Remarks on the Cabinet retreat and Canada’s support for Ukraine
Hello everyone. I’m very pleased to be here today with Deputy Prime Minister Freeland and Ministers Anand and Joly.
Before I begin, I want to acknowledge the discovery of possible burial sites at the St. Joseph’s Mission Residential School in B.C. Today we’re thinking of Williams Lake First Nation, and everyone affected. As always, we will be there for Indigenous communities as they do the difficult and important work of conducting searches. This is a critical part of confronting the tragic legacy of residential schools. We will be there to support healing and get closure for communities.
We’ve had some very productive meetings with Cabinet this week. We discussed our priorities, the fight against COVID-19 and the importance of vaccination, as well as our efforts to ensure a strong economic recovery.
We’re going to keep doing whatever it takes to support provinces and territories, small businesses, frontline workers, and families through this pandemic. At the same time, we’re focused on the big things that Canadian sent us here to do: grow the economy and the middle class, fight climate change, and stand up for global issues important to Canadians and to the world. We also discussed the legislative priorities for when the House of Commons returns next week.
And, in terms of the economy, we’ve seen a strong economic recovery so far, where 108% of the jobs that were lost have been regained. Challenges still remain: the cost of living, disruptions in the global supply chain, labour shortages.
So, we’re focused on delivering results, like reducing childcare fees to make life more affordable for families. Whether it’s through growing the middle class or supporting small business owners, we’ll continue building a strong economy for years and decades to come. We’re also continuing our leadership on climate change. To ensure long-term growth, we need to be competitive in the clean global economy of the future. We’ve been helping industry cut pollution, we’re protecting lands and oceans, we’re helping Canadians afford electric vehicles, and we introduced a price on pollution right across the country.
But now is the time to move Canada forward even further, even faster. We need to seize the opportunities for all workers and businesses, including workers in our resource industries. And we continue to need to take action to keep Canadians safe from wildfires, floods, and heat waves.
Whether it’s the fight against climate change or putting an end to COVID-19, Canada will continue to do its part both at home and on the world stage. And we will continue to do our part when it comes time to tackling other issues that are facing the international community. Ukraine was an important topic during our meetings this week.
With rising tensions and unwarranted Russian aggression, Canada will be there to provide ongoing support to Ukraine so that it can defend itself. Let there be no mistake that Canada, alongside all of our democratic allies, stands strong for Ukraine, and everything we do is motivated by our pursuit of de-escalation and a diplomatic solution.
Canada, and our democratic allies, stands united with Ukraine. All of our efforts are centred around de‑escalating the situation and finding a diplomatic solution. Today, in support of Ukraine, I’ve authorized the extension of Operation UNIFIER for another three years in addition to expanding this training mission.
Today I’ve authorized the extension of Operation UNIFIER for three more years, and the expansion of this training mission as well as immediate support. This is a $340 million commitment. As part of it, I’ve authorized the Canadian Armed Forces to deploy 60 personnel within days to join the approximately 200 women and men already on the ground, with further capacity to increase the number of people on the ground up to 400. This also includes a provision of non-lethal equipment, intelligence sharing, and support to combat cyber-attacks.
Our ongoing commitment to Operation UNIFIER guarantees the Canadian Armed Forces’ continued support of the security forces of Ukraine so that Ukraine can defend its sovereignty, security, and territorial integrity. Minister Anand will travel to Latvia and Ukraine to visit with our Forces in the coming days. I want to thank the Canadian Armed Forces members of Operation UNIFIER, who continue to do exemplary work on the ground.
Additionally, Canada is providing up to $50 million to deliver development and humanitarian aid. I want to thank Minister Sajjan for his work on this. Of course, this support is in addition to the loan of up to $120 million for Ukraine we announced last week.
We continue to call on Russia to de-escalate and engage in meaningful dialogue until a peaceful diplomatic solution is reached. This is something I mentioned earlier today in my discussion with President von der Leyen of the European Union. Canada remains a steadfast friend to Ukraine, and we’ll continue working closely with the Ukrainian government and partners in the region.