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441-00336 (Foreign affairs)

Paper petition

Original language of petition: English

Petition to the Government of Canada

Whereas:

The recent military action by Russia against Ukraine represents a clear violation of both international law and any reasonably acceptable relationship between neighboring countries; and

The Ukrainian military is in need of arms and equipment to fight this Russian aggression and incursion onto its sovereign territory.

Therefore, we, the undersigned residents of Canada, call upon the Government of Canada to expedite the approval of any export permits of arms sales to Ukraine.

Response by the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): Rob Oliphant

The Government of Canada condemns President Putin’s unprovoked and unjustifiable invasion of Ukraine in the strongest possible terms. The war he has started is in blatant violation of international law, including the UN Charter, and it threatens global peace and security. This war of choice is a war on freedom, on democracy, and on the rights of Ukrainians, and all people, to determine their own future.

Canada and its likeminded partners have been united in ensuring that President Putin and his enablers answer for their actions. Countries have been coordinating closely on responsive measures to enhance support for the people and government of Ukraine and to impose costs on the Russian leadership.

Since Russia’s further invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, the Government of Canada has provided multifaceted assistance to support Ukraine’s security and defence, including through the authorization of more than $160 million in military aid, and an additional $500 million announced on April 7 as part of the federal budget announcement. Military aid includes rocket launchers, grenades, anti-tank weapons, small arms, and ammunition. Canada has also recently contributed M777 howitzers, on which Canadian troops will be training Ukrainian forces, a large number of additional Carl Gustaf anti-armour ammunition, and finalized contracts for eight commercial patterned armoured vehicles that will be sent to Ukraine as soon as possible. Canada’s Operation UNIFIER trained nearly 35,000 members of the Ukrainian military and security forces since its establishment in 2015. Canada is committed to providing Ukraine additional resources to help support its defence needs.

Through Global Affairs Canada’s Peace and Stabilization Operations Program (PSOPs), Canada has been supporting Ukraine with more than $10 million per year in peace and security programming, including: support to the country’s defence and broader security sector; advancing the women, peace and security agenda; and building resilience to disinformation. Since Russia’s February 2022 invasion, PSOPs has developed in excess of $9 million in new stabilization programming with partners to support Ukrainian resistance and resilience. This programming focuses on supporting Ukrainian civil society and human rights organizations, scaling up mine action efforts, and monitoring and documenting human rights violations.

Furthermore, the Prime Minister announced $13.4 million over five years to support the G7 Rapid Response Mechanism (RRM) to counter diverse and evolving foreign threats to democracy, including disinformation. In the context of Russian aggression in Ukraine, the G7 RRM is monitoring the evolving information environment, sharing assessments, and identifying areas for international collaboration. The G7 RRM is also ramping up collective engagement with civil society and social media platforms to tackle Russia’s unprecedented information war.

Canada is also taking steps to remove Russian propaganda and false narratives from Canadian airwaves. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission decided that RT (formerly known as Russia Today) can no longer be distributed by Canadian television service providers as its programming is not in the public interest and is not consistent with Canada’s broadcasting standards.

The Government of Canada is also acting to hold President Putin and the Russian regime accountable for the invasion of Ukraine and the atrocities being committed there.

Since February 2022, Canada has announced several rounds of severe and hard-hitting sanctions against nearly 1000 individuals and entities under the Special Economic Measures Act. This includes senior members of the Russian government, military, and oligarchs, including President Putin, his daughters, and his inner circle.

We have also imposed sanctions on senior officials of the Belarusian regime, military entities and specific industries, as well as Ukrainian disinformation agents responsible for facilitating and enabling Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

These measures are being implemented in close coordination with Canada’s trusted partners including the United States, United Kingdom, the European Union, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and others. Collective action has been key to putting effective and impactful economic measures in place.

Canada has also severely restricted Russia’s access to the global financial system, including sanctioning the Russian Central Bank and major Russian financial institutions, and supporting efforts to remove key Russian banks from the SWIFT financial system. Canada also revoked Russia and Belarus’ Most Favoured Nation status, applying a 35% tariff on all imports from Russia and Belarus.

