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House of Commons Hansard #153 of the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was chair.

Topics

Operation UNIFIERGovernment Orders

10:35 p.m.

Conservative

James Bezan Conservative Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman, MB

Mr. Chair, as our immigration critic dealing with issues of refugees, my colleague knows all too well the plight of the people in Ukraine and knows all too well the leadership that was shown by the previous government under Prime Minister Stephen Harper and how Mr. Harper strongly said to Putin to “get out of Ukraine”.

Short of Russia pulling out of Ukraine, I would ask the member to comment on how Canada has been there for the people of Ukraine but how much more needs to be done. Over the last year, we have seen the number of internally displaced people increase to 1.6 million Ukrainians without a home, orphans without orphanages to take care of them and families to love them, and widows begging on the street. Also, could she comment on how Canada could play a bigger role in supporting humanitarian efforts in Ukraine?

Operation UNIFIERGovernment Orders

10:40 p.m.

Conservative

Michelle Rempel Conservative Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Chair, again I would direct colleagues in this place to look at my colleague from Thornhill's statement as of February 23, which contains concrete recommendations that the Liberals could undertake to do exactly what my colleague just said. I would also encourage my colleagues to read page 29 of the report from the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration, which dealt with how to address the issue of internally displaced people. I will read an excerpt:

Witnesses also suggested non-immigration-related measures that Canada could continue or initiate to support the Ukrainian people. These include maintaining sanctions against Russia, continued or increased support for the OSCE and the OSCE special monitoring mission, continued support as election observers... Further, Canada could provide aid to help integrate IDPs, to rebuild institutions such as the media that have been destroyed by the conflict.... Training to police officers and border guards and support to civil society organizations were also recommended areas for Canada's support.

This was a report that was sanctioned by the majority of Liberal members on this committee. These recommendations were made by people who have been suffering in this area, and frankly, I do not understand why the Liberal government has initiated a debate without addressing these issues.

Operation UNIFIERGovernment Orders

10:40 p.m.

Fredericton New Brunswick

Liberal

Matt DeCourcey LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Chair, my colleague across the way mentioned some ways in which the government can aid the people of Ukraine. I will talk about some of the aspects of the whole-of-government approach that is helping Ukraine: support for non-lethal military equipment; support for humanitarian assistance for those affected by the conflict; addressing a range of initiatives, including beefing up the security sector in Ukraine; support for the national police of Ukraine; development assistance to support democracy building, human rights, and the rule of law; and strengthening of the economy, which includes the signing of a free trade agreement with Ukraine this past year.

Operation UNIFIERGovernment Orders

10:40 p.m.

Conservative

Michelle Rempel Conservative Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Chair, I thank my colleague opposite for reading the record of the Conservative government and for highlighting all the wonderful measures that the former Conservative government initiated to help the people of Ukraine. Certainly I thank my colleague opposite for being a cheerleader of the efforts done by the Conservative government to help these people, and I would like to take this opportunity, because I have not had the opportunity to do so, to thank my colleague from Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman for all of his strong efforts in supporting the Ukrainian diaspora in Canada and people currently affected by conflict in Ukraine.

Operation UNIFIERGovernment Orders

10:40 p.m.

Liberal

Michel Picard Liberal Montarville, QC

Mr. Chair, I wish to inform you that I will be sharing my time with the member for Kanata—Carleton.

I am pleased to speak to the House today about extending our military contribution in Ukraine, especially Canadian development co-operation.

As the first western country to recognize Ukraine in 1991, Canada was among the first international donors to provide significant development aid to this country. Independent evaluations have proven many times that Canada has a comparative advantage thanks to the knowledge, language skills, and expertise of the Ukrainian Canadian community. In addition, Canada has an ability to promote innovation and to adapt to a political and socio-economic context that is constantly evolving.

When Ukrainian citizens took charge of the future of their country with the revolution of dignity in 2013, they argued in favour of democratic reforms and integrating with Europe.

