(a) condemn President Vladimir Putin and the Russian Federation for their unprovoked, illegal attack and invasion of Ukraine;
(b) stand with Ukraine, the people of Ukraine and Canadians in the Ukrainian community; and
(c) call on the Government of Canada to undertake measures to ensure new natural gas pipelines can be approved and built to Atlantic tidewater, recognizing energy as vital to Canadian and European defence and security, allowing Canadian natural gas to displace Russian natural gas in Europe, and being consistent with environmental goals in the transition to non-emitting sources of energy.
He said: Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for .
The attack on Ukraine by the Russian Federation is the first European war between countries since the Second World War and a serious violation of the international order and our collective humanity. This attack threatens not only Ukraine, but Canada. Canada's defence and security has always been inextricably linked to that of Europe. The attack was in Ukraine, but the threat is also among us.
Since Samuel de Champlain founded Quebec in 1608, the outbreak of major wars in Europe has always involved Canada. The Seven Years War, which many consider to be the first global conflict between Great Britain and France, led to the conquest of 1759. What we call the War of 1812 was actually a subsidiary of the Napoleonic Wars. Canadians know well the price that Canada paid in the First World War and the Second World War in Europe, and 100,000 Canadian war dead can attest to that.
The attack represents a second threat to Canada. It came on the heels of an autocratic pact between the Russian Federation and the People's Republic of China that threatens the rules-based international order in place since 1945.
Canada contributed to establishing this international order, and it has been the basis for the longest period of peace and prosperity in modern times. The disintegration of this international order will threaten peace and security here in Canada.
We support the actions taken to date by the Government of Canada, but more needs to be done, which is why we have introduced our motion today. One of the most important things we can do is understand that energy is vital not only to our economy, but also to our defence and security and to the defence and security of Europe. Russia understands this. It has used natural gas to intimidate and coerce European democracies. Russia supplies 40% of Europe's natural gas and uses this to intimidate Europe and Ukraine, threatening to cut off supplies. If supplies are cut, people will freeze, factories will shutter and Europe's economy will grind to a halt.
Not only does Russia understand this, and not only does it understand that energy is vital to its defence and security, but so does the European Union. In 2015, the European Commission introduced measures to try to diversify energy away from Russia. The commission said, in reference to Russia's use of energy to intimidate and threaten European democracies, in a document titled, “A Framework Strategy for a Resilient Energy Union with a Forward-Looking Climate Change Policy”:
Energy policy is often used as a foreign policy tool, in particular in major energy producing and transit countries.
The commission said:
As part of a revitalised European energy and climate diplomacy, the EU will use all its foreign policy instruments to establish strategic energy partnerships with increasingly important producing and transit countries or regions....
It also said:
The [European Union] will continue to integrate Norway fully into its internal energy policies. The EU will also develop its partnerships with countries such as the United States and Canada.
We need to understand, as the Russians and the Europeans do, that energy is vital not only to our economy but to our defence and security. We need to understand what others have long understood, which is that energy is also a foreign policy tool, particularly in major energy producing and transit countries.
Since the first week of December, the Biden administration has been trying to rally natural gas-producing allies and partners around the world, such as Norway and Qatar, to ensure that additional natural gas supplies can be brought online in the event that Russia cuts the gas to Europe. While Canada has participated in these conversations, Canada has not been able to provide any assistance.
Canada is the world's fifth-largest natural gas producer, but we are unable to get natural gas to tidewater to provide assistance to European democracies. We cannot get natural gas to tidewater because we cannot get pipelines built. That inability to get pipelines built is now not only impacting our economy. It is now threatening our security and defence here at home, and the defence and security of Europe.
The government must introduce measures to get new pipelines approved and built to transport Canadian natural gas to the Atlantic coast so we can displace Russian natural gas in Europe.
This is an urgent matter affecting the safety and security of Canadians. It is also an important issue for the defence and security of European democracies.
I know that some might say that exporting liquefied natural gas to Europe is inconsistent with our environmental goals. They would be wrong. Exporting liquefied natural gas is consistent with environmental goals in the transition to non-emitting sources of energy. One of the biggest things Canada and the world can do in the next decade to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, in order to meet the Paris accord targets, is to replace coal-fired electrical generation plants with natural gas-fired electrical generation plants. Canada can play a role in that transition if we can build natural gas pipelines to tidewater to export liquefied natural gas.
The government's own data shows that coal-fired electrical generation plants are two times more greenhouse gas intensive than natural gas plants, and Europe and many other countries in the world still rely on coal-fired electrical generation plants. Getting our natural gas to tidewater is not only an economic imperative or a defence and security imperative, but it is also an environmental imperative.
We condemn President Putin and the Russian Federation for their unprovoked, illegal attack and invasion of Ukraine. We stand with Ukraine, we stand with the people of Ukraine, and we stand with Canadians here at home with ties to Ukraine. We must use all of the tools available to us as a country to defend Ukraine and Europe against a vicious authoritarian onslaught.
Some of the things that the Canadian government can do to support democracies in Europe are recognize that Canada has immense energy resources, recognize that energy is vital to Canadian and European defence and security, recognize that natural gas is consistent with environmental goals in the transition to non-emitting sources of energy, and undertake new measures that ensure natural gas pipelines can be approved and built to Atlantic tidewater. If we can build pipelines to get Canadian natural gas to tidewater, we can displace Russian gas in Europe, thereby countering the threat from the Russian Federation and President Vladimir Putin and strengthening democracy in Europe and here at home in Canada.
Madam Speaker, it is my honour today to second the motion brought forward by my colleague from Halton Hills. I stand firmly with the rest of my party in condemning the actions of Vladimir Putin and the Russian regime against our allies in Ukraine, our democratic friends in Ukraine. Here in Canada, there are 1.3 million Ukrainian descendants. They are one of our most important allies in the world, and we need to stand with them strongly at this point in time and make sure that we speak and act accordingly so that this does not continue, as much as we can.
The other day I heard from a friend who has a cousin who is in Ukraine. She was here in Canada for 20 years, but she chose to go back to Ukraine because she retired. She had an inheritance there in a small house that she got from her family, so that is where she retired. That house was destroyed earlier this week by a tank. Her name is Luda and now she is in hiding. Luda's family is asking that we quickly allow 200,000 refugees to come from Ukraine, at least temporarily. We have seen the backlog at the border with Poland. They are not going to be able to shelter all of these refugees alone. We need to help. Canada needs to help and quickly.