In addition, Canada has imposed broader sanctions, including prohibitions against the purchase of specific Russian petroleum products, closing its airspace to Russian and Belarusian planes, and banning Russian ships from docking in Canada or passing through Canadian waters. Furthermore, Canada has prohibited the export to Russia and Belarus of a broad range of items related to electronics, computers, telecommunications, sensors and lasers, navigation and avionics, marine, aerospace, and transportation. Most recently, Canada sanctioned another 33 military entities directly or indirectly supporting the Russian government. These decisions will help undermine and erode the capabilities of the Russian and Belarusian military.

In coordination with allies and partners, Canada will continue to escalate sanctions and close loopholes to maximize pressure against the Russian regime, until President Putin stops his war and turns to good-faith diplomacy. These measures are designed to hit at the heart of Russia’s economy and limit its ability to fund the war.

Budget 2022 is now proposing measures to not only seize but to allow for the forfeiture and disposal of the assets of sanctioned individuals and entities. These measures will further allow Canada to redistribute the proceeds of these forfeitures for post-war reconstruction, restoration of international peace and security, and compensation to victims These changes will make Canada’s sanctions regime a leader in the G7.

On the humanitarian assistance front, since January 2022, the Government of Canada has announced $245 million in humanitarian assistance to Ukraine. To date, $145 million has been allocated to United Nations organizations, the Red Cross Movement and non-governmental organizations. This also includes a $30 million matching fund with the Canadian Red Cross, which has raised over $128.5 million in addition to the funds committed by the Government of Canada.

On April 9, 2022, the Prime Minister and the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, cohosted the “Stand Up for Ukraine” pledging event to rally a broad base of support, which raised over $12.4 billion in pledges. The funds will help to provide emergency health services, protection, and meet other urgent needs including food, water and shelter. The Prime Minister also announced the provision of 345,000 relief supplies from Canada’s National Emergency Stockpiles. These supplies are part of Canada’s efforts to address gaps in the relief pipeline by delivering essential non-food items to Ukraine and the region, and are in addition to the 31,000 supplies already provided from Global Affairs Canada stockpiles.

Canada’s humanitarian assistance is complemented by an increase of $35 million in development assistance that addresses emerging priorities, including supporting the resilience of Ukraine's government institutions and civil society organizations so they can meet the needs of Ukrainians, in particular women and vulnerable groups. Canada has also provided fast flexibility to development partners to allow them to rapidly shift project activities to address immediate needs, protect previous development gains, and mitigate the impact of the invasion on vulnerable populations.

Canada has offered up to $620 million in loans to enhance Ukraine’s economic resilience in the midst of Russian aggression, of which $300 million has already been provided. Furthermore, Budget 2022 announced that Canada will offer up to $1 billion in additional loan resources to the Ukrainian government through a new Administered Account for Ukraine at the International Monetary Fund (IMF), so that the government can continue to operate. Canada worked with the government of Ukraine, the IMF, and other IMF member countries to develop this facility and encourage allies and partners to participate.

Canada profoundly condemns the appalling atrocities by Russian armed forces in Bucha and other Ukrainian towns. The attacks on civilian infrastructure and murders of civilians and non-combatants constitute grave violations of international humanitarian law.

Canada led in the referral of the situation in Ukraine to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in concert with other ICC member states as a result of numerous allegations of serious international crimes committed by Russian forces in Ukraine, including war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. Canada will not spare any effort to ensure that violations of international law in Ukraine are investigated, evidence is gathered, and perpetrators are held to account.

Ukraine filed an application with the International Court of Justice to establish that Russia has no lawful basis to take action in and against Ukraine for the purpose of preventing and punishing any purported genocide. The Court granted provisional measures, including ordering Russia to cease its military operations in Ukraine. Canada welcomed the Court’s order and demanded that President Putin withdraw his forces immediately.

Further, Canada, and 44 other participating States, invoked the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe’s Moscow Mechanism to establish a fact-finding mission to Ukraine to report on the human rights and humanitarian impacts of Russia’s illegal invasion. Canada is also supportive of the ongoing work of the independent investigation commission mandated by the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) to investigate and gather evidence.