Ukraine, which was facing a huge political crisis, the risk of economic collapse, and aggression from the east, seized the opportunity to determine its own future. Canada was among the first donors to increase its support to Ukraine in order to help that country defend its territorial integrity, stabilize its economy, and lay the foundations for long-term development in terms of independence, democracy, and prosperity.

Since January 2014, Canada has contributed approximately $700 million in technical and financial assistance to strengthen security, deliver critical humanitarian support, stabilize the economy, and support Ukraine's efforts to implement profound and comprehensive democratic and economic reforms.

Canada is very concerned about the individuals who have been affected by the conflict in eastern Ukraine and by the increased risk of poverty. We are committed to delivering effective humanitarian assistance in a timely manner, in accordance with the humanitarian principle of impartiality, humanity, neutrality, and independence.

The Ukrainian government has reported nearly 1.7 million internally displaced people. Those individuals need support, especially since over 73% of those displaced people consist of single-mother families. Canada's humanitarian response involves meeting the needs of the most vulnerable, particularly the specific needs of women and girls.

Since the beginning of the crisis, through our humanitarian partners, Canada has provided more than $27 million in humanitarian assistance to help millions of vulnerable people who are directly affected by this armed conflict. This assistance includes several components including basic health services, food aid, protection, shelter, and other essential support measures.

Canada also plays a key role by providing the Ukrainian government support in developing policies to help it respond to this conflict. To deal with this external aggression, Ukraine must adopt reconstruction and peacekeeping measures.

The need for humanitarian assistance remains high. This need is exacerbated by the fact that the country does not have control over a significant part of its territory and millions of people are trapped, with nowhere to go.

From an economic standpoint, Ukraine posted 2% growth in 2016, which is quite impressive given the tough recession the country has gone through over the past two years. Ukraine has also made unprecedented efforts to reform its public administration and its security and justice sector, while promoting decentralization.

Ukraine has significantly strengthened its anti-corruption measures by creating some key institutions and increasing transparency especially in its public procurement systems. In terms of macroeconomics, Canada has helped Ukraine avoid economic disaster by strengthening the International Monetary Fund's extended credit facility and providing long-term technical support to the National Bank of Ukraine and to the department.

I would be pleased to take any questions about other aspects or key points.

Operation UNIFIERGovernment Orders

10:45 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Paul-Hus Conservative Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

Mr. Chair, my colleague spoke at length about humanitarian aid.

I would like to know whether, in the context of Operation Unifier, he plans to suggest to his government that it take a more robust position on the Russian invader. We could give more money for humanitarian aid, but if we allow the Russians to remain, we will never see the end of it.

Is the member proposing we strengthen our position?

Operation UNIFIERGovernment Orders

10:45 p.m.

Liberal

Michel Picard Liberal Montarville, QC

Mr. Chair, discussions with Ukraine aim to cover every possibility, and they are still ongoing.

Personally, I think Ukraine, which is benefiting from Canada's assistance and wisdom, needs to adopt the means to eventually take charge of its own destiny. When it does, it will no longer need our assistance, which is unfortunately necessary for now.

Discussions regarding the possible need for military assistance continue. However, Canada's decision to offer humanitarian assistance, as has already been mentioned, is in response to what Ukraine asked for.

Operation UNIFIERGovernment Orders

10:45 p.m.

Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Mr. Chair, could the member speak to the withdrawal of support for Ukraine via the sharing of RADARSAT images? This began under the previous government. It was very useful to Ukraine in being able to use those images, which we gather anyway, for security purposes. Why did the government make the decision to withdraw that support, and will the government restore it?

Operation UNIFIERGovernment Orders

10:45 p.m.

Liberal

Michel Picard Liberal Montarville, QC

Mr. Chair, I thank my colleague for his question.

It is important to understand that Canada and Ukraine are partners. Discussions regarding RADARSAT imagery showed that, after a certain time, from Ukraine's perspective, it made sense to focus its efforts elsewhere. At Ukraine's request, the two parties agreed to stop that information sharing service.

Operation UNIFIERGovernment Orders

10:50 p.m.

Saint-Jean Québec

Liberal

Jean Rioux LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence

Mr. Chair, my colleague talked about the importance of the economy in helping and supporting Ukraine.

Could he speak to the importance of the economic agreement reached between Ukraine and Canada last July?

Operation UNIFIERGovernment Orders

10:50 p.m.

Liberal

Michel Picard Liberal Montarville, QC

Mr. Chair, I would quickly point out that a country will develop based on the resources and services it is able to secure. A trade agreement is bound to ensure greater success than any lethal weapons supplier can provide.

Operation UNIFIERGovernment Orders

March 20th, 2017 / 10:50 p.m.

Kanata—Carleton Ontario

Liberal

Karen McCrimmon LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Mr. Chair, I would like to thank the member for Montarville for generously splitting his time with me tonight. I will build upon what he has already spoken this evening.

To assist Ukraine in driving its ambitious reform efforts forward, Canada helped the Government of Ukraine develop key reform plans, following the revolution of dignity, including constitutional, electoral, judicial, social policy, and health plans, under the rubric of the multinational joint commission. In addition, Canada deployed 80 technical experts to key government ministries to support the implementation of these reforms, and is continuing to provide this technical assistance as specific needs are identified.

For example, recognizing the risk that corruption poses to the overall progress of reforms, economic growth, and security in the country, Canada played a key role in advancing political finance legislation, which contributed to the establishment of the national agency for the prevention of corruption and the national anti-corruption bureau of Ukraine, two critical anti-corruption institutions.

Now, let us talk about media. Given the critical importance of independent and quality media for a successful democratic society, Canada supported the development of investigative journalism, which has already resulted in the dismissal of a dozen high-level bureaucrats involved in cases of alleged corruption. We also continue to build the capacity of media to resolve important policy issues, particularly related to Ukraine's conflict-affected population, promoting social cohesion, and tolerance. Canada has also helped institutionalize gender policies in targeted media outlets, which directly correlates to 100% of content being free of gender stereotypes and discrimination.

Having witnessed a significant surge in women's activism and civic movement during the revolution of dignity and women's response to the conflict in the east, including in volunteer combat roles, Canada emphasizes the importance of gender equality and women's empowerment for Ukraine's economic and social development. For instance, a past report from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development in Europe listed Canada as the fourth largest donor to gender equality and women's empowerment, with Ukraine being one of the top 10 recipients of Canada's gender equality focused aid.

Canada has also strengthened women's political participation by improving the electoral environment and political party development, including through the women's leadership academy.

More than 65% of the participants trained by Canada applied its newly acquired knowledge during the October 2015 local elections, by running for local office or by working on local election campaigns.

Canada also promotes the growth of small and medium-sized enterprises, including through the Canada-Ukraine free trade agreement, ratified by the Ukrainian parliament in March of 2017. Canada's development assistance strengthens the capacity of small and medium-sized enterprises in Ukraine to be able to take advantage of increased trade flows between Canada and Ukraine, and the European Union. Small and medium-sized enterprises were severely affected by the war with Russia. They are less resilient than larger companies and therefore are in need of assistance to transition to the European and Canadian markets.

With Ukraine being called the bread basket of Europe, with its rich black soils, Canada provides significant support to introduce innovative, profitable, and environmentally sustainable practices to the agricultural sector.

Undertaking a comprehensive, sector-wide approach, Canada supported the development of the draft law on agricultural co-operatives and established a new master's program on co-operative management at two Ukrainian universities. For the first time, two regional unions of agriculture service co-operatives were created, improving the competitiveness of over 5,000 small-scale farmers. With the agricultural sector being dominated by men, Canada also specifically targeted and supported women-led farms, creating over 300 women-led businesses. We will continue to ensure that the empowerment of women and girls remains a key component in the support we provide.

Due to the complexity and increasingly protracted nature of the crisis in Ukraine, both humanitarian and longer-term development assistance focusing on democratic development and inclusive and environmentally sustainable growth will remain a cornerstone of our assistance to Ukraine.

Operation UNIFIERGovernment Orders

10:55 p.m.

Conservative

Cheryl Gallant Conservative Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Chair, parliamentarians from Ukraine tell us that just as ISIL had taken over swaths in Iraq the summer prior, so too were Russians acting just like terrorists to Ukraine, being orchestrated out of the Kremlin, taking over buildings and using women and children as human shields, as we just saw in the battle for Mosul as well.

What is the member's government doing to help the women and children who have been through rape and torture by the Russian terrorists who have taken over their homes and displaced them?

Operation UNIFIERGovernment Orders

10:55 p.m.

Liberal

Karen McCrimmon Liberal Kanata—Carleton, ON

Mr. Chair, I would like to reiterate that from the experience and training I have had in the past, I know that one of the keys to providing long-term stability in a country is to understand the networks of women. That is one of the reasons that a great deal of our developmental aid is focused on women. It is because once the fighting is done, it is the women who will knit these countries back together.

We are not only looking at where we are today, but we are trying to look to the longer term and look at not only defence but also at diplomacy and development. It is that very collaborative, co-operative, coordinated approach that will ultimately bring Ukraine back to a state of peace in the long term.

Operation UNIFIERGovernment Orders

10:55 p.m.

NDP

Sheila Malcolmson NDP Nanaimo—Ladysmith, BC

Mr. Chair, the numbers of people impacted by the conflict in Ukraine are stunning, yet they have not been on the front pages of our newspapers. We have a lot of calamity in the world, but this has not been at the forefront. The numbers are shocking: there have been 10,000 civilian deaths since the start of the crisis, and 1.7 million people have been internally displaced by the conflict. UNICEF thinks one million children are in need of humanitarian assistance in Ukraine.

With Canada's international aid assistance at only 0.26% of gross national income this year, which is far below the United Nations target of 0.7% being targeted toward foreign aid, does the member agree that Canada should be increasing its funding for international assistance as a way to ameliorate the humanitarian impact of the conflict on the people in Ukraine and in other countries?

Operation UNIFIERGovernment Orders

11 p.m.

Liberal

Karen McCrimmon Liberal Kanata—Carleton, ON

Mr. Chair, as I mentioned during my speech, there are advantages to being part of a team, to having a coordinated long-term vision and the idea that a team can work together to maximize and rationalize all the support and effort that it is putting forward. That is why this kind of teamwork approach, a multinational approach, is exactly the right one going forward to make sure that all of the effort is not just in one sector, that it is equally shared, and that each nation gets to provide those pieces of that puzzle that they are most efficient at.

Moving forward, it is this teamwork that is really going to make the difference in the long term.

Operation UNIFIERGovernment Orders

11 p.m.

Saint-Jean Québec

Liberal

Jean Rioux LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence

Mr. Chair, Canada is in Ukraine to ensure the stability, security, and sovereignty of that country. We have done a lot of military training, for instance to teach people how to defuse explosives and munitions. We have provided training on health care and for a mobile hospital. We have also intervened by means of new logistics models.

Canada is present in a military sense, but how can we help improve humanitarian assistance and democracy in Ukraine?

Operation UNIFIERGovernment Orders

11 p.m.

Liberal

Karen McCrimmon Liberal Kanata—Carleton, ON

Mr. Chair, I would like to thank my hon. colleague for his question, because it is absolutely key to how we address situations like this in the future. It is not good enough just to talk about defence or just to talk about development or just to talk about diplomacy; we need all three pieces of the puzzle.

Thinking that there is just a military solution to this is a tad naive. We need to go past that. We need to plan a longer-term vision for the country and then bring all those resources, whether it is diplomacy, whether it is defence, whether it is development, to the fore and coordinate them so that we have a rational plan and a rational rollout on the ground.

Having a fragmented, uncoordinated approach has posed a problem in the past. I think we are doing a very good job to avoid that same challenge.

Operation UNIFIERGovernment Orders

11 p.m.

Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

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.

Operation UNIFIERGovernment Orders

11:05 p.m.

Liberal

Borys Wrzesnewskyj Liberal Etobicoke Centre, ON

Mr. Chair, the hon. member mentioned Magnitsky sanctions. Sanctions have been noted a number of times during this evening's debate, as have the oligarch kleptocrats Sechin and Yakunin, who are in President Putin's inner circle. Why is it that they were on the sanctions list in Europe, on the U.S. sanctions list, but at the last minute, former minister Baird removed those two names from the sanctions list? We know that a former staffer worked as a lobbyist or was hired after his term in the former minister's office. He was hired as a lobbyist by a Russian company associated with these oligarchs.

Sometimes we have this assumption in Canada that we are not affected by this global Russian hybrid war effort. Would the member like to comment on this? Are we immune to the sort of Russian interference that we are now seeing south of the border?

Operation UNIFIERGovernment Orders

11:05 p.m.

Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Mr. Chair, I would be happy to comment on this, because the current government has been in place for a year and a half now and the individuals the member mentioned have yet to be added to the sanctions list. I would throw it back to the hon. member. If he is of the view that these individuals need to be on the list, I would encourage him to bring that case to members on his own front bench. I know they could do better at listening to the back benches in general, and perhaps they will this time around.

The reality is that, of course, throughout the international community, sanctions are coordinated in order to achieve the maximal impact on Russia with the least possible economic impact on the countries imposing those sanctions. Does that mean they were necessarily done perfectly? No, but this is the way in which the sanctions are done. Again, it is in a coordinated way for maximal impact on Russia.

However, none of this actually addresses what I spoke about, which was Magnitsky sanctions. This is something that all parties had committed to before the election and which the government seemed to be backing away from, at least under the last foreign affairs minister.

Maybe we will see the Liberals revisit this issue. I hope we do. Magnitsky sanctions are an important way of specifically sanctioning human rights abusers and addressing those human rights issues. This is something that is important to the Ukrainian community, because it addresses human rights inside Russia where these problems clearly are emanating from.

Operation UNIFIERGovernment Orders

11:10 p.m.

Conservative

Kerry Diotte Conservative Edmonton Griesbach, AB

Mr. Chair, at this time three years ago, the world was watching in horror as Russia invaded Ukraine, staged a sham referendum in Crimea and annexed the territory a few days later. It was a shocking violation of what we understood to be a fundamental principle of our international order that borders are not to be changed by force. Vladimir Putin followed this illegal act with another assault on Ukraine in the Donbass region. This region's conflict continues to claim lives and drive people from their homes.

This issue is not an abstraction to Canadians. With 125 years of Ukrainian immigration to our country, our nation and our people are intimately connected to Ukraine. My riding of Edmonton Griesbach is home to a large part of Edmonton's Ukrainian community, and events on the other side of the world resonate deeply for the people I represent.

Two weeks ago, the Liberal government announced that it was extending Operation Unifier, Canada's military training mission to Ukraine. For nearly two years, about 200 Canadian Armed Forces members have been deployed to western Ukraine. They have provided training in explosive ordnance disposal, flight safety, logistics system modernization, military policing, and medical training. That mission would have expired on March 31, but the government's announcement to extend the mission came at the very last minute. That delay was an act of disrespect, I believe.

