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e-3917 (Foreign affairs)

E-petition
Initiated by Iuliia Ilashchuk from Ottawa, Ontario

Original language of petition: English

Petition to the Government of Canada

Whereas:
  • The Russian Federation has launched an unprovoked war against the people of Ukraine;
  • The Russian Federation has committed multiple war crimes against the people of Ukraine, including crimes against peace and crimes against humanity;
  • Russian President Putin has threatened all other nations, including Canada, that are assisting the people of Ukraine in their valiant defence of their country;
  • Russian President Putin has put nuclear deterrent forces on alert, which is an unprecedented and dangerous escalation;
  • The Russian Federation poses a great and immediate risk to Ukraine and her allies;
  • Canada is home to 1.4 million citizens of Ukrainian decent and has a deep and unflinching commitment to the people of Ukraine, such as being the first country to recognize their independence in 1991;
  • Ukraine has supported NATO’s operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq; and
  • Ukraine also contributed to NATO's counter-piracy operation Ocean Shield.
We, the undersigned, Citizens of Canada, call upon the Government of Canada to:
1. Provide additional bulletproof vests and helmets to the Ukrainian armed forces and territorial defence forces;
2. Immediately put the Canadian Armed Forces on high operational readiness in case of rapid deployment;
3. Immediately provide further lethal weapons and supplies to the defence of Ukraine;
4. Immediately urge NATO allies and Ukraine-friendly countries to close the airspace over Ukraine; and
5. Deploy peacekeeping troops in Ukraine, provide military assistance to Kyiv and support the Ukrainian people.

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 like-minded 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. Canada has committed over $262 million in military aid to Ukraine, including M-777 artillery guns, which Canadian troops are training Ukrainian forces on, 155 mm ammunition, small arms, Carl Gustav anti-tank weapons, anti-tank rocket launchers, drone cameras, Roshel smart armoured vehicles, de-mining equipment and satellite imagery. 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 is 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 specifically, PSOPs has approved more than $10 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 over 1070 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 additional individuals and entities in the defence and financial sectors that were directly or indirectly supporting the Russian regime.

Canada prohibited the export to Russia of certain luxury goods and goods that could be used in the manufacturing of weapons and the provision of 28 services to the Russian oil, gas and chemical industries. These include technical, management, accounting, and advertising services vital for the operation of these industries, which account for about 50% of Russia’s federal budget revenues. We also prohibited the import of certain luxury goods from Russia.

Canada will complement these measures by banning sanctioned Russians from entering Canada. Legislative changes to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) have been introduced to ensure foreign nationals subject to sanctions under the Special Economic Measures Act (SEMA) are inadmissible to Canada.

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.

As per Canada’s commitments made as a member of the Russian Elites, Proxies, and Oligarchs (REPO) multilateral taskforce, Canada has proposed legislative amendments that would allow for the seizure and forfeiture of assets belonging to sanctioned individuals and entities. The proceeds generated from the sale of these assets may be used for compensation to victims, the reconstruction of affected states, and the restoration of international peace and security. Canada will be a leader in this sanctions space once these new measures come into force. On the humanitarian assistance front, since January 2022, the Government of Canada has provided $245 million in humanitarian assistance to UN, Red Cross, and NGO partners to respond to the humanitarian impacts of Russia’s invasion in Ukraine and neighbouring countries. This includes support for the World Food Programme in Ukraine to address food security needs, as well as 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. Canada also sent 20 cargo flights with more than 377,000 essential relief items and financed the deployment of humanitarian exports to support the UN and Res Cross responses in Ukraine and neighbouring countries.

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 is addressing emerging priorities, including supporting the resilience of Ukraine's government institutions and civil society organizations so they are better able to meet the needs of Ukrainians, in particular women and vulnerable groups. In addition, Canada recently allocated $7 million in development assistance to United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to support those impacted by Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV), as well as $2 million for the completion of a dairy plant in western Ukraine, to support food security efforts. 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 bilateral loans to enhance Ukraine’s economic resilience in the midst of Russian aggression, of which $500 million has already been provided. Furthermore, Canada has offered up to $1.25 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 referred 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. To support the ICC investigations, Canada deployed an additional seven RCMP officers to the ICC and announced $1 million in funding to augment the court’s ability to investigate and prosecute conflict-related sexual violence and crimes against children. Canada is also supporting the deployment of two experts from the UN Women roster to support the UN Human Rights Council Commission of Inquiry (COI) on issues of sexual violence and gender.

Canada coordinated a joint statement, issued on May 20 with 43 signatories, expressing support for Ukraine’s application against Russia at the International Court of Justice. Ukraine’s application seeks 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. Canada also welcomed the Court’s provisional measures order ordering Russia to cease its military operations in Ukraine, 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 and a subsequent follow-up 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 violations of human rights and international humanitarian law in the context of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.

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 like-minded 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 June 7, almost 40, 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. As of June 2, three charter flights from Poland have arrived in Winnipeg, Montreal, and Halifax.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has resulted in the widespread destruction of cities and civilian infrastructure due to missile and artillery strikes, as well as bombing by Russian airplanes. Only the UN Security Council (UNSC) can make a legally binding decision that all member States must refrain from flight to, from or through the airspace of a specific State or region, pursuant to its powers under Chapter VII. In the current situation, Russia, as a permanent member of the UNSC, would veto any such resolution.