Rex Tillerson, former head and CEO of Exxon Mobil Oil, one of the world's largest oil and gas producers, said in 2014, when Russia seized Crimea from Ukraine, that they didn't take sides in international conflicts. That is an absurd statement. We need to know what side of humanity we are on. There is no commodity, no dollar earned, that is more important than the lives that are being trampled on by Vladimir Putin. Rex Tillerson's words represent the decline of western values to the point where nothing matters more than money. This needs to change immediately. The evidence is clearly at our doorstep.
I have heard the meek calls from world leaders saying we cannot disrupt Russia's oil and gas exports for various reasons. First, it will cause a spike in oil prices that will cause financial hardship in the world.
That is ironic considering the intent of all of our various tax measures on the oil and gas industry: excise taxes, royalties and carbon taxes. That one is going to escalate by 25% in less than a month in Canada. These are all designed to do exactly that: to make the consumption of hydrocarbons more expensive so that people believe that the expensive alternatives are more palatable. I suppose the message is to make it more expensive just on our own terms, but inaction to disrupt Russia's trade in oil and gas in the world is going to have some financial consequences on those countries that have chosen to have the resources supplied by Russia. This will cause inflation. There is no doubt. Just as every other input increasing prices in oil and gas impacts inflation. We are experiencing significant inflation.
Second, Europe's economy is dependent on the supply of Russian natural gas. That is also a choice that has been made, in spite of the danger that was always evident of having such a large portion of energy supply coming from an unpredictable and despotic regime. Yes, jobs will be impacted.
Third, Europeans will freeze at the end of this winter. Yes, the absence of natural gas delivery to Europe will cause some discomfort, some of which we have already seen as energy prices have skyrocketed in Europe this year. Europe is entering a period of energy poverty, and it has always been looking for a quick fix. It turns out that the impacts of being overly reliant on Russian gas supply is not the quick fix that leaders without foresight envisioned or ignored, with its own consequences.
There are many consequences, but for succinctness let us put three consequences briefly together. Higher costs for hydrocarbon energy is something that we in the west have been manipulating higher through government action for years, but higher costs suddenly will cause inflation, hardship and choices. There is also economic displacement. European factories will need to adjust and some will shut down as the cost of energy becomes prohibitive. Again, we in the western world have been offshoring our jobs for years to parts of the world with lower environmental standards and lower labour standards. On heating for homes, there is going to be some discomfort.
Let us compare these three hardships that I have just outlined here to what Luda is experiencing in Ukraine right now.
A country is being destroyed. There is no economy or jobs that will matter in the midst of a shelling war. Luda's home was destroyed by a Russian tank. The juxtaposition is stark and the world is soft-pedalling our response to Russia because we need its oil and gas. The irony is stark. Where do we draw the line here, after Ukraine, when Poland or Moldova is in Russia's sights? We need to collectively act now and ensure the entire world rejects Russian commodities. Such is the cost of tyranny, which we have been ignoring for years. The Canadian government has been a willing part of this abject shift. Dollars have flown to Russia because of the government's regard for Canada's resource industry.
In the last seven years, oil production in Russia has gone up by a million barrels a day. Gas exports have gone up 35% from Russia. Disdain for Canadian resources has led oil and gas exploration elsewhere, including the world majors. Shell and British Petroleum have just recently decided they would extract themselves from Russia, losing $20 billion and $25 billion respectively in the process. However, the largest beneficiary, particularly for the flow of capital, has been Russia, which has profited with hundreds of billions of dollars because of choices such as the ones the Liberal government has made.
These are choices. All of these choices have consequences, the consequences of curtailing Canadian oil and gas development through various ill-advised methods has led to the void being filled by less transparent regimes, primarily Russia. Our naive policies have put hundreds of billions of dollars into the pockets of a despotic regime. This week I asked the government to actually curtail oil imports into Canada from Russia, and it said we had not imported crude since 2019. Subsequently it recognized there is more to oil than crude and did suggest, on which I think it will follow through, cancelling all crude oil imports. I hope that happens immediately.
We have helped finance, through this transfer of money, a military buildup in Russia. Our military has shrunk. We do not meet our international obligations from a military perspective. I remember a song by a Canadian band from when I was young. The gist of it was that if we choose not to decide, we still have made a choice. This is a choice we have made without any eye on the consequences here. When I ran for Parliament going on two and a half years ago, it was to get pipelines built. There is no better infrastructure for helping the Canadian economy and the world environment than Canadian pipelines delivering Canadian product to markets.
Canadian natural gas production has gone down in the last seven years. Russia's has gone up by 35%, again a juxtaposition that is stark. The west coast had 14 LNG facilities in line to be built in Canada. Now there is one that is being built. In the U.S., in the meantime, seven have been fully built and five more are being built. Think about how we do not get things done in this country anymore, things that will help the world from an environmental perspective, from an economic perspective and, of course, from a democratic perspective.
One of the issues on natural gas is that it is not just a fuel. It is also an input to fertilizer. Feeding eight billion people in the world requires natural gas fertilizer and that is going to continue to be necessary to prevent a crisis at some point in time in the future. Therefore, getting that natural gas to where it is needed for fertilizer is essential.
I spoke last night for 20 minutes with a gentleman named Karil. He is a temporary foreign worker from the Ukraine working in Alberta's oil fields. He pleaded with me, and he ended up shouting at me and apologizing to me. I felt awful because he should not be apologizing to me. He is from Kharkiv and he has seen his city destroyed. He has seen his family displaced. They are looking for places to stay, and I say I am sorry to him that we cannot act more forcefully here in getting this under control.
We need to act. We need to act quickly and decisively, as soon as we can. Slava Ukraini.
Madam Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the hon. member for .
I, like my colleagues on all sides of the House, stand in solidarity with the people of Ukraine. This past week has seen them demonstrate incredible courage and strength in the face of an unprovoked and unjustifiable invasion of the Russian forces acting under the orders of President Vladimir Putin.
