Emergency Debate: Ukraine

Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, tonight I think members of the House are united, as we often are, because we are together, as Canadians, concerned, at a level that absolutely transcends our politics, with the plight of the people of Ukraine. We need to know that everything we can do as Canadians is put to bear for the cause of democracy and freedom so that the Ukrainian people, who had a reasonable expectation of being able to align themselves with the European Union, will not be pre-empted from that desire by something that does not represent their will, their concerns, and their desire to align themselves with democracy.

It is not quite midnight, but it is late. I would like to ask my hon. colleague, on behalf of those of us in the opposition benches here tonight, what we, as parliamentarians and Canadians united, can do to support those Ukrainians who want nothing more than what we enjoy here in Canada: the right of free speech, the right of democratic assembly, and the right to align themselves with the cause of democracy and freedom.

Hon. Laurie Hawn:  Mr. Speaker, in response, I would say that we can do what we are doing now, which is standing up and loudly and clearly expressing the concerns of Canadians of Ukrainian descent, of which there are approximately 1.3 million, many of them in my riding, and Canadian Ukrainians across the country. We cannot stand by. There are measures we can take. We cannot take kinetic measures, such as invading Ukraine and measures like that, but we can certainly do other things. Those are all on the table. They do not necessarily play themselves out in public.

I go back to my previous life. When I was commanding an F-18 squadron in Europe, just before the wall fell, I took the members of my squadron on the ground to the Berlin Wall so that they could see why we were, in fact, deployed to Germany and why it was important that we, as Canadians, did what we were doing. There was silence. I cannot remember the name of the town. It was a little town in East Germany. It was dead silent. It was a town of about half a million people. We could hear dogs bark and the odd car, but it was otherwise silent. The place was virtually dead. That is what we cannot allow to happen in Ukraine.

We cannot be prepared to do it the way we were prepared to do it in central Europe at that time, but we can certainly do what we are doing today, which is standing up, loudly and clearly, and taking what measures we can, along with our allies, the Americans, the Europeans, and everybody else, to make it clear to Yanukovych and the thugs he works with and the thugs, frankly, he works for in other countries above his pay grade, that we will not stand for it. We will do whatever we can to make life better for the Ukrainian people.