Madam Speaker, first and foremost, our hearts and prayers are with the people of Ukraine, those people who have friends and family suffering and those around the world standing and watching the bloodshed of the men, women and children in a war zone paved with destruction by a malevolent dictator whose carnage and unprovoked violence know no bounds.
People in my own community, at the beginning, joined in prayers in churches and synagogues and mosques and gurdwaras and everything in between. Now countless organizations are raising money and sending goods directly to the people of Ukraine, helped by the spirit of generosity of so many who just want to help, like Saint Volodymyr Ukrainian Catholic Church in Thornhill and the countless efforts by Chabad Lubavitch in sending help, load by load and matched further by dollar-for-dollar donations from the kindness of community members who want to go the extra mile.
I am going to take a moment to get a bit personal in this House and speak to those who have been misinformed and to those who have succumbed to the propaganda and the blatant lies espoused by the Kremlin.
I am a first-generation Canadian. My parents arrived in Canada in 1974 from Odessa. They were Jewish refugees who left the oppression of the former Soviet Union. Putin's regime had persisted with this narrative of a neo-Nazi government oppressing Russian speakers despite the fact that President Zelensky's native language is Russian and despite the fact that he himself is Jewish. It is an absolute perversion of facts. This country has democracy. It has freedom of speech. It has freedom of religion.
In the face of that propaganda, I want to acknowledge those specifically in my community and all over the world who have demonstrated remarkable courage. I acknowledge the tens of thousands of Russians in cities within Russia and within our own country and within the world who took to the streets to express their outrage. Facing threats of harm, hundreds of them were arrested for their bravery in speaking out. There is great concern in my own community from those who condemn these actions. They are Russian speakers themselves. They are those who have roots in Russia and those who stand with the Ukrainian people. This is Putin's war. This is Putin's ongoing invasion of Ukraine, a free and democratic country.
The attack ordered by Putin on Ukraine is the first European war since the Second World War. It is a serious violation of international law and of humanity. This attack threatens not only Ukraine, its people and its many diaspora communities; it also threatens Canada. Our own security has always been tied to that of Europe. A hundred thousand is the number of Canadians who paid the ultimate price in the two wars in Europe. We have enjoyed the longest period of relative peace and prosperity since that second great war, a peaceful world that we played a role in establishing.
Vladimir Putin's evils know no bounds. Silence in the face of evil becomes its accomplice, and it ends up becoming evil itself. Remaining silent is a betrayal of our conscience and our values. Ultimately it is a betrayal of our own freedom as well as our safety and security. While I support the actions taken to date by the Government of Canada, more needs to be done, because we will one day be asked if we did everything we could during this dark chapter in history. Could Canada have done more? I think that today the answer is yes.
The government should expel the Russian ambassador. The government should direct the CRTC to terminate the licences of state broadcasters that spread disinformation and propaganda. Russia Today, RT, should be removed from our airwaves, as should other authoritarian state broadcasters operating here. The government should also make every effort to seek the removal of Russia from organizations like the G20, as we did from the G8 the last time this happened.
As members would have heard from my colleagues in this House, I will add my voice to theirs in advocating immediate implementation of visa-free travel for Ukrainians wanting to come to Canada. I know that steps have been taken, but our EU partners have already done this.
While I support the measures announced to date by the Government of Canada, I also understand that those measures are not going to stop the invasion in Ukraine. However, we must one day be able to say that we did everything that we could, and the fact remains that today we can do more.
Many in the House will say that some of what I am about to say discounts the situation faced by the Ukrainian people as they fight to defend their nation, the now over one million displaced Ukrainians, women sheltering children from unspeakable harms, and the tragedy unfolding in real time of so many who feel helpless to change the trajectory of evil. However, I believe that it is in our interest, in the interest of democracy in Europe and in the interest of the security of our own country that we must explore every option to do more in the face of what we are seeing.
We know that the Arctic is one of Russia's strategic priorities. We have seen it through their actions and we have seen it through their commitments. We share that border, and now, more than any other time, we must commit to our own security in the wake of destabilization in Europe. We need a plan and we need a renewed commitment to take this situation seriously.
We need to think in longer terms about defending the Canadian Arctic and our sovereignty. We need a plan on purchasing F-35 jets and a plan to modernize NORAD's early warning system. We need a plan to fix our national shipbuilding program. We need a plan on joining ballistic missile defence and a plan for closer co-operation with our Scandinavian allies and of course the Americans. We have committed to that before and we need to commit to it again today.
Our nation's defence strategy is as important as our nation's energy policy, and I am glad the members opposite realize the two are linked. Canadians know that energy is vital to our lives, and we are learning every day that it is more and more vital to our security. I am not the only one who said this; the European Union said it and our partners abroad have said it. We have witnessed over the last six years that the government and its green energy policies contribute to the destruction of Canada's oil and gas sector and to increasing our reliance on foreign oil from countries with abysmal human rights records, overrun with depots and dictators who function with impunity.
Canada is the fifth-largest natural gas producer in the world, but the stark reality is that we cannot get gas to Europe. We do not have the infrastructure. We cannot get pipelines built. Getting resources to Atlantic tidewater is vital to our economy, vital to our environmental goals, and vital to our own security, because we can be the source of security for European democracies today, and that matters.
Russia supplies 40% of Europe's natural gas and uses this to intimidate Europe and Ukraine, and that matters. It matters because of Russia's constant threat to cut off that supply, which provides warmth in the winter, economic activity throughout the year and stability to hundreds of millions of people. Without it we will most certainly see a crisis in Europe, a crisis for their economy and for the entire continent. Canada has the resources to ensure this is not going to happen, and we must take these threats seriously.
The world changed last week. I want to end by saying that for the people of Ukraine facing war, for the millions of Canadians of Ukrainian heritage who see their roots under attack, for international rules-based order, and for our own security, Canada's official opposition will continue proudly to do everything we can to ensure Canada steps up and does its part.
That starts with treating our energy security as a priority. Putin's attack is not only an attack on Ukraine, and I am glad my colleagues agree; Putin is a grave threat to global peace, security and democracy and to our collective safety and security. The government members have said so themselves, and I am grateful again for that. While the world witnesses the bravery of the Ukrainian people, seeing citizens fighting for their lives and for their country and seeing the bravery of a president leading from the front, we too must remember that they are not fighting only for themselves; they fight for all of us, and our support must go beyond what we have seen today. Our support must withstand the test of tomorrow.
I hope members of this House support our motion today so that one day we will be able to say as a country that we did everything we could.