Enforcing a no-fly zone is not a passive act; it would require sending aircraft and ground-based air defence systems from NATO Member States to target and possibly shoot down Russian aircraft violating the airspace in question, in order to prevent that aircraft from carrying out offensive operations on the terrain below.

This would be a use of force, making the country that conducted the strike a party to the conflict, and it would also mean that NATO Member States would become targets themselves.

NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, has stated that imposing a no-fly zone over Ukraine would “significantly escalate the war”, risking a “full-fledged war in Europe” between NATO and Russia and lead to “much more human suffering, civilian casualties, destruction”. This is why NATO Allies are providing significant support to Ukraine through sanctions, military aid and in multilateral forums, while not directly engaging in the conflict.

We will continue to support Ukraine, including by providing them with the military aid they need to defend their sovereignty and territorial integrity.

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.

Response by the Minister of National Defence

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): Bryan May

As of June 15, 2022

Canada has stood firmly with Ukraine and the Ukrainian people in the face of unwarranted Russian aggression as they fight to defend their sovereignty, freedom, and independence.

Provision of Military Funding

In September 2015, National Defence launched Operation UNIFIER, the Canadian Armed Forces military training and capacity-building mission in Ukraine. Through Operation UNIFIER, the Canadian Armed Forces trained over 33,000 members of Ukraine’s security forces, and this is the force that is now bravely defending itself against Russian forces today. 

In the wake of Russia’s recent full-scale invasion of Ukraine, National Defence has been unwavering in its support and will continue to supply Ukraine with the tools and equipment it needs to defend its sovereignty and security and to win this war.

Since February 2022, National Defence has committed $274 million in military equipment requested by Ukraine, including armoured vehicles, heavy artillery, body armour, gas masks, helmets, drone cameras, funding for high-resolution satellite imagery, anti-armour weapons systems, rocket launchers, small arms and ammunition, as well as other highly specialized pieces of military equipment. National Defence has also helped bolster Ukraine’s resilience in cyber space, in conjunction with the Communications Security Establishment. Millions of dollars’ worth of our aid has arrived in Ukraine and is making a difference on the ground at this very moment.

Moreover, Canada has committed $147.3 million of the $500 million announced in assistance to Ukraine in Budget 2022. From this funding, Canada is donating over 20,000 rounds of 155mm NATO-standard ammunition, which are compatible with the heavy artillery systems that Canada has already delivered. Canada will also provide 10 replacement barrels to enable to sustainment of these systems and to maintain their distance range and accuracy. We are working around the clock to commit military aid with the remainder of these funds.

Additionally, approximately 120 Canadian Armed Forces personnel have been deployed to Poland – under Operation REASSURANCE – to provide care and support to Ukrainian refugees fleeing violence and to support our Polish allies.

The Minister of National Defence remains in close contact with Ukraine Minister of Defence, Oleksii Reznkiov, to discuss Ukraine’s most pressing security needs and how Canada can best continue to help. Most recently, the Minister had another productive meeting with her Ukrainian counterpart during the third meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group, on the margins of NATO’s Defence Ministers’ Meeting in Brussels.

National Defence will continue to support Ukraine through strong, comprehensive military aid in collaboration with our Allies and partners. For example, Canada has deployed two tactical aircrafts to Europe to transport military equipment towards Ukraine. This includes equipment from Canada and our allies. These aircraft have delivered nearly 2 million pounds of aid so far, and this work continues every single day.

In order to maintain operational security for our personnel and Ukrainian forces, we are not providing detailed information on deliveries. Similarly, National Defence cannot publicise further details regarding future military aid due to operational security considerations.

Placing the Canadian Armed Forces on High Readiness in response to Russian Aggression

To reinforce our deterrence measures in Europe in the face of rising tensions, we announced on February 22, 2022 that Canada is increasing its military contributions in support of NATO under Operation REASSURANCE – Canada’s largest current international military operation. Our current contributions to Operation REASSURANCE include:

  • Approximately 1,455 Canadian Armed Forces Members, making it Canada’s largest military operation, including up to 695 Canadian Armed Forces members leading NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group in Latvia;
  • A Halifax-class Frigate (HMCS Montreal) deployed with Standing NATO Maritime Group 2;
  • An additional frigate, HMCS Halifax, deployed with Standing NATO Maritime Group 1.
  • 140 members of the Royal Canadian Air Force and approximately 5 CF-188 Hornet aircraft participating in NATO enhanced Air Policing on a rotational basis, and one CP-140 Aurora long range patrol aircraft; and
  • Approximately 120 CAF personnel deployed to Poland to support and care for Ukrainians fleeing violence.

Furthermore, the Canadian Armed Forces has placed 3,400 members across all branches of service at a higher state of readiness to deploy should these forces be required by NATO. Due to operational security issues, further details on the capabilities and readiness levels of the Canadian Armed Forces personnel cannot be provided.

Open for signature
March 9, 2022, at 4:14 p.m. (EDT)
Closed for signature
April 8, 2022, at 4:14 p.m. (EDT)
Presented to the House of Commons
James Bezan (Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman)
May 10, 2022 (Petition No. 441-00425)
Government response tabled
June 23, 2022
Photo - James Bezan
Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman
Conservative Caucus
Manitoba
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