Russia has invaded Ukraine.
Canadians have been deeply affected by the heartbreaking images of war and chaos we’ve seen on TV and social media—one can only imagine what it is like for those experiencing these things firsthand. Needless to say, the people of Ukraine and their leaders are in my thoughts and prayers. My prayers are also with the many Russians who do not want this war, particularly those conscripted to fight against their neighbors in Putin’s army.
After months of Russian forces massing on the Ukraine border, I was pleased to see the Trudeau government finally commit to providing defensive weapons to assist Ukraine. Sadly, this decision by the government came more than a month after the original request was made.
This reversal in policy by the Trudeau government, who up until now denied the Ukrainian government’s request for weapons, is part of a broader pattern of this government’s foreign policy incoherence.
Despite months of Conservatives warning the government to take this threat seriously, it is only now, after an obvious (and lengthy) military buildup and an invasion—this after years of aggressive behavior by Russia including numerous cyber attacks against Canada—that Prime Minister Trudeau is finally starting to take the Russian threat seriously.
That said, Conservatives stand with the government in condemning this invasion and other acts of aggression by Russia in the strongest possible terms.
Conservatives also support the imposition of tough new economic sanctions against Russian officials. These sanctions must be severe and proportional to reflect the seriousness of Russia’s actions. The government must also take steps, in concert with our allies, to freeze any assets in Canada that are controlled by Putin and his inner circle—albeit being careful not to harm Canadian companies in the process. I have also been pleased with the decision to ban Russia from Canadian airspace and support efforts to cripple Russia’s finances by banning them from international banking network SWIFT. The government has also committed $25 million in defensive equipment as well as help from our intelligence services.
That said, I also recognize that without a large international show of military force, Putin is unlikely to be swayed from his ongoing aggression. Given the severe decline and decay of western militaries that Mr. Trudeau and other western leaders have allowed, such a show of force is unlikely to materialize. This is unfortunate given that Putin is unlikely to stop with Ukraine.
Canadians should also be aware that, like Ukraine, the Russians have been massing a significant military force in the Arctic, posing a direct threat to Canadian sovereignty and resources. Sadly, once again, the Trudeau government has failed to act.
Canada was first among the Western nations to recognize Ukraine’s sovereignty after the fall of the Soviet Union. Canada must now demonstrate that friendship and show leadership on the international stage by ensuring its response is proportional to the seriousness of the situation and effective in countering Russia’s aggressive actions.
To my Ukrainian constituents, I will be watching closely to see when the government announces a plan to re-settle war refugees. As soon as information is available, I will post it on my Facebook page and website. My office will be there to help families and organizations with sponsorship applications.
Those who wish to donate to relief efforts can do so via UNICEF Canada, Canada-Ukraine Foundation, CARE Canada, Save the Children Canada, and the Canadian Red Cross.
(NOTE: At the time of this writing, peace talks have begun. It is my hope and prayer that these will be successful, and we will see a swift end to this unjust conflict.)