Prime Minister Trudeau announces new measures to support Ukraine
I want to thank the Ukrainian Canadian Congress for having me here at your triennial. It has never been more important that we come together as leaders, as Canadians and as Ukrainian Canadians. Thank you, Alexandra, for your leadership. Our government is grateful for all of your advocacy and what the UCC has done for Canada and for Ukraine.
I am pleased that so many members of our government are able to take part in this congress, including Deputy Prime Minister Freeland, Ministers Anand, Sajjan and Vandal, and members of caucus like Yvan Baker, Jim Carr and Terry Duguid. I also want to highlight the presence of the Ukrainian Ambassador to Canada, Yuliya Kovaliv, as well as our ambassador in Ukraine, Larisa Galadza. Of course, I want to thank Premier Stefanson for welcoming us here in Manitoba. It’s always a pleasure to see you.
And thank you for welcoming us to Winnipeg, Mayor Gillingham. Congratulations again, Scott. It’s wonderful that this be one of your first official-unofficial because I know you’re still Mayor elect, but it is wonderful to see you and it’s going to be great to work with you over the coming months and years for the benefit of Winnipeggers, Manitobans and indeed all Canadians. Nine months ago this week, Russia launched a brutal and bloody invasion of a sovereign, democratic nation. They violated the post-World War Two order and stability that has for decades upheld our peace and allowed so many people to prosper. They have murdered innocent civilians. All of you here know this better than anyone. When horrible images flash on the TV screen or in your social media feed, you’re seeing places you know all too well.
Maybe you lived there once. Maybe your cousin does. Maybe your great-grandparents left these places 100 years ago to come to Canada. Today, all Canadians are learning the names of these towns and cities for all the worst reasons.
Bucha. Izyum. Irpin.
I saw the devastation of Irpin with my own eyes when I visited in May. And I will never forget it. Witnessing the homes destroyed in the neighbourhoods shattered.
Our hearts break for the lives lost, the lives ruined and the people fleeing to safety. Over 105,000 Ukrainian Nationals have arrived in Canada under the special immigration programs we launched in February. Thousands of them arrived and settled here in Manitoba. Canadians welcomed them with open arms because that’s just what we do. Refugees and immigrants have joined Ukrainian Canadian communities like so many of yours that go back over a century. Back then, a massive wave of Ukrainian immigrants came to Canada, many of them to the prairies. They worked the land. They carried with them generations of expertise on farming, wheat and grains and helped make Canada a breadbasket to the world. They helped build this country. These farmers brought these skills with them from Ukraine, a land that until Putin launched his attack, held and will hold again a special role in feeding the world. But now as a result of Russian occupation and aggression, many in the affected region don’t have the most basic supplies.
Canadians and Canada have been there to help since the beginning. Our government has allocated $320 million for humanitarian assistance in Ukraine, with money going to organizations that are providing food assistance, clean drinking water, medical supplies and mental health supports for children, amongst many other things.
Russia’s barbaric war cannot be permitted to continue. We are working to ensure that Putin and all of his accomplices in these atrocities answer for their actions. In partnership with our allies, Canada has imposed the toughest sanctions ever imposed on a major economy, including the Russian Central Bank. We’ve imposed sanctions on Putin’s accomplices, on the oligarchs who facilitate his actions and on the lawmakers who have approved the brutality committed against Ukrainians. Since February, Canada has imposed sanctions on over 1,400 individuals and entities.
And today I can announce that we are adding 35 more individuals to that list, including influential leaders of the state-owned energy company Gazprom, and sanctioning six energy sector entities.
We will continue to tighten the screws on anyone abetting this illegal invasion, and we intend to impose new sanctions on members of the Russian justice and security sectors, including police officers and investigators, prosecutors, judges and prison officials, anyone involved in gross and systemic human rights violations against Russian opposition leaders.
Putin’s war machine cannot be permitted to act with impunity. Its war crimes cannot go unpunished. That’s why we’re working closely with the International Criminal Court to support its investigation into the atrocities committed in Ukraine. As part of this, Canada has sent a team of highly specialized RCMP officers to The Hague. Canada will continue to do all it can to hold Putin and his enablers responsive for their illegal and unjustifiable invasion.
For 246 days, Ukrainians have endured shellings, occupations and unbearable human costs. This must end in Putin’s failure.
While Canada continues to push for justice and an end to the war. It is the brave men and women of Ukraine who are fighting on the front lines every day, and too many are giving their lives. We must never forget that when war broke out, it was everyday people who answered the call of duty.
It was young people who should be sitting in university lectures. It was fathers who sent their children to safety in other countries. Grandmothers who, instead of picking up their kids from daycare, have had to pick up guns.
The world has been inspired by Ukraine’s courageous and relentless defence and the advances made during September’s counteroffensive were met with astonishment, but not surprise, because one thing is certain only someone who isn’t paying attention would underestimate Ukrainians.
Their, your belief in their rights to freedom, territorial integrity and a choice in deciding their own future is indomitable. And I want to recognize that they are not just standing up for their freedom.
No, they are standing up for all of ours. Standing up for all democracies in the fight against authoritarianism.
In March, when I welcomed President Zelenskyy to address Parliament, I told him he was a champion of democracy. He has rallied Ukrainians; he has shrugged off threats to his own life and inspired us all with his strength and courage. He is extraordinary. He is heroic. He is relentless. One runs out of adjectives, simpler, perhaps to sum it up, He is Ukrainian.
