NEW DEMOCRATS SUPPORT CONTINUED AND EXPANDED CANADIAN ASSISTANCE TO UKRAINE
December 5th, 2018 - 3:00pm
Randall Garrison, NDP National Defence Critic, Hélène Laverdière, NDP Foreign Affairs Critic, and Linda Duncan, NDP MP for Edmonton Strathcona, issued the following statement:
"New Democrats reaffirm their commitment to supporting Canada's assistance to Ukraine in strengthening their democratic institutions and building a lasting peace in the region.
In the spirit of sustaining peace, we call on the Liberal government to extend Operation UNIFIER. Operation UNIFIER has been instrumental in assisting Ukraine. Since 2014, Canada has provided $16M in non-lethal military aid and currently there are 200 Canadian troops offering training for the Ukrainian military and police forces. The Government of Canada should issue an early announcement on renewing Operation UNIFIER beyond its scheduled end-date of late March 2019 to send a strong statement to Russia that we will not tolerate any actions against the territorial integrity of Ukraine.
The NDP has consistently called for Canada to extend visa-free travel to Ukrainians. This is a valuable way of not only strengthening Canadian-Ukrainian relations but also an effective tool at reinforcing democratic values within Ukraine. Given that Ukraine currently has visa-free travel with the European Union and that Canada and Ukraine share a free trade agreement, it is perplexing that the Liberal government has yet to implement this policy.
Canada should also reinstate the Youth Mobility Agreement with Ukraine that allows for qualified Ukrainians to apply for travel and work within Canada for up to one year. This would be another important step at democracy-building and reinforcing our strong relationship with Ukraine.
New Democrats will continue to call on the Liberal government to place more pressure on Russia to return the detained Ukrainian sailors as well as all political prisoners. Canada must respond to these actions by strengthening sanctions against Russia and standing united with our Ukrainian allies. Continued Canadian support of Ukraine is vital to Canada's strategic interests and to the overall goal of strengthening democratic values to the region."