Russia has tried to make a mockery of our international system to force a reversion to a “might makes right” world. We will not allow this to happen. Inspired by the courage and resolve of the Ukrainian people, we are working together to suffocate the Russian regime. We are working in lockstep with our allies. Measures that were described as a last resort just days ago are now moving forward with consensus.
The Russian regime is being hit from all angles with severe, economic costs for their unjustified and unprovoked attack on Ukraine. They will feel the impact of these sanctions and penalties, financially and politically, immediately and for years to come.
President Putin and those who have enabled this crisis are increasingly isolated. Soon, there will be nowhere left for them to hide. We will continue to support the people and government of Ukraine as they fight against these illegal acts.
We remain deeply concerned by Russia's aggression against Ukraine and the impacts these actions are having on Canadian citizens and permanent residents. Today, I can assure you that our government is taking steps to assist Canadian citizens, permanent residents and the family members affected by this tragedy.
Our diplomatic staff who were in Ukraine are now safely located at our temporary office in a city in Poland close to the Ukrainian border. Our office there, along with the neighbouring Canadian embassies in Warsaw, Bucharest, Vienna and Budapest are continuing to provide essential services to Canadians, including consular services. These countries are providing robust infrastructure that has assisted us in managing demand for consular services.
Specifically, we want to continue to focus on three key areas of support: communicating with Canadians, supporting Canadians in need and continuing to plan for all consular scenarios.
We continue to communicate risk to Canadians and ensure they are able to make the best possible choices for themselves and their families. Our travel advice and advisories for Ukraine and neighbouring countries continue to be updated regularly, as well as our assessments of the safety and security environment for Canadian citizens.
These updates are always based on the latest intelligence and reflect what we are seeing on the ground. To ensure that information is available to all Canadians when they want it, on February 19 we launched a crisis website that provides a significant amount of information Canadians may need to know, including information on Ukrainian borders and public health requirements. Not only is this information available to all Canadians and permanent residents 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, but it is also continuously updated as conditions change.
The emergency watch and response centre provides 24-7 consular support to Canadians overseas who require assistance. The centre delivers a critical service that enables Canada’s ability to offer services to its citizens in Ukraine and around the world. Canadian citizens and permanent residents in need of our government’s support may contact the centre 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, via a range of communication channels, including telephone, email, text message, WhatsApp and live chat on the Global Affairs Canada website.
While the centre is able to handle routine volumes of enquiries, in the event of a significant increase in consular demand, Global Affairs Canada is able to stand up a Ukraine-specific contact centre to manage an influx in enquiries. The department maintains an inventory of over 60 people who are trained and ready to take calls from Canadians in need.
On the ground in Europe, our standing rapid deployment team, the SRDT, is ready to provide support to missions who may require surge capacity. Team members are currently on standby and, with a 4-hour notice to move, they can activate in a rapid response scenario. This group of specialists are trained and exercised to provide help and support to missions in a variety of emergency scenarios.
The has been heavily engaged with countries neighbouring Ukraine, such as Poland, which has led to assurances that Canadians, permanent residents, and their family members will be able to cross the border from Ukraine and obtain consular support outside of Ukraine.
Our government takes the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and continues to provide credible and timely information to Canadians. Our contingency planning has been, and continues to be, robust. We will remain agile as the situation on the ground continues to evolve. We are prepared, and we will continue to provide support to Canadians and permanent residents in Ukraine.
I want to reiterate what I believe all sides of this House can agree upon: President Putin’s war on Ukraine is a war on freedom, democracy, the rights of Ukrainians and ability of all people to determine their own future.
Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague, the other , for his great speech and his continuing good work on this and many other files.
This debate today gives me the opportunity to state once again Canada's unwavering and united support, how we are standing in solidarity with the people of Ukraine, and to once again, unequivocally, condemn Vladimir Putin's unprovoked and unjustifiable war of aggression against the people of the democratically elected government of Ukraine. I believe we stand united in this House across all party lines in that condemnation, and I am proud to be a Canadian parliamentarian because of that.
President Putin's war is in contravention to article 2, paragraph 4, of the UN charter. It has tyrannically shattered the lives of Ukrainian people and imposes the greatest threat to peace, security and human rights on the continent of Europe, certainly in what I have seen in my memory, and even earlier. He is implementing his shocking, distorted vision and view of history that an independent Ukraine does not exist, which is simply not true. This is a grave moment. We all stand united against this tyrant.
Yesterday, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights reported at least 227 civilian deaths, while the UN Refugee Agency estimated that one million people have already fled Ukraine. The real figures are probably even higher than that, and they will continue to rise exponentially should the Russian regime, which is being enabled by Belarus, persist with its callous and cruel disregard for human life and human rights.
The international community stands in solidarity and has condemned Russia. To look at the vote at the United Nations this week, we realize that Russia is constantly being isolated by all except for a very small number, perhaps four or five countries in the world.
Let me be clear, Russia's actions are as deplorable as they are unacceptable to us and to the international community. Indeed, they may amount to war crimes under international humanitarian law, which is why we stand together with other nations in referring this to the International Criminal Court to actually investigate whether war crimes are already being committed.
As my colleague stated, we will continue to stand with the Ukrainian people. Our response has been strong, and it has been fast. Sanctions are an important component of Canada's principled and pragmatic approach to foreign policy. The decision to deploy sanctions is not one that Canada takes lightly. In close coordination with our international allies and partners, including the United States, the U.K., the EU and Australia, Canada is holding President Putin and those complicit with his aggressive actions accountable.
On February 22, the and the announced our first round of sanctions against all members of the Russian State Duma who voted to recognize the independence of the so-called independent republics of Donetsk and Luhansk. We also began our pressure on the Russian financial system with sanctions on two Russian banks and a dealings ban on Russian sovereign debt.
On February 24, Canada continued to tighten the noose with additional sanctions on key members of President Putin's inner circle and his close contacts, those who have been benefiting from his regime.
On February 25, we moved against President Putin himself, sanctioning both him and his chief of staff. Canada also sanctioned Russia's foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, and all other members of the Russian security council, including the ministers of justice, defence and finance.
In response to Belarus's clear complicity with Russia's unacceptable actions, we also announced sanctions against some 57 Belarusian elites and entities who are close associates of Alexander Lukashenko, as well as several oligarchs.