All Ukrainians fighting this fight are champions. Champions for us all.
Between 2015 and 2022, Canada trained more than 33,000 members of Ukraine’s security forces as part of Operation UNIFIER. I saw the impact myself when I visited Ukraine with my son in 2016. And this necessary training mission is still going on with hundreds of Canadian Armed Forces personnel training thousands of brave Ukrainians to help them defend their freedom. We’ve also committed over $600 million in military aid since February. This aid includes anti-tank weapons and ammunition, body armour and other equipment, drone cameras, surveillance technology and military vehicles.
Today the 39 Armoured Combat Support vehicles we announced for Ukraine in the summer began arriving in Europe, where training with Ukrainian forces is now underway.
We’ve also allocated millions of dollars to help remove the explosives and landmines that Russian soldiers have cruelly planted on Ukrainian soil. In fact, that’s something Vladimir Zelensky asked me for personally in one of our regular calls, and I am very happy to be able to provide that support to help train, equip and supervise the Ukrainians in their work to clear landmines. Obviously, though, we know that in order to help Ukraine fight off Putin’s attacks, it takes more than military aid.
The Ukrainian government needs financial resources in order to support Ukrainians and withstand Russia’s ongoing attacks. Since the start, we’ve been working with international partners to effectively flow money to Ukraine. Canada has been leading the charge, both in terms of the scale of support and how quickly it has been provided. The government of Canada has provided approximately $2 billion in loans to the Ukrainian government this year.
But we know including from hearing regularly from Alexandra, that there are a lot of Canadians who would like to see us do more and to be able to do more.
We see it. We see it every day in the Ukrainian flags flying from car windows, painted on lampposts or hanging on front lawns. Well, we want to give all Canadians a chance to directly support Ukraine. So today we are announcing that Canada will be offering a new government backed Ukrainian sovereignty bond.
Canadians will now be able to go to major banks to purchase their sovereignty bonds, which will mature after five years with interest. It’ll be a lot like the Government of Canada bonds people are familiar with. These funds will go to support the government of Ukraine so they can continue to support the Ukrainian people.
There are hard days ahead and not just for Ukrainians as they enter the 10th month of this conflict. The Kremlin’s reckless violence has led to widespread economic uncertainty and a spike in global inflation. The Russian regime has weaponized food and energy, which is causing hardship around the world, especially for the most vulnerable.
Winter will be particularly hard for our allies in Europe as the sharp reduction in Russian energy imports has left many people worrying they will be left in the cold. Democratic leaders around the world are standing steadfast with Ukraine. But of course, we see the stress that this is putting on people’s daily lives. I know Canadians are tired of the sticker shock at the grocery store as food prices go up. We know it’s hard, so we’re moving forward on legislation that will provide relief for Canadians pocketbooks. A GST credit arriving in the coming weeks that will help 11 million Canadians ensuring dental care for all kids across the country. And more support for low-income renters. These measures will help, but times are tough.
But like Ukrainians, Canadians will not waver in our resolve to stand up to Putin.
Because imposing hardship is what bullies like Putin try to do. They try to sow chaos. They try to weaken our resolve. We cannot and we will not let that happen.
There is a lot of disinformation going around, and it’s being disseminated deliberately by Putin. Canada is working with partners around the world to monitor misinformation and disinformation, including through the G7 Rapid Response Mechanism, which we lead. The role of the mechanism is to strengthen coordination to identify and respond to foreign threats to democracy. We must all remain vigilant and speak out against lies and injustices, and we must remain strong no matter what dictators try to do.
We will always stand up to tyrants who try to scare others through intimidation.
I will be going to this year’s G20 summit. One of my main objectives alongside our closest friends, will be to rally our allies and ensure that the world holds Russia to account.
The many, many conversations I’ve had with leaders from Africa, from Asia, from South America over the past many months, to highlight the need for the world to stand united, have been difficult, because we know Russia continues to use all means at its disposal to threaten and pressure the world into silence as they continue their unconscionable attacks on a sovereign, independent people.
But I will tell you that the conversations I’ve had, even with folks who are wary about being aligned too much with the West, when it comes to the principles of territorial integrity, sovereignty, the rights of any people to choose their own future, to not be attacked and invaded by their neighbours, resonates. And as the food and energy crisis continue, as countries in the Global South continue to see Canada and other friends of theirs stepping up to ensure delivery of food, energy supports investments for the future. More and more countries are coming to realize that Putin must fail. We cannot let him take us all backwards to a bloodied world where might makes right.
Since February 24, Putin has underestimated Ukraine and he has underestimated the strength and tenacity of their partners and friends. Canada stands in solidarity with democracies and our partners around the world in the fight against authoritarianism.
We will not back down. We are here for the long term. We will stand with Ukraine, whatever it takes as long as it takes.
Canada has the second largest Ukrainian diaspora community in the world, with almost 1.4 million people who proudly claim Ukrainian heritage in our country. But we share more than just deep and abiding people to people ties. We stand together in the fundamental belief in freedom, in democracy, in justice. And of course, in the inevitable, but sometimes difficult triumphs of light over darkness.
Slava Ukraine. Rakhym slava.