadians to research the government’s current work and other parties’ current stance regarding their support of Ukraine. Yvan continues to work on advocating what is best for Canadians and ensuring the declaration that Canada will stand with Ukraine.

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