We are continuing to put the squeeze on the Russian economy, and on February 26, we moved to disconnect Russian banks from the SWIFT global interbank payment system. This will significantly restrict their ability to send money in and out of the country, effectively pausing Russia's major imports and exports.
On February 27, in coordination with several European countries, Canada closed its airspace to Russian aircraft operators.
On February 28, we announced a dealings ban on the Russian central bank, the Russian National Wealth Fund, and the Russian Ministry of Finance. On February 28, we also announced a ban on crude oil imports from Russia. Measures to implement this ban will be finalized very shortly.
On March 1, two days ago, we announced our intention to ban Russian-owned or Russian-registered ships and fighting vessels in Canadian ports and internal waters, and yesterday we announced we would impose restrictions on an additional 10 key individuals from two important companies in Russia's energy sector.
Let me be clear: More will come until Russia disengages, de-escalates, retreats, allows Ukraine and the Ukrainian people to be free, and respects their territorial integrity. Every day we have responded to the requests of the Ukrainian people and the Ukrainian government. Every day we have done the things that are meant to suffocate the Russian economy and to isolate Russia in the world.
It is extremely important that we continue these important efforts and not be distracted by other issues. It is extremely important that we keep our eye on the ball and ensure that we are doing what President Zelenskyy and the Ukrainian government have requested of us to put that squeeze on and suffocate the Russian government. This is the way that Russians will understand what their government is doing in their name and call upon the Russian government itself to stop as well.
What President Zelenskyy has not asked for are more pipelines in Canada. What President Zelenskyy has not asked for is a retreat to 20th century energy policies. What President Zelenskyy has not asked for is to engage in a debate this day about climate change or about oil security. What President Zelenskyy has asked is for us to be laser-focused on the problems of Ukraine and to allow Ukraine to have our support on every critical aspect on which they need support.
I am deeply concerned that the Conservative Party does not get that. While I absolutely appreciate their solidarity on the actions that we have taken, what distresses me greatly is a crass opportunity that they are taking, like an opportunistic infection, to take advantage of a deeply disturbing grave international crisis that affects every one of us in this House, every Canadian and every one—
Madam Speaker, I want to point out that I will be splitting my time with my colleague from .
Today, we are being asked once again to participate in a very important debate on the situation unfolding in Ukraine. To present the Bloc Québécois's position on the Conservative motion, I would like to read it point by point.
The member for is proposing “That the House: (a) condemn President Vladimir Putin and the Russian Federation for their unprovoked, illegal attack and invasion of Ukraine”.
We completely agree with point (a). However, we were expecting that, a little later, they would make suggestions about possible additional sanctions to punish Vladimir Putin and Russia for the unprovoked and illegal invasion of Ukraine. We were also expecting them to propose additional sanctions on the oligarchs.
The member then suggests that the House “(b) stand with Ukraine, the people of Ukraine and Canadians in the Ukrainian community”.
Again, no one could be against that. We have said many times over that we stand with the people of Ukraine. We are not going to stop standing with them now. We would have liked to see some proposals, though. What more can we do on top of the humanitarian assistance we have already sent to support the people of Ukraine? Will the government increase the $10 million cap it set to match the donations Canadians make to the Red Cross? We are waiting to hear.
Will the government lift the visa requirements that are still in place for Ukrainian refugees? These people are fleeing with a small suitcase, can barely find a place to sleep, and yet they are being asked to fill in 14 copies of forms in a language that is probably not their first language. They also have to pay fees to be able to seek refuge in Canada. As the Bloc Québécois leader said, Canada is allowing people to cross the border at Roxham Road without a visa but cannot lift the visa requirement for Ukrainian refugees.
We were expecting the Conservative motion to propose ways to meaningfully demonstrate our solidarity with Ukraine, the Ukrainian people and Ukrainian Canadians. We then jumped to point (c) thinking that we would see proposals for sanctions to punish Russia, Vladimir Putin and the oligarchs who support him. We expected to see proposals in point (c) to help Ukrainians, Ukraine and our fellow Canadians of Ukrainian origin, but no. What then did we find in point (c)?
It suggests that the House “(c) call on the Government of Canada to undertake measures to ensure new natural gas pipelines can be approved and built to Atlantic tidewater, recognizing energy as vital to Canadian and European defence and security, allowing Canadian natural gas to displace Russian natural gas in Europe, and being consistent with environmental goals in the transition to non-emitting sources of energy”.
If that is not a basely self-serving argument, I do not know what is. Honestly, even if we decided to go that route and build pipelines, despite the fact that it would first of all go against the idea that we need to phase out fossil fuels, the conflict would, hopefully, be long over by then.
What would be the purpose then, other than to export the dirty oil produced in western Canada? It would have no other purpose, because our German friends cannot rely on Canadian oil and gas to replace Russian oil. That is a bogus argument. What we find in point (c) is a bad idea masquerading as a solution.
More than that, it is an idea that would hurt Ukrainians. Why?
This morning, our friend Paul Journet, in La Presse, reported that some oil companies in western Canada are owned by Russian oligarchs who are still free from Canadian government sanctions.
I would have expected the Conservatives to tell us that they are also going to impose sanctions on the oligarchs who hold shares in western Canadian gas companies. No, they are not proposing sanctions against these oligarchs.
However, if we help these oligarchs, we are helping Russia and therefore hurting Ukraine. This contradicts points (a) and (b) in the motion that the House “condemn President Vladimir Putin and the Russian Federation for their unprovoked, illegal attack and invasion of Ukraine” and that we “stand with Ukraine, the people of Ukraine and Canadians in the Ukrainian community”.
What the Conservatives are proposing means giving more cash to Russian oligarchs who have shares in western Canadian oil companies. Is that how we want to help Ukrainians? Is that the great idea of our Conservative friends to help Ukrainians?
All the Conservatives want to do is help their oil industry, period. There is no other explanation.
I can name names. How about Roman Abramovitch, who owns 28% of Evraz, which supplies steel for pipelines? That is interesting. How about Igor Makarov, Coastal GasLink's primary shareholder? These are oligarchs who are still dodging sanctions, and we would sure like to know why the Government of Canada has not yet imposed sanctions on them.
