This week, I changed much of the tech behind this site. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

House of Commons Hansard #31 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was ukrainian.

Topics

UkraineEmergency Debate

10:45 p.m.

Conservative

Nina Grewal Conservative Fleetwood—Port Kells, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise on behalf of the constituents of Fleetwood--Port Kells to participate in the debate this evening.

Very few topics that come up for debate in this place are more important than democracy. The debate this evening is about the very heart of the democratic process itself, the free and fair election of a nation's leader.

We are all watching the drama in Ukraine unfold before us. What began a few weeks ago with the first round of presidential elections has brought us to today with tens of thousands of Ukrainian citizens in Independent Square and elsewhere demanding that their democratically chosen president be recognized.

Most of us understand the background here. The media has provided ample coverage of the events in Ukraine over the past number of days. The first round of elections was strongly criticized for falling below international standards for free and fair elections. International observers, including Canadians, warned that this run-off round had been even worse.

Among the international observers on the ground in Ukraine were our own colleagues, the member for Edmonton East and the member for Etobicoke Centre as well as David Collenette and other former members who have called the results everything from outright robbery to outright theft and fraud.

This situation is very disturbing. Democracy is a fragile thing. In order for it to succeed, it requires a kind of social contract. It requires that all the participants agree to be bound by the results regardless of who wins. The key to this wonderful process is that in addition to everyone agreeing to be bound by the results, everyone must be assured that the process is free, fair and open.

We may not give it a great deal of extra thought here in Canada, but running free, fair and open elections is not as easy as it sounds. All we have to do is think back to the 1995 referendum in Quebec to remind ourselves just how important each and every vote is and how important it is that the process be seen to be legitimate.

We are hearing reports of all manners of abuse in Ukraine. We are hearing of ballot box stuffing, widespread abuse of absentee ballots, large scale busing of voters to other districts, the use of pens with disappearing ink, the use of acid in ballot boxes to destroy ballots, militia stationed inside polling places in contravention of election laws, attempts to substitute fake ballot boxes, and the list goes on. We are also hearing about 100% turnouts in other districts which were outside the bounds of the statistical mean.

It is abundantly clear from enough different and impartial sources, both Canadian and international, that there is no way in which we can interpret the results of the Ukrainian presidential election as anything but unacceptable.

There is an important point to be made here about these observers. As David Collenette noted this afternoon in an interview from London on CBC Newsworld, the observers have no preference for either candidate. They have no job at stake, they have nothing to gain or lose, and no power hangs in the balance for them. Their only interest is in seeing that the process is conducted fairly and openly without interference, and that the result can be said to be legitimate, regardless of the outcome.

In other words, their only job was to give a thumbs-up or a thumbs down on how the mechanics of the election was run. In this case it is pretty clear that it was a thumbs down.

I would like to thank the Deputy Prime Minister for making it perfectly clear to us this afternoon that Canada in no way recognizes the result in Ukraine. With one million Ukrainian Canadians watching this situation closely, many with family involved on the ground, it was important that the government send a crystal clear signal to Canada and the world that we stand with the Ukrainian people and their desire for a free, open and fair electoral result.

This is about more than a stolen election however. The implications of the results in this situation have global implications. As my colleagues have noted, we are concerned that the process in Ukraine could have consequences well beyond Ukraine itself.

After over a decade of steady progress in eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, we have observed that the trend is toward greater democracy and integration with the rest of the world.

There is a hope for reform of institutions at all levels in the wider region as a whole. It is clear from all available evidence that the citizens of Ukraine themselves agreed and were expressing their will to continue the move in that direction.

This result is clearly an attempt by the sitting prime minister to reverse that trend by manipulating the process to get himself elected president. Rather than embrace democracy by campaigning fairly and openly for the position, this pretender has attempted to subvert the process and steal the election.

The truly sad thing about the state of affairs is that it is the nation and the people of Ukraine who will ultimately suffer. Their desire for a better and more prosperous future either as part of the European Union or simply as a more advanced and stable democracy is in serious jeopardy.

At this point we do not yet know what the consequences for Ukraine will be, but if the situation is unresolved the fallout could be very serious indeed.

World opinion has largely condemned the results. The European leaders are unanimous as is the United States that these results are unacceptable. All have warned Ukraine that unless the results are overturned and an acceptable solution is found, Ukraine will find itself isolated and alone.

In addition to the damage this is doing to Ukraine and its reputation this could have serious repercussions for Russia as well. It is clear that Russian President Putin has allied himself with the side accused of orchestrating the electoral fraud. Far from being the bad old days of the Soviet era, this is supposed to be the new and enlightened era for the former Soviet Union.

President Putin himself was democratically elected by a fairly comfortable margin and the world congratulated him for it at the time. However, indicating his preference as he has done, President Putin risks putting in jeopardy his own country's fragile economy as well as its standing in world affairs. I would think that Russia has enough internal problems of its own that it would scrupulously avoid passing judgment or try to influence the elections of its neighbour.

I am glad that Canada is taking a stand on this very important issue. This is the time to defend the core principles of democracy that we hold so dear. We cannot permit the fragile seed of democracy that has taken hold in eastern Europe to be uprooted and destroyed by the base desires of a small group.

As I said earlier, this is about more than Ukraine. This is about democracy and how we view it. This is about whether we as Canadians are willing to stand with Ukrainians and defend their right to choose their own leaders. This is about whether Canada is willing to stand with the world community in condemning the conduct of this election. This is about whether we are willing to do more than pay lip service to the cause of democracy. This is as much about who we are as democrats as it is about democracy in Ukraine.

To the more than one million Canadians of Ukrainian descent, I urge them to keep the faith and let their relatives in Ukraine know they are not alone. Let them know that Canada stands with them in deploring the outcome of this election.

To our own government, I again say thank you for taking a stand on this very important issue. The House stands with the government and we support its efforts to find a solution that recognizes the democratic will of the Ukrainian people.

UkraineEmergency Debate

10:55 p.m.

Conservative

Gurmant Grewal Conservative Newton—North Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise on behalf of the constituents of Newton—North Delta to participate in this emergency debate on the Ukrainian election.

The constituency of Newton—North Delta is a very multicultural riding and has a huge population of Ukrainians who, I am sure, would want their member of Parliament to participate in this debate on their behalf.

On Sunday the people of Ukraine went to the polls in an historic election to choose a new president and determine the direction of their nation. Unfortunately, it appears that government authorities denied the Ukrainian people a free choice. The first round of elections, which took place on October 31, was marred by fraud and ballot irregularities.

Rather than correcting those serious deficiencies, reports indicate that things only worsened on the second ballot. My colleague, the member for Edmonton East, is taking part in a University of Alberta project observing Ukraine's election. He personally saw examples of ballot fraud while touring polling stations over the past few days.

According to other international observers, including the International Republican Institute, IRI, and the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe, election day was marred by voter list problems, multiple voting, interference by unauthorized persons in the electoral process and expulsion of observers and journalists from the polling stations.

The IRI found that in a number of polling stations the percentage of votes certified by the central elections commission exceeded 100% of the total votes. How can the votes cast exceed 100%? It naturally shows that there are some irregularities going on. These are serious irregularities that can call into question the election result which has seen Ukraine's elections commission declare Viktor Yanukovich the winner of the presidential runoff election.

Yanukovich had 49.46% of the vote, while Viktor Yushchenko was named on 46.6% of the ballots. Thousands of Yushchenko's voters have packed the capital for the past three days in freezing temperatures. Kiev, Lviv and several other cities announced that they would not accept the result of the vote and would recognize only Yushchenko as the winner.

Ukraine's outgoing president has offered to hold talks to end the crisis but a Yushchenko ally said that the only thing to discuss was a transfer of power to the opposition leader.

Ukraine, a country of about 50 million people, is a parliamentary democracy with separate executive, judicial and legislative branches. Previous presidential elections have gone relatively smoothly. In July 1994, Leonid Kuchma was elected as Ukraine's second president in a free and fair election. Kuchma was re-elected in November 1999 to another five year term with 56% of the votes.

International observers criticized aspects of that election, especially slanted media coverage, however the outcome of the vote was not called into question. Regrettably, this year's election has not gone so smoothly.

International condemnation has been swift. American secretary of state, Colin Powell, said that if the Ukranian government does not act immediately and responsibly, there will be consequences for the two countries' relationship and for Ukraine's hopes for a Euro-Atlantic integration and for individuals responsible for perpetrating fraud.

European commission president, Jose Manuel Barroso, warned of consequences for the European Union's political and trade relations with Ukraine if its government does not allow a serious, objective review of the election.

We also note that the Pope has commented on the election.

Today I received a letter from Mychailo Wynnyckyj, PhD who writes from Kiev. He said that during the last 12 hours he had been asked by five people why the Canadian government was not saying anything.

He said, “My fellow Canadians. I am ashamed that I have few answers. Where is our government now? It is not enough to say that the election was a fraud. Ukraine's election was stolen by Prime Minister Yanukovych and his band of thugs. And now there is a very real possibility that this man may be proclaimed Ukraine's president during the next few days”.

Dr. Wynnyckyj continued, “Canada must mobilize the international community. The Canadian government must not only condemn the widespread fraud of the election, but must also state that Canada does not recognize Yanukovych as Ukraine's legitimate president. During this morning's demonstration on Kiev's central square, Viktor Yushchenko publicly stated that he was prepared to hold a second runoff election if a new Central Electoral Commission is appointed, and Ukraine's election law is rewritten to make fraud impossible. Yushchenko's olive branch was met with cynicism this evening by the Central Electoral Commission”.

He went on to say, “My dear Canadians, Ukraine needs your help. Mobilize. The Canadian government can and should help, but only you can pressure Ottawa to do the right thing. Refuse to recognize Yanukovych as Ukraine's president”.

Today the Deputy Prime Minister stated that Canada has rejected the results of Ukraine's election, calling it serious and significant electoral fraud. She warned that Canadian relations with Ukraine could be cut off if authorities there do not produce non-fraudulent election results.

It is generally a mistake for the Canadian government to interfere in the internal affairs of independent states. However, we have a duty to promote democracy.

In Canada we are very fortunate that we have democracy, even though we are disturbed by the way the current Prime Minister pushed out former Prime Minister Chrétien. Some political scientists call it a civilized coup. These things do happen in Canada as well.

I remember when I spoke to the Elections Canada bill in the previous parliament how the governing party, which had a majority, tried to stop the smaller parties through that legislation. I spoke to that. On the other hand, I still think Canadians are generally fortunate to live in a democracy, particularly so, having lived in the west African country of Liberia. My family and I lived in that country for many years before migrating to Canada. Before that, I lived in the largest democracy in the world, India. I went from living in the largest democracy to living in a third world dictatorship and then back to living in a democracy. I can relate to what is the value of democracy and to what is the value of free, fair and transparent elections.

History teaches that the surest way to ensure peace is through democracy, good governance and rule of law, not by men.

I would state in conclusion that for the first time in human history, more than half of the world's nations are democratic or moving toward republican government. We have witnessed the swiftest advance of freedom in the 2,500 year history of democracy. There are 40 functional democracies and almost 100 established or emerging democracies in the world.

Despite the efforts of the few to deny democracy in Ukraine, freedom is not dead in that country. We are a democratic country and the lawmakers in this country. Most participate in democracy in action and encourage democracy around the world.

UkraineEmergency Debate

11:05 p.m.

Ahuntsic Québec

Liberal

Eleni Bakopanos LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Social Development (Social Economy)

Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for Yukon.

Ukrainians are living through an historic moment and we are living that moment with them. The presidential election was a great opportunity for Ukraine to show that it had developed into a fully democratic country.

Unfortunately, the events we witnessed on the weekend have made a mockery of the election. The voting can in no way be considered democratic. The problems that occurred were not minor, nor were they technical. The international community has been led to conclude that it was a daring attempt by the Ukrainian authorities to steal the election for their candidate, Prime Minister Yanukovich.

The list of electoral violations is long. A lot of the hon. members in the House have listed them. The following are some of the things the international election monitors saw: fraudulent proxy voting; multiple voting; ballot box stuffing by administrative officials and electoral commission members; violence, threats and intimidations against voters and international election observers; voter list manipulation; and ballot box destruction and vandalism.

Those are only the most blatant examples of fraud that were reported by international observers, including our colleagues in the House, especially the member for Etobicoke Centre who saw firsthand the lack of respect for the democratic process.

These many instances of serious and significant electoral fraud I just cited are neither minor nor technical. They are serious and significant. Why am I speaking on this topic? Because I sat in the Chair as an assistant deputy speaker and as one of the assistant deputy speakers I was involved in a process in which, through our CIDA project, we were trying to equip the Ukrainian parliament with certain tools to help them along in terms of procedure and democratic practices in the House.

I visited the Ukraine parliament on at least two occasions and had discussions with some of the Ukrainian parliamentarians and staff who worked for the parliament of the Ukraine. It was a very enlightening experience. There was a mood in the Ukraine parliament to move along the democratic process. It looked to Canada as a model of the type of parliament, the type of democratic process and system that it wanted in its own country.

I can now visualize all the young people who worked with me on that Canada-Ukraine project. Some members have said that they were in touch with some of those young people who had actually come on another program in this Parliament, the parliamentary internship program. I also have had two students from the Ukraine in my office. I have had some experience with these young people and know of the hope these young people had that their country, Ukraine, was on the right road toward democracy.

I received an e-mail from one of those young students who, unfortunately, feels lost at the moment. After all the effort he put into learning about our democratic process and how his country could move along and become perhaps much like Canada, a country where democracy and elections are held in a democratic way, he felt that he had no hope for his country.

I feel sad tonight, as do a lot of my colleagues who had invested their time in terms of teaching these young students in the internship program about how we do things in the House. I feel sad today for that young man and all the young people with whom I worked over the last two and a half years. That is why I am here speaking on behalf of what the young people are looking for in terms of the future, what they want for their country, Ukraine. There was so much hope but these elections, unfortunately, cut that hope down. That is a sad thing.

I want Canadians to know that we have worked as a country, as a government and as a Parliament with the parliament of Ukraine to give all parliamentarians, as well as the administrative staff and some of the young people, the tools they needed to have a properly run democratic parliament.

Today I am sad for all of those young people and the hundreds of Canadians of Ukrainian origin who also share our anger and frustration that the investment we have made over the years, in terms of helping Ukraine along the democratic road, was stolen away from the young people, the people of Ukraine and from all of us.

I am really very disappointed. I am disappointed that these election results show that there has been fraud, so much fraud that Canada must react immediately.

The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe has declared that the election does not meet democratic standards. The Canadian international observers have listed many offences committed during the voting and in the counting of ballots. They noted cases of violence, widespread intimidation and an improbably high turnout in certain regions.

I am troubled by this because for years this is exactly what we have been trying to do: reach an agreement with Ukraine to establish democratic standards.

What should we do? That is the purpose of our debate here tonight. What should Canada do? CIDA has provided $235 million in aid since 1991. We should not abandon this investment. We must invest in democracy and the Ukrainian parliament.

We must act and, tonight, as parliamentarians, we demand that Canada respond. And the Deputy Prime Minister said today in the House that Canada would be doing just that.

Tonight, we are going to do something for the good of the young people who came here in the hopes of having a fully democratic country. These young people are counting on us, counting on Canada. We have a democratic system that we often take for granted. These young people are counting on us; they are counting on us to do what is necessary with our international partners.

I also mentioned that we often work with the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe. We must continue to work with the organizations that are already on the ground and who have helped Ukraine get to the point it was at before this election.

As the Minister of Justice said, we cannot countenance the fraudulent actions in this election. We must continue to work with Ukraine.

Canada has been a long-time friend of Ukraine, as I said earlier. That friendship we hold dearly. We hold it dearly because there are Canadians of Ukrainian origin who have contributed to the fact that we have as great a democracy as we have and who counted on Canada to help their country of origin move along the road of democracy.

For Canadians and for those young people I have worked with, we have to continue to push for a multilateral force, in my opinion, both in the legal part of it and perhaps in other measures. I am hoping that perhaps there will be some discussion at NATO, at the OECD and at the United Nations and that we as the community that Canada is a part of can work together with certain other bodies to assure that these elections are declared undemocratic, that the proper results of this election are in fact brought to light.

It is for the Ukrainian people, especially the young people who have been to our country and have visited our Parliament and who have been working very hard to ensure that there will be a democracy in their country, that I stand in the House today. I want to tell them that I hope they know, and I will make sure they know, that Canadian parliamentarians will help them to ensure that democracy does return to their country and we will continue to assist them.

UkraineEmergency Debate

11:15 p.m.

Yukon Yukon

Liberal

Larry Bagnell LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, this evening I would like to give a message to Viktor Yanukovych. If he has any friends who are watching us tonight, I would ask them to put a cassette in the TV, record this and pass on this message him.

While they are doing that, I again would like to commend all the members of the House, as I think others have, who worked very quickly. Often government cannot work quickly, but in a very important human situation all the members of the House put aside any differences and have unanimously supported Canada's view on this very difficult situation.

I thank those people I implored a few months ago to free up as many observers from our caucus as possible. They worked toward that. Of course I thank the member for Etobicoke Centre, our caucus chair and the Deputy Prime Minister for working so quickly on this.

I would say to Mr. Yanukovych that I assume he would like to be a leader of a great nation and to be a great leader. Of course Ukraine is a great nation of wonderful people and anyone would be proud to be their leader. I know that if things were not as they should be, he would certainly want to distance himself from that, find out what was wrong and fix it so he would be known as a great leader of a great people.

Therefore, I have to say that there are problems he may not be aware of that the people surrounding him may not have told him about, but certainly I assume he would want to fix them.

First of all, in the recent election, intimidation went on in very many places. That included the detention of observers from my country who had volunteered to help and the confiscation of their passports. In any nation in the world this would be totally abhorrent activity, and I am sure Mr. Yanukovych would want to distance himself from such activity.

More than that, during this election that just occurred there was actually falsification of lists. The names of people who had no legal right to vote were added to those lists. I know that if Mr. Yanukovych were aware of that he would want to fix it and search out who might have done that. It was not a small number. As well, there were hundreds of names added to those lists in poll after poll. If he adds that up, he would see that thousands and thousands of names were added to lists illegally. I know that no leader would ever want to be associated with that.

Any leader would know that it would result in a totally illegal election where there would be no credibility for the leader. Any leader would certainly want to find out what was wrong and find out who was putting such a blight on the electoral process of a great people and a great nation.

But that is not all. Now evidence has come of which Mr. Yanukovych may not be aware. There was actually falsification of ballot boxes. There were ballot boxes that were not legally part of the election. They were added so that more votes could be put in. More than that, there were mobile ballot boxes that were taken without the correct objective. Election observers and people who should have been monitoring them were taken around, and who knows what happened to them? I know that Mr. Yanukovych would be just aghast to find that out. There are so many things that I have already mentioned that he must be sickened at how this has gone awry in a totally incredible illegal process that of course will never stand up and that he would never want to be associated with.

There is more than that. In the next instance, the observers, the legal people asked to come in and help, have found that--and it is almost too hard to repeat it because it is almost incredible that this could happen in the modern world--people actually put disappearing ink on ballots in areas where a particular candidate would be known to do well. It disappeared, all those ballots did not count and of course that particular candidate was terribly disadvantaged.

Then there is the printing. This is another thing that I know Mr. Yanukovych will want to fix when he dissolves this whole process to start again. It is the fact that there were absentee ballots made for people to vote with who could not vote there. On the surface, it sounds like a very logical thing to do. But the thousands and thousands of these absentee ballots that were made were under no control so that they could just be put in the boxes in great numbers. I am sure Mr. Yanukovych would be aghast to hear that it actually happened in the election in his country. He certainly would not want that reflection on himself or his people.

I am sure Mr. Yanukovych would find it hard to believe, now that it has been verified, that there were busloads of people with voting credentials going from poll to poll and voting again and again.

Then there is the deprivation of the rights of observers. They volunteered in good faith for the Ukrainian people. People came from around the world to help out. They were physically removed from the locations they were supposed to be in. Under those circumstances, obviously, there was not even a real election.

However, most of all, I think Mr. Yanukovych will be most upset to find out that this was not fraud by a few rogue individuals he is now going to be looking for. I know he is going to try to root them out, but it was not simply a few fanatical helpers of a candidate trying to do this in isolation. It has now been proven that there was central coordination of all this fraud.

If Mr. Yanukovych needs help when he is trying to find the people who have tried to disgrace him, we can help with the head of the committee for the organization and methodical work of the central electoral commission.

Let me say to Mr. Yanukovych that I know this may be very disappointing for him that this might have happened in his country, but when we add all these things together, which is an incredible, almost unbelievable list, the experts calculate that this could be over three million illegal votes.

I know that if Mr. Yanukovych wants to be a great leader what he will be doing is trying to root out those who caused and perpetuated such a catastrophe on his nation. I know he will want to bring them before the criminal justice system and let it deal with them. Then I know he will want to reconstitute an electoral process, having learned from all these mistakes and having found ways to prevent the possibility of such fraud ever occurring again.

I know that anyone who wants to be a great leader of a nation and a champion would put in that type of process with observers again, but with systems where that could not possibly happen again, now that we have learned what happened. It would be done so that a fair and democratic election commensurate with the fairness of the people of Ukraine could happen. All the candidates, including Mr. Yanukovych, if he chose to enter such an election, could be great candidates because, win or lose, they would participate in a fair process.

In closing, I want to say one thing to the people of the Ukraine. No matter what our heritage is, no matter what people's religions are, no matter what our history, we all have something in common: we love freedom.

Let me say to the people of the Ukraine, including the young students who have written to my colleague by e-mail and the young students who dream of democracy, they can rest assured that as long as they want it they will ultimately have that freedom. In their darkest days, when it is hard to overcome the tragedies and carry on, I say to them to keep up their strength knowing that the free people of the whole world are behind them and that they will overcome and will one day soon be free.

UkraineEmergency Debate

11:25 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Komarnicki Conservative Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

Mr. Speaker, I will be relatively brief. I will be sharing my time with the member for Regina—Qu'Appelle.

I felt it was important to add my voice to what has been said in this House respecting the grave travesty and tragedy that is taking place in Ukraine today.

I was very heartened to see in this House the non-partisan stand this afternoon in question period. Both sides rose to speak to the issue and to endorse free elections and democracy. The very essence and fundamentals of democracy is that each person has an opportunity to vote and to make that vote count, to ensure that the elections are free, that they are not interfered with and that the end result can be accepted by the people. The people must decide and not something that is done that is unusual.

We find and we hear all types of reports where there were not just simple or technical breaches, but there were substantive breaches. These were breaches that essentially changed the end numbers and what could be the result.

It is my view that what happens has to be transparent, open and accepted by all the people. We find not only the people of Ukraine rejecting what happened, but also the people of this House are. Nationally and internationally voices are added together. One voice will not easily be heard. A number of voices will be heard. When nations speak they will have an effect.

It is heartening for me to see that this House has taken such a positive stand and has been a positive voice in what is about to happen. When history is in the making, one never knows what the end result will be. However, we do know that what is unfolding is very significant and important and it will have a lot of impact in that region. Either democracy will prevail or it will fail. If the people there resist, if they work hard and if they are on the right track, they will succeed. It will be only a matter of time.

We want the people of Ukraine to know that they ought to be encouraged, and we are here speaking to encourage them. We are taking a firm stand. We are working hard with journalists, politicians and within the system to effect change.

I know there are tanks and soldiers there. However, I would suspect that they would use channels of persuasion, negotiation and public, international and government pressure to change the results of what happened, even if it means another election. I must ask the people there to continue to press on.

The young people of that nation have a future and that future is rooted in democracy. There is hope. That hope must not be lost and we want them to know that we stand with them in their battle for democracy and for what is right.

UkraineEmergency Debate

11:25 p.m.

Conservative

Andrew Scheer Conservative Regina—Qu'Appelle, SK

Mr. Speaker, I too want to add my voice to the unanimous sentiments of the House in condemning the actions of those who would usurp the democratic process in Ukraine.

As anyone in Saskatchewan knows, there is a large Ukrainian community there. A very large number of immigrants came to Saskatchewan and helped build that province. As Saskatchewan celebrates its centenary in 2005, we recognize that community in particular played such a key role in building Saskatchewan. Almost every small town in Saskatchewan has some link with the Ukrainian community, so there is a very significant emotional attachment with the people. In my riding in particular, across Canada and in large cities like Toronto, the Ukrainian population has come out. I know back home people are very concerned as well, and that is important for us to realize.

Canada needs to stand and protect democracy around the world. That is why I am encouraged by the debate tonight. We need to send a clear message to the world and to those who would usurp the democratic process, like in Ukraine, that they stand alone. Those people who would take away the rights of voters, who would usurp the process, regardless of the country in which they are, need to know from the government and the country that they stand alone in that.

People of eastern Europe and Ukraine have for generations lived under the cloud of tyranny and dictatorship, going back throughout the Soviet years and during the war when the threat of fascism was so close. Finally, for the past couple of decades, we have seen democracy get a toehold and start to entrench itself there. This is a direct threat on those accomplishments.

On that note, I want to reiterate that Canada needs to send a clear message to the world and to those in Ukraine who would usurp the democratic process that we are opposed to that. We believe in due process. To those people of Ukrainian descent living in Saskatchewan, in Regina--Qu'Appelle and throughout Canada, everyone in the House thinks this is a matter of great importance.

UkraineEmergency Debate

11:30 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

I am satisfied that the debate has now been concluded. I declare the motion carried.

Accordingly the House stands adjourned until tomorrow at 10 a.m., pursuant to Standing Order 24(1).

(The House adjourned at 11:31 p.m.)