Ukrainians are putting their lives on the line for the freedom and independence of their country, and they need the help of Canada. I am in favour of the proposed extension of this mission, but I would like to see it expanded. I am proud to support the package of measures recently outlined by my two colleagues, the member for Thornhill and the member for Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman. They have worked tirelessly on this, and really, that is why this commitment is happening.

The Liberal government spent the past year and a half cozying up to Putin, and just recently realized he is not such a great guy after all. As part of this effort to curry favour with the Russian regime, the Liberals shamefully ordered the majority of their members to vote against my private member's bill, Bill C-306, which would have recognized the deportation of the Crimean Tatars by the U.S.S.R. as a genocide.

In her recent statement on the anniversary of Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea, Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs wrote:

Canada is deeply troubled by the politically motivated application of ‘anti-terrorist’ and ‘anti-extremist’ legislation; ongoing harassment of human rights activists, journalists and lawyers; arbitrary detentions; disappearances; and the persecution of Crimean Tatars and other minorities. We denounce the banning of the Mejlis, the self-governing body of the Crimean Tatars, and have called on Russia to reverse this illegal and immoral decision.

My private member's bill and the debate around it called attention to all of these issues. I was pleased to have earned the support of all of my opposition colleagues, but the majority of Liberals voted against it. Some went so far as to claim that the deportation of Tatars did not constitute a genocide. That is an absurd claim supported only by the Putin regime's biggest apologists, including Canada's former parliamentary secretary to the minister of foreign affairs.

The bare minimum is not enough. Ukrainians are still fighting the battle that began on the Maidan in Kiev, expanded to Crimea and then to Donbass. In the past three years Ukrainians have proven themselves to be some of the fiercest defenders of the values all of us say we support. They are fighting for their lives, their families, their hometowns, their liberty. They want to be living in a free country that respects the fundamental human rights of every man and woman. As a friend and ally, Canada has a moral duty to stand with them in their fight. Ukraine should always be able to depend on us.

Operation UNIFIERGovernment Orders

11:15 p.m.

Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Mr. Chair, I thank my friend from a nearby riding in the Edmonton area for his great work on behalf of the Ukrainian community. I know this is a cause that is very close to his heart and he does a great deal of work on it.

I would ask him to comment specifically on the issue of the RADARSAT images, the satellite images that Canada was providing, that Ukrainians want, and that would significantly benefit the Ukrainian military. It is good and right that Canada is committing soldiers to this important mission, but we could be augmenting the effectiveness of our support if we simply shared these satellite images. It has yet to be clearly explained why the government pulled the sharing of these images, but it could simply step up tonight and say it is going to restore them. This would be the right thing to do and would provide added support to our allies.

I wonder if the member, who I know has a great deal of expertise on this, could share with us what he thinks is going on and recognize the importance of restoring those images.

Operation UNIFIERGovernment Orders

11:15 p.m.

Conservative

Kerry Diotte Conservative Edmonton Griesbach, AB

Mr. Chair, my colleague makes a great point. If there is anything we can do to support the situation in Ukraine, why should we not be doing it? He is quite correct that there has not been a good explanation for ending this practice. I would certainly urge the governing Liberals to step up to the plate and explain why we are not coming to Ukraine's defence in this regard.

Operation UNIFIERGovernment Orders

11:15 p.m.

Liberal

Borys Wrzesnewskyj Liberal Etobicoke Centre, ON

Mr. Chair, going back to the issue of the RADARSAT-2 satellites, those were images that were purchased. Our military actually does not have satellites of the sort that produce those images. They were purchased. They were not timely and did not have the sort of detail that Ukraine would have wanted in the current conditions.

Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine has changed, but also Ukraine's army has gone through an incredible evolution. Ukraine now has timely information on Russia's movement of troops. We have to be clear that Russia is moving its troops and Russian military equipment continually into Ukraine. It is timely and it is detailed, so that sort of information is no longer required.

On the comment by the hon. member as to doing anything we can do, should we not be doing things that are effective and necessary today, not what was necessary one or two years ago?