If only the Conservatives had put forward the idea of punishing these oligarchs too. Let me reiterate: The chief of staff for Alexei Navalny gave the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development a list of oligarchs who should be sanctioned, and that was long before the invasion of Ukraine. We had that list. The Government of Canada had that list. When will it impose sanctions on all those oligarchs?
Today, the Conservatives actually want us to send more cash their way and help them help Vladimir Putin invade Ukraine. We wholeheartedly agree with parts (a) and (b) of the motion, but how could we possibly support the part (c) the Conservatives have put forward in this motion? Never in a million years would we support that kind of thing because supporting the Conservatives' proposal would hurt Ukraine.
If the Conservatives had been the slightest bit reasonable and honest in their desire to help, given the climate crisis as well, they would have said that this proposal will need to be accompanied by energetic measures, no pun intended, to undertake the green transition and significantly reduce the amount of oil and gas in our economy. Once again, they come up with no such proposal. They are simply proposing that we consume even more oil and gas and export it to other countries so they can continue consuming it, which runs completely counter to the idea that we need to start the transition immediately.
Allow me to reiterate: The Bloc Québécois is voting against this motion. We take no pleasure in doing so, but we have no choice. My colleague from will most certainly provide even more reasons why, from an environmental perspective, the Bloc Québécois cannot subscribe to a motion like this one.
Madam Speaker, I want to begin by reminding members that we are deeply mired in a global climate crisis, which is recognized by all the experts. Governments around the world are mobilizing in the face of this crisis, although some are doing more than others.
We were just beginning to get out of the health crisis when Russia decided to attack Ukraine. This was a vicious attack, a clear violation of international law and a direct blow to the European community. Like many nations, Canada has chosen—and rightly so—to impose sanctions on this belligerent government, this dictatorship that seems impervious to all diplomacy as it refuses to even consider the most rudimentary thinking towards resolution and appeasement.
History will provide compelling academic explanations of what we are witnessing today, although there is no way Russia's current behaviour could ever be endorsed. However, today is not the day to hold this history workshop. Instead, we have a duty to take a very serious look at the Conservative Party's motion. My colleague from did a great job breaking down its three main points.
The Bloc Québécois has already made public statements that reflect the messages in points (a) and (b). We condemn the Russian Federation and its president, and we stand with the people of Ukraine, no matter where in the world they are. The Ukrainian diaspora that has chosen Quebec will be supported. It goes without saying that we will stand with them and help them. Just this morning, my riding office was getting calls from people who want to take in Ukrainians.
The problem is with the next point in the motion. The most outrageous part of this Conservative motion, because yes, it is outrageous, is that the Conservatives mention Ukraine but then do not propose any form of assistance. Instead, the motion would help develop Alberta's oil and gas industry, which is something neither Europe nor Ukraine are asking for.
The Conservatives do not even hide the fact that they are suggesting that promoting pipelines and other energy projects is the solution to the conflict. This solution would most certainly represent an unprecedented setback to the real progress that Europe has made over more than 10 years in improving the climate record of many of its member nations, and it would further reinforce global dependence on fossil fuels, a dependence we so desperately need to overcome.
There is no need for any of us to play innocent. We all know it, so let us just say it: For some businesses and some people, war is unfortunately a sorry excuse to fill their pockets.
Let us start by establishing that nothing could be done in time to relieve Europe's dependence on Russian energy, certainly not before the current violence ends for good.
I urge all members to be realistic and show some basic practicality. What the motion is proposing would require the construction of new pipelines from Alberta to the Atlantic, crossing Quebec. This is a 20-, 30- or 35-year project. However, GNL Québec, the only officially submitted pipeline project for exporting liquid natural gas to the Atlantic, was not expected to be operational until 2025-26. Both the Quebec government and the federal government rejected it. The now defunct energy east pipeline project estimated that it would take five years to get up and running, but it, too, was rejected by Quebec and scrapped in 2017.
This motion tells us that the answer to generations of oil wars, of which there have been several, is apparently to entrench fossil fuel dependency even more deeply by building high‑carbon infrastructure that would lock in fossil fuels beyond the middle of the century and speed us into an era of climate conflict.
The oil embargoes and price shock of the 1970s sparked major initiatives to break our dependence on fossil fuels. Sweden, Brazil and France have projects. Quebec has turned its wealth of drinking water into a forward‑thinking energy catalyst and an economic jewel for Quebec.
The momentum has stopped, but climate science and the acceleration of greenhouse gas emissions have not. We know the peril that lies ahead. In fact, on the very day this motion was tabled, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released its umpteenth report on the impact of climate change, which, far from warming our hearts, instead makes for chilling reading.
How did the Conservatives come up with a motion like this? Does the official opposition not see any other ways of helping Ukraine?
Here are a few ideas that we could implement. We could suspend visa requirements for coming to Canada. We could expand the sanctions to Belarus, which partnered with Russia in the annexation of Crimea. We could charter flights to Canada to bring in Ukrainian refugees who are stranded in overcrowded camps in neighbouring countries.
Earlier, the parliamentary secretary was bragging about how Canada was the only country to ban imports of Russian oil. That is because we have not imported oil from Russia since 2016. Could the government please come up with some more practical solutions?
Some countries are seizing the financial assets of Russian oligarchs, but we also need to look at their participating interest in Canada's oil projects. My colleague even named names. The Canadian oil and gas industry could start by taking a look in the mirror. A steel company owned by oligarchs should never have been allowed to get involved in the Coastal GasLink pipeline project, and that should be rectified immediately.
The western oil industry has been playing a key role in creating this Russian energy crisis for decades, as part of a lobby led by the American company Exxon, which wanted its share of the pie in Russia. Their partnership continued into this millennium. Rex Tillerson, the CEO of Exxon, a company that operates in Canada under the name Imperial Oil, personally received one of Russia's highest honours, the Order of Friendship, from Vladimir Putin in 2013.
Imperial Oil and its partnership with the Russian state oil company even brought Rosneft into the Alberta oil sands. The explicit goal was to transfer technological know-how so Russia could take advantage of new technologies to boost its industry—and the Kremlin's coffers—back home. In a 2012 article in the Financial Post, Claudia Cattaneo described Rosneft's arrival in Canada as a “landmark alliance” and the focus of a “new oil age”. Putin launched his first invasion of Ukraine and annexed Crimea two years later.
If we really want to stand up to Putin, support Ukraine and keep the lights on in Europe, here is what we have to do: We have to switch to renewable energy. Russia does not control renewables. In fact, Europe has been working on plans to accelerate the energy transition for years now. Given that German Chancellor Scholz put the Nord Stream 2 pipeline on hold even though his country and Italy are the western European nations most dependent on Russian natural gas, the EU probably knows what it needs to do. A February 24 article in the Washington Post covers the details. I encourage my colleagues to read it.
Greater economic rapprochement with the Russian dictatorship did not cause it to forget its ongoing geostrategic ambitions. What we need to do is accelerate the energy transition at an aggressive pace. Enough with the small steps. It is time for great leaps. We have to invest in projects that augment America's and Europe's energy security and reduce their carbon footprint.
This motion has nothing to do with the war in Ukraine. Point (c), in particular, does nothing to address the energy needs of Europe, which, by the way, has not asked Canada for anything of the sort. Using a tragic international conflict to play politics domestically is frankly cynical.
Ms. Krakovska, the head of the Ukrainian delegation at the IPCC negotiations, was clear when she said, “Human-induced climate change and the war on Ukraine have the same roots—fossil fuels—and our dependence on them”. She went on to say, “we hope the world will not surrender in building a climate resilient future”. When she mentions the world, that must include Canada.
I will conclude by saying that the Bloc Québécois believes that we must listen to what Ukraine is telling us, be attentive to the real needs that we have the capacity to meet and, above all, not give in to the temptation to exploit the situation before us.
Madam Speaker, as always, I am honoured to rise and represent the people of Timmins—James Bay. At this moment, when our world is confronted by horrific violence and naked aggression, the footage of children hiding out in bomb shelters has shocked the world. It has shocked all of us and made us understand the importance of standing as a democracy and standing for freedom.
As New Democrats, we believe that we stand together in the House for the principle of the right for people to make their own decisions, and when our neighbours are in crisis we reach out and help them. The New Democrats and I certainly support the member for and condemn President Vladimir Putin and the Russian Federation for their unprovoked illegal attack and invasion of Ukraine. Yes, the Parliament of Canada stands solidly with Ukraine, the people of Ukraine and Canadians in the Ukrainian community.
The member for tells us that what we should do with this is undertake measures to ensure that new natural gas pipelines can be approved and built out to Atlantic tidewater. I am actually appalled by the cynicism, and the exploitation of a humanitarian disaster to promote, once again, the interests of the oil sector. I know there are many on the Conservative backbench who would take that position without even blinking, but I have always had great respect for the member for Wellington—Halton Hills. Such a stunt should not be played at this time in our history.
This motion could have talked about the need to deal with Russian disinformation and the need for a strong position by our Parliament. We would have supported that.
We could have talked about the need to help with visas and the refugee crisis that is clogging the Polish border. All of us could have stood together as a Parliament and supported that.
We could have talked about the growing food crisis that we are facing. Ukraine is one of the world's bread baskets. We could have talked about the crisis of that war and what it means for global food supplies, but the Conservatives are not interested in that.
The Conservatives' fundamental view of the world has always been to take as much public money as possible and blow it on oil and gas. Even though oil and gas is making enormous profits, the Conservatives want the public to pay for it. Now they have decided that a humanitarian crisis is another good reason for them to shamelessly promote something like this. I am actually embarrassed that, as the world is looking for solidarity and a vison of democracy, freedom and rights, we are here having to play games promoting the interests of oil and gas once again in a petrostate such as Canada.
As the Ukrainian crisis comes to us, I think ironically of two other important points that have happened this past week. One is an IPCC report that says the window for saving this planet is growing very short. The UN talks about the creation of an “atlas of human suffering”.
I have never, ever actually heard Conservatives talk about the climate crisis. They talk vaguely about it. I was listening to the CBC as I was driving to Ottawa the other day. The story was about baby boomers. They were interviewing a couple of boomers who were saying, “We set out that we were going to spend the inheritance of our children and we ran out of money”. That is what we are doing here once again. Our generation is standing here, selling off the future of our children in order to make extra profits: not just profits, but extra profits for oil and gas. I urge my colleagues in the Conservative Party, if they keep talking about international standards and international law, to note that Canada has failed in every international commitment we have made in dealing with greenhouse gas emissions, and we are spending our children's inheritance right now.
The third element that I think is important is, of course, that we found out that we are now on the hook for $21 billion of taxpayers' money for the TMX pipeline, and that we are going to spend enormous amounts of taxpayers' money promoting the export of bitumen overseas as a Canadian public policy, which is going to be covered by the taxpayers. We are going to get into some of these pipe dreams of the Conservatives. It is a pipe dream ideology that betrays workers and is fundamentally unsound economically because it is based on the massive use of taxpayers' money again and again. It is, of course, undermining the very future of our planet, earth.
I was thinking of buying myself a map of Canada that I could give to my colleagues in the Conservative Party, because if we look at the map of Canada, we see that to get a pipeline from Alberta to the Atlantic we have to cross Quebec. I am not from Quebec, but Mr. Legault is kind of a conservator. He shut down the Saguenay LNG pipeline. Why was that? He shut it down because it would undermine Canada's international obligations to deal with greenhouse gas emissions. This was a $9-billion project that would have certainly benefited many jobs in Quebec, but he made the decision that he was not going to invest here.
Of course, the Conservatives do not want us to know about the fact that they could not even get a pipeline built to tidewater, because to do it we would have to get across Quebec and Quebec is saying no, as it has obligations. They are talking about how this is somehow all about helping, that it is a humanitarian project that is helping the planet. Those are falsehoods.
It is also a falsehood economically, because right now in north American there are at least a dozen LNG projects that are going nowhere and have gone—
Madam Speaker, I will take this moment to apologize to any European soccer player who has never played the game and never shown a great propensity to lie on the ground and howl. I apologize to them greatly.
We are dealing with something serious here. We are dealing with a party that is using a humanitarian disaster to exploit falsehoods. I will call that out and I will not be silent, because they are trying to fake out Canadians that there is somehow an economic argument. Let us throw mindless amounts of money that will somehow get to Ukraine and make some money.
If members want another example, it is like coming upon a horrific car accident, and as we are trying to pull people out of the car accident, someone is climbing over them and saying, “Hey. I'm from Abe's Honest Used Car Service. Let me sell you a car.” This is not what we do in the middle of a humanitarian disaster, because right now, as I said, 12 major LNG projects are not going ahead. Things are not further ahead, but the Conservatives want to build a pipeline of 2,000 kilometres. In Europe right now, stocks in clean energy have taken off. Why have they taken off? It is because Europe knows that its future is in clean energy.
Let us talk about Conservative mathematics, and certainly Liberal mathematics too, because the Liberals are now on the hook. They bought a pipeline because Kinder Morgan knew it did not have the financial capacity to build a $5.4-billion pipeline. It went to the Conservative government in Alberta in 2014 and asked it to backstop the TMX pipeline. Alberta said no since the money was not there and the economic case was not there.
The Conservatives and big oil accused the Liberals of hating the oil sector, so the signed up and hooked us into a pipeline that is now at $21 billion. Here is the thing. We paid Kinder Morgan for selling us a leaky pipeline and it used taxpayer money to give the CEO bonuses for hoodwinking us.
Here is the other thing that is important to know in the scam that we are dealing with in continually giving money to big oil. The cost overruns are locked in at $7 billion. Those are all the extra overruns in the pipeline. For the tolls that run the oil through the pipe, all the extra costs are being paid for by the taxpayer. Not only are we paying $21 billion, but every barrel of bitumen that goes overseas from here on in will be paid for by the taxpayer. That is a pretty good deal for big oil and, again, it is being paid for by the taxpayer. However, that is perfectly normal mathematics in the world of the Conservatives, who think that this is how money should be spent.
Why is TMX so fundamentally important to the ideology of the Conservatives and the Liberals? It is because they were never focused on supplying Canada's energy needs. They were not interested in that. They stand and rant about how Saudi Arabian oil, Venezuelan oil and Nigerian oil are coming down the St. Lawrence, but it is not true. Quebec refineries are not using that. This is about export. Why is export so important? It is because none of the emissions of burned bitumen count as part of Canada's total. Right now, our emissions total from exports is more than all the emissions in Canada combined. Talk about the burning the planet. We are looking at an increase of 1.2 million barrels a year thanks to TMX and thanks to the money that is being invested by the government.
I will refer to a recent article in Forbes Magazine from January 28, 2022. It says that big oil is using the big tobacco playbook because they realize they have lost the argument in Canada on the energy crisis. People don't believe them anymore. What they have done is turned to export. They are looking to create markets in the global south. They are looking to China, where there are lower standards. That is the economic model and none of those burned barrels of bitumen in places like China or in markets in India will ever be counted in the global total. That is how we burn the planet while getting to net zero.
The Conservatives have tried to tell us that this pipeline is some kind of humanitarian grain mission. We do not deal with food in pipelines. I know the Conservatives would love to add it in the mix, but it is not there. However, they keep talking about how this is a clean fuel. The problem is that Canada has failed on this time and time again.
I will refer members to the problem with methane. The made a promise of cutting 45% by 2025. We never got there. Now he is saying we are going to get to 75% by 2030. I mention methane because if we cut methane emissions on natural gas, then we can say this is a transition fuel. However, methane is a planet killer. Everybody knows this, but we have not seen the industry take any steps to deal with methane. We can do this. I talk to people in the industry. We can get to zero on methane, yet this planet killer is leaking out of abandoned wells, leaking out of pipelines and leaking out of refineries. What do they do? Of course, they go to the government and say, “Help us.”
The Liberal government has held 6,800 backroom meetings with the oil lobby since the Liberal government came in. The Conservatives say the Liberal government is against big oil, but it is just a myth. We have had $121 billion in oil subsidies. The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers has come forward and said it wants $75 billion in carbon capture. We are paying $21 billion for TMX. We are on the hook for $1 billion for abandoned wells.
Then big oil came forward asking to be given money to deal with methane, and the government gave them $132 million to clean up methane. Now here is the thing. What were the goals of the methane reduction program? Number one was to attract investment. Number two was to increase competitiveness. Well, that is not saving the planet. Then down at number three was finding some equipment to help reduce methane emissions.
Why does this matter? It is because the environment commissioner has said that Canada, which used to be a world leader, is now at the back of the G7. This methane reduction program was not used to deal with the planet killer. It was used as a subsidy to big oil and it allowed them to increase production. What the environment commissioner also found was that they are not even tracking any of the background emissions. They do not even know how bad methane is. They have not bothered, yet we are writing cheques for $134 million and we do not even know how it is spent. Meanwhile, the planet is burning.
The Conservatives have a whole series of myths they try to perpetuate about how hard done by the west is on this and how hard done by oil and gas is. This is a group that is belligerently fighting for billions in taxpayer subsidies to support the typewriter when the rest of the world is moving to the cellphone.
I want to point out one of the myths I have been hearing. It is that rules on environmental standards in Canada are somehow scaring off investments. That is simply not true. I refer members to a Wall Street Journal headline that says financial giants are quitting what they call “one of the world's dirtiest oil patches”. That is something they also do not want us to know. Canada's—
Madam Speaker, I would tell my hon. colleague that if the truth hurts, too bad, so sad, because the Conservatives have taken the crisis in Ukraine, the humanitarian suffering, the deaths, the murder of innocent people, turned it around and said this is a great opportunity for them to take billions in taxpayers' money to promote the interests of oil and gas. If they do not like the mathematics of how bad that is, then they should not be in the chamber. Too bad, so sad, because this is their motion. We could have been debating anything of substance. Instead, we are debating Conservative mythologies.
As I was saying, over the last few years, 60 financial institutions, including Deutsche Bank, HSBC Holdings plc, Hartford Financial, the Japan Petroleum Exploration, have all pulled out of Canada. Why? It is because of the lack of a plan to deal with the climate crisis.
Not only are the Conservatives misrepresenting the facts in terms of the horrific humanitarian crisis, but they are misrepresenting the facts to workers because the transition is here. We see the potential. Calgary Economic Development and Edmonton Global are saying that if we start to invest now in clean energy, we are looking at an additional $61 billion for the provincial Alberta economy. If they continue with business as usual, there will be only $4 billion. Year in, year out, we see drops in employment in the oil sector and that is not because people are being mean to them. It is because industry is cutting jobs and making more profits. That is the thing.
That leads me back to the Forbes comparison. Forbes says that having lost the debate in Canada on the climate crisis, oil and gas have shifted, like big tobacco, to the global south, where the number one plan is to make some claims about greenwashing, shift massive exports to the global south where it does not count and then only invest enough in clean tech so it looks like they are doing something. Meanwhile, the market has moved beyond, and it has moved beyond in a substantial way. What we have been given, time and time again, by the Conservative Party is a fake, failed mythology when, year in, year out, jobs in the oil patch have gone down and the opportunity for a clean-tech economy is staring us in the face. There is a huge potential, but if we do not meet that, then we are consigning our children to no future.
To get back to the motion at hand in a very clear way, I have seen a lot of ways the Conservatives and the Liberals will bend over backwards to give taxpayers' money to big oil, to excuse all manner of abuses of accountability and to go along with all manner of fake claims about dealing with the crisis, but emissions have continued to rise, year in, year out. We are talking about the future of our planet, but we are talking about it now, within the context of a global crisis, a humanitarian crisis where people are dying. They expect more from us than this gaudy attempt to claim that our best response to Ukraine is to spend billions of dollars on an unproven, unplanned, unidentified pipeline, when the Europeans are already moving toward clean energy alternatives. This is exploitative and crass.
I have enormous respect for my colleague from , so I will offer an amendment in order for us to come together and show a higher standard. I move that the motion be amended in paragraph (c) by deleting all the words after “Government of Canada to” and substituting the following, “greatly increase humanitarian aid for Ukraine and for countries bordering Ukraine that have already accepted hundreds of thousands of refugees and provide targeted supports to ethnic minorities who have faced discrimination in their attempt to flee Putin's war in Ukraine.”
Madam Speaker, I would like to inform the House that I will be sharing my time with the member for .
On Thursday, February 24, moments after Vladimir Putin's deadly, bloody and unlawful invasion of Ukraine, the Canadian Army issued a statement announcing that a contingent of 120 soldiers from Valcartier's 5e Régiment d'Artillerie Légère would be deployed to Latvia within 30 days to support a battery of M777 artillery guns.
Putin's attack is having a direct impact today in my riding. CFB Valcartier is located in the riding of my valiant colleague from , to whom I give my regards. However, many military members from Valcartier live in my riding. These are people I run into at the corner store, the supermarket or the local café. They are men and women who put on the uniform to defend our country's honour and the values we hold dear. These individuals are in my thoughts today, especially those 120 men and women who are going to be deployed to Latvia in the wake of Putin's deadly attack on Ukraine.
Europe has not seen aggression on this scale since 1945, and all the decent countries in the world strongly condemn it. I want to make it clear that this is about Putin, not about Russians. I know some of my constituents were born in Russia and have chosen to live in Canada. These people join with everyone in condemning Putin's illegal, murderous and brutal aggression. We must distinguish the dictator, Putin, from the rest of the people of Russia, like the thousands of Russians who have bravely, honourably and nobly spoken out against their president.
This aggression has brought back the horrors of Second World War. My background is in history, and I have a particular interest in the history of the Second World War. I never thought I would live to see such horrific images of real war in real time. This is what we are dealing with.
This attack on Ukraine is an attack on the values that we, as Canadians, defend. Our values of freedom and democracy are humanitarian values that Putin so contemptuously rejects.
Like many people, I was very touched by these images. It was so inspiring to see ordinary citizens, with no armour or weapons, confronting Putin's Russian tanks. Let us applaud the courage of these individuals who, alone or with dozens or hundreds of friends, managed to block Putin's tanks to stop them from invading. That is one of the inspiring images we have seen. Unfortunately, it is a rare one, because every day we are seeing the horrors and ugliness of this war of aggression that should not even be happening. However, that is the reality.
My thoughts are also with the million, or almost million and a half, Ukrainian Canadians. We salute them. I know a few personally, of course, and I want to send them my regards.
From the start, the Canadian government has been taking action to address these tragic events, which unfortunately have still not come to an end. We support that action. We applaud the Canadian government for responding so quickly. The Conservatives applaud and encourage the announcements that are being made on a daily basis. We also hope that the government will do even more.
Diplomacy is a way to address an aggression, and the Putin aggression must have a diplomatic reaction from our government.
That is why the in the House of Commons, in an important and heartfelt speech, talked about a few measures that the Conservatives are proposing the Government of Canada take to show its disapproval of what Putin is doing in Ukraine.
First, the government needs to expel the Russian ambassador. That is a diplomatic measure that will not affect anyone's life. However, it will send a clear message that we are opposed to what is happening. We also need to recall the Canadian Ambassador in Moscow.
The government needs to strongly suggest to the CRTC that it issue an order prohibiting our cable companies here in Canada from broadcasting programming from the Russian television network RT. We applaud the private cable companies that have already done so.
Russia must also be expelled from all international organizations. When, unfortunately, in 2015 and 2016, Putin invaded Crimea, we expelled him from the G8. It was our government that was very proactive in this area. Today, it would be an excellent idea for Russia to be expelled from the G20, among other things.
We also want to speed up the issuing of visas. We know that the government has made announcements to that effect and that they are moving in the right direction. The goal is to allow as many Ukrainian citizens as possible to come to Canada, particularly those who want to join their families.
We must also highlight the fact that this war reminds us of our dependence on our geography. The hon. member for , himself a retired lieutenant‑colonel, put it well.
When we look at the map, we think that Canada and Russia are far apart. Russia is actually not that far away, because we share a common border, the Arctic. Unfortunately, I must say that this government has not been very proactive in the Arctic. The previous government and its prime minister, however, were very proactive in ensuring a Canadian presence in the Arctic.
That also means modernizing and updating our NORAD facilities and military infrastructure, from equipping our air force with F‑35s to shipbuilding. This tragedy taking place in Ukraine calls into question our relationship as Canadians with our neighbour to the north, not our distