Mr. Chair, I will be splitting my time with the member for Edmonton Griesbach.
Abraham Lincoln once said, “Let us have faith that right makes might, and in that faith, let us, to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it.”
The conflict in Ukraine has been a clear case of right makes might. At the start of the Russian invasion, Ukraine was relatively weak, but since then, Ukrainians of all ethnic, religious, and linguistic backgrounds, the proud and generous Ukrainian diaspora, and the community of free, peace-loving nations have rallied together to help strengthen Ukrainian institutions and to give Ukraine the fighting capacity to resist foreign occupation and foreign-engineered disorder.
The sheer and evident rightness of the Ukrainian cause furnished it with support from every part of the globe, but Canada was first among those providing moral and practical support. Canada showed great leadership and insight during the Maidan and during the period that followed. We showed a proper appreciation for the role Canada can and needs to play in the world.
Let us be clear about Canada's role in the world. We are not a superpower, and it is not within our capacity or responsibility, at least at this stage in our history, to be the primary framers of great Metternichian bargains.
Canada has a different, but in many ways even more important, role in global affairs: as a nation with membership in the vast majority of important multilateral organizations; as a nation without major border conflicts, without a colonial history beyond our borders, and without the baggage that comes with present or past superpower status; and as a nation that has made and is making a good faith effort in building a diverse yet unified society through tolerance, freedom, democracy, the rule of law, and genuine reconciliation. As a nation with these characteristics, we are uniquely placed to be the conscience of the international community and to use our relationships and our history to challenge the rest of the world to follow the path we have chosen.
There are some, even in this place, who want Canada to remain true to its values at home but to downplay them on the world stage, to play nice with other countries to increase our favour among them in the councils of the world. I believe that this path would be a betrayal of our values and of our responsibilities. We must be the gadfly at the hindquarters of global institutions, principled and personally disinterested, always prodding our partners to do better.
This is what we have done on the Ukraine file, speaking the truth about the current Russian regime with a frankness our American and European partners are sometimes unwilling or unable to match, but in the process driving a consensus that defends international human rights and the rule of law.
There are also those who believe that Canada can speak without acting. We do not have unlimited capacity, but if we are to be a leader in the world, then we must put our money where our mouth is. We must show that right makes might and play a role in delivering that might.
The government has spoken in the past about having a leaner military. In this time of global danger and uncertainty, the world needs more Canada, not less. We cannot be there for Ukraine and for our other allies over the long term unless we are making investments in our military today that will ensure that we have the capacity to play a role over the long term. We cannot make commitments if we are not prepared to make commitments. I hope that Wednesday's budget will see the government change course and start to invest in the defence of Canada and Canadian values.
Now, in the opposition, we will always take a responsible approach to these issues, standing four-square behind Ukraine and behind our military, supporting the government when it is doing the right thing and challenging it to do more. Let me be clear, as well, as the grandson of a Holocaust survivor and as a member of the opposition, that we will never countenance Putin's efforts to use disinformation to discredit Canadian politicians, even if they happen to be members of a different political party. In this country, we do not subject each other to genealogical purity tests. We debate ideas. This kind of thing will not work in Canada; it will, if anything, serve to deepen our resolve.
As an opposition, we ask the government to do more. Every time I have spoken about Ukraine in this House, I have made the same three points about what the government needs to do to improve.
Number one, do more for human rights inside Russia by passing Magnitsky sanctions. This was a Liberal election commitment.
Number two, strengthen military co-operation with Ukraine. This renewal is a good step, but we must return to providing RADARSAT satellite images, which is something Ukrainians want and which the government has yet to give a good reason for stopping.
Number three, we need to reinstate international initiatives on communal harmony, which were making an important difference in Ukraine.
Again, the renewal of this mission is a good step, but there is more that needs to be done, so let us do that together.