Madam Chair, it is my privilege to stand to speak to this take-note debate.
First, I want to speak about the Edmonton Ukrainian Canadian community and how stalwart it has been across the country in standing up and giving support to their families overseas. It is absolutely incredible and it keeps pressure on us, getting us to speak out. I particularly want to mention Daria Luciw who is the former past president of the Edmonton UCC. She has been incredible in reaching out to me and telling me the views of the Edmonton UCC.
It is absolutely important that everyone in this place and across Canada takes the time and the opportunity available through the Ukrainian Canadian community to inform us about historic travesties that have gone on in Ukraine. I have had the privilege of participating in the Holodomor commemorations each year. There is a Holodomor travelling exposition, but there is also the Bitter Harvest film. I encourage people see it in the theatres. It talks about the crisis that Ukraine suffered in the past and continues to suffer.
A new play has been produced in Alberta, with the support of St. John's Institute, called Blood of our Soil. It is the most powerful presentation that I have seen of the long history of travesties that the people of Ukraine have suffered from the time of Stalin through Hitler and now under Putin. I hope the play will come to Ottawa.
As the Minister of Foreign Affairs has advised, Ukrainians were early settlers to our Prairies and many of them descended from the train in Edmonton Strathcona, becoming tillers of the soil, and now holding places in all the governments of our country. It is to their credit. As a number of speakers here have said, it is important for us all to stand up for Ukraine's territorial integrity and sovereignty, and speak out in support of Ukraine.
My colleagues and I support Operation Unifier continuing. Many have been waiting for this decision to be made and finally it has been. My guess is that two years probably will not be enough unless Mr. Putin backs off and takes away the support of what is going on in eastern Ukraine.
We celebrate and honour the commitment of Canadian troops, some of which include the Princess Patricia from Edmonton. I am very proud they have gone overseas again to share their skills and professionalism with the Ukrainian troops, many of which are completely untrained. I have met many of the young men and women who head off to the eastern edge of Ukraine with absolutely no training, putting their own lives at risk.
However, as has been mentioned in the House, it is equally important not only that we give this direct assistance to build the army and the troops of Ukraine, but that we give increased support to the development of a democracy and restoration of the rule of law in the country. I spent a good deal of time over the four or five times I have visited in meeting with human rights advocates and with independent media that are struggling to be a voice for ordinary Canadians. Governments in the local area need our assistance in teaching them how they can work effectively with civil society. There are many young Ukrainians who are desperate to work hand in glove with the Ukrainian government in teaching them how to be more democratic. It is absolutely critical that we build that democracy if it is to have any hope of getting the confidence of the people in eastern Ukraine, that they can have confidence in their government to represent them.
I also want to mention a number of specific actions that could be taken. Disappointingly, the previous Conservative government gave short shrift to the imposition of sanctions. My colleagues in this place have continued to push to extend the sanctions so they are on par with the sanctions imposed by the U.S. and the EU, particularly Igor Sechin and Vladimir Yakunin, and to get rid of the various existing loopholes that allow Canadians to work with these discreditable entities in Russia, which help to foment and support this war.
Again, we want to give thanks to the troops that are there and to let the people of Ukraine know we are here to support them and that we will hold the Liberal government accountable for delivering on the many promises that it makes.