Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to join this debate. I will be sharing my time with the member for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Westmount.
In 2014, Russia twice invaded Ukraine, first in Crimea and then in eastern Ukraine. After occupying these Ukrainian lands, Russia held sham referendums to try to legitimize the annexation of those territories.
In 2014 and 2015, the world condemned these referendums and refused to recognize the annexation of Crimea, the Donbass and eastern Ukraine. However, in 2014, the world did not do enough. It did not do everything possible to support Ukraine, deter the invasion and deter the annexation. We did not provide Ukraine with military support. We did not impose significant sanctions on Russia and Russia did not face a significant enough cost.
Many people have commented in recent months that if the world had stepped up to do more then and we had supported Ukraine and imposed costs on Russia, then Russia would not have invaded Ukraine on February 24 of this year and we would not have seen what we are seeing today. I agree with them.
Fast-forward to the last week or two, and Russia has run sham referendums in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine. It has predetermined the results of these referendums, just as it did in Crimea. Not only that, but Russia resorted to coercive tactics, such as sending armed soldiers and police door to door to collect votes from Ukrainian citizens to secure those very predetermined results.
The reason they are doing this is very transparent. They are desperately trying to legitimize the occupation and annexations of the territories they have seized from Ukraine. What they are also trying to do is weaken international support for Ukraine and limit Ukraine's surging counteroffensives. We have seen what Ukraine has been capable of on the ground militarily over the past number of weeks, and this is exactly what Vladimir Putin is trying to stop. He is trying to legitimize the occupation or annexation of these territories through sham referendums so he can argue that these territories are now Russian territories and that any attempt by the Ukrainians to retake them is an attack on Russia.
These were arguments that worked in 2014 with Crimea. We cannot allow them to work again.
What should we do about it? Well, a few days ago, the House unanimously passed a motion I put forward that talked about what we should do about it. I am proud that I received unanimous support from all members of the House, but also grateful to all members of the House for their support and their unity. In the motion we all passed together, we called for a number of things. We condemned, in the strongest possible terms, these sham referendums. We made it clear that we do not and will never recognize the legitimacy of these referendums. We reaffirmed that Ukraine's territory is that which was recognized at the time of the Budapest memorandum in 1994. It includes Crimea, the Donbass and eastern Ukraine, which Russia illegally invaded in 2014.
In that motion we passed unanimously, we also urged the Government of Canada to “continue to provide additional support to Ukraine until all of Ukraine's territory is once again under the sovereign control of the government of Ukraine”. We said the government should do that by “imposing more severe economic sanctions against Russia and providing Ukraine with more military, financial and humanitarian aid.”
The first thing I want to say here is that support for Ukraine is obviously not a partisan issue. It is something that all members of the House support. I think this motion underlines that. This is one of a number of examples.
I think it is also important to make something very clear, and this is not about those in the House, obviously, because we all supported this motion. There are some who might say that these sham referendums change things, that we should somehow reduce our support for Ukraine or heed Putin's warning. To those who say that, I say this: Do not fall into Vladimir Putin's trap. This is exactly what he would want people to do. This is exactly what he did in 2014 and we saw how that turned out. Remember what happened in 2014. We did not support Ukraine enough, and the world did not impose adequate costs on Russia. Vladimir Putin was then emboldened and we see what he has done since February 24.
Let us learn the lessons of 2008 in Georgia and 2014 in Ukraine, and not only maintain our support for Ukraine, but increase it. Let us support the Ukrainian people more. Let us impose even greater costs on Russia. That is what the motion said, and that is what I am confident will work, because it is so important that we signal to Vladimir Putin not only that we symbolically, in words, do not recognize these referendums, but that he will face a cost for continuing to refuse to withdraw from Ukraine.
Canada has taken many steps to support the Ukrainian people in this fight. Canada has provided over $800 million in military aid and weapons. This includes rockets, howitzers, 20,000 rounds for those howitzers, anti-tank weapons, machine guns, hand grenades and much more.
Another thing that is important to remember about Canada's contribution to what is happening on the ground right now in Ukraine is that Canada, through Operation Unifier, which was launched in 2015, trained over 33,000 Ukrainian soldiers. They were trained by Canadian Armed Forces personnel over the course of years. Those soldiers are now on the front lines. They are the ones taking the fight to the Russians. I think it is really important we remember that. When we see Ukrainian soldiers advancing and the counteroffensives working, and when people comment on the sophistication, the communications ability and some of the skills Ukrainian soldiers have, let us remember that Canada and other countries contributed to that through that training and that support over the course of years. We provided a $1.25-billion loan to help the Ukrainian government meet urgent financial needs and an additional $620 million in loans to help Ukraine financially. We have provided close to $300 million in humanitarian aid and much more, so Canada has taken very significant steps. Canada is one of the leaders in supporting Ukraine, and I think it is important that we acknowledge that.
That said, we have to do more. We have to continue to do more, just as that motion we all passed spoke to. This is not just about the Ukrainian people; this is about all of us. This is a war that affects everyone in Canada, and frankly it is touching people around the world. It is, of course, an existential crisis for Ukrainians, but it is also a humanitarian disaster, and we have an obligation to act. There are 12 million Ukrainian refugees alone, but hundreds of millions of people around the world are now facing starvation and food shortages, because Russia has cut off food exports from Ukraine. Across the world, at least 400 million people get fed by Ukrainian food every year. That is 400 million people who have not had access until very recently, and even that was a very small amount, so this is causing great harm to hundreds of millions of people around the world. It is a threat to our security and to global security, but it is also one of the key reasons the cost of living is so high.
We spend so much time here in this House talking about affordability, the cost of living, the rising cost of food and the rising cost of fuel and energy. Why are food and energy going up in price so much? The primary reason is Russia's invasion of Ukraine. When we think about all of these consequences, Ukrainians are not just fighting for themselves. That is reason enough to support them, because it is the right thing to do, but they are also fighting for us, our security, our quality of life and our democracy, so we need to continue to fight for them, and we have been fighting for them, as I outlined.
We can and should be very proud of what Canada has done and the leadership we have shown on the international stage, but to me, we need to continue doing more and more until Ukraine has a decisive victory. When I say “decisive victory”, I mean that Crimea, Donbass and all the territories Russia has invaded, occupied and tried to legitimize the occupation of throughout these sham referendums are once again under the control of the Government of Ukraine, because anything short of all of Ukraine's territory being part of Ukraine once again is a victory for Russia.
They will destroy and commit genocide. They will have destroyed so much of Ukraine, caused so much harm, threatened the international rules-based order and imposed so many costs to just go back to the 2014 boundaries, so we must ensure Ukraine has a decisive victory and we must do everything possible to support Ukraine until it wins. We must do this, not only because this would be a victory for Ukraine and not only because it is the right thing to do, but because we are all in this fight, so we have to do this until Ukraine wins and we all win.