The Government of Canada is engaging in intense diplomacy within NATO and the G7, the UN, and with the EU and the broader international community to build support and solidarity for Ukraine. The Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister, and the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Defence, and International Development have all heavily engaged in these efforts.

Canada co-sponsored and strongly advocated for three UN General Assembly resolutions to condemn Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, to censure the resulting humanitarian consequences, and most recently, to suspend Russia from the HRC. These historic resolutions demonstrated the international community’s strong commitment to defending the UN Charter and the rules-based international system. The April 7 vote on the “Suspension of the rights of membership of the Russian Federation in the Human Rights Council” passed with the necessary two-thirds majority vote, excluding abstentions and non-votes. Russia’s HRC membership term, which was set to expire in 2023, was therefore suspended. This sent a strong message that the international community will hold Russia accountable for its human rights violations and abuses in Ukraine. As a result, Russia announced its withdrawal from the HRC.

Canada also voted in favour of resolutions in support of Ukraine at the Organization of American States, the HRC, UNESCO, the International Labour Organization and l'Organisation internationale de la Francophonie. Canada was actively engaged in outreach for the Special Session of the Food and Agriculture Organization on April 8, during which a decision was adopted condemning Russian aggression and its consequences on global food security.

Canada continues to explore all available options to hold Russia accountable, including censuring and isolating Russia in international forums in coordination with likeminded partners. Canada will continue to assess and prioritize where and how to act against Russia.

To assist Ukrainians fleeing the war and to help ease the burden on Ukraine’s neighbouring countries, the Government of Canada announced two new immigration streams: the temporary Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel, launched on March 17, 2022, and a special permanent residence stream for family reunification (permanent, and in development).

On March 11, 2022, the Prime Minister announced that Canada was investing an additional $117 million to implement Canada’s new immigration measures to expedite the processing of applications and to provide support to newcomers once they arrive in Canada. As of April 24, more than 20, 000 Ukrainian citizens and returning Canadian permanent residents of Ukrainian origin have arrived in Canada. Temporary federal support to help Ukrainians settle in their new communities will include language training, services to help access the labour market, as well as information about and orientation to life in Canada. On April 9, 2022, the Prime Minister announced an additional series of measures to make coming to Canada easier, including targeted charter flights for Ukrainians, short-term income support to ensure basic needs are met, and temporary hotel accommodation for up to two weeks.

Under the authority of the Export and Import Permits Act and as per Canada’s commitment to support Ukraine’s self-defence, the Government of Canada is making every effort to expedite the export permit process for controlled items destined to appropriate consignees and end-users in Ukraine. Canada continues to ensure that exports of controlled goods and technology are conducted lawfully and that all permit applications are reviewed on a case-by-case basis under Canada’s risk assessment framework, including against the Arms Trade Treaty criteria that are enshrined in Canada’s Export and Import Permits Act. During the review process, particular attention is given to the nature of the item, the region of destination, the purpose and intended use of the item, the record and behaviour of the stated consignee(s) and/or end-users of the item, and the possibility of unauthorized diversion.

With respect to Russia, Canada has stopped the issuance of new permits for the export and brokering of controlled military, strategic, and dual-use goods and technology destined to Russia, and cancelled valid permits. Similar restrictions have been in place for Belarus since November 2020.

All options for future action remain on the table. Together with the international community and working with the Government of Ukraine, Canada will continue to call on President Putin to end his war, withdraw his troops and military assets from Ukraine, and choose diplomacy.

Canada is unwavering in its commitment to Ukraine and will continue to support its government and people as they defend their sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence. Together with our allies, we will ensure Russia’s actions do not go unpunished.

Presented to the House of Commons
Michael Kram (Regina—Wascana)
April 1, 2022 (Petition No. 441-00336)
Government response tabled
May 16, 2022
Photo - Michael Kram
Regina—Wascana
Conservative Caucus
Saskatchewan

Only validated signatures are counted towards the total number of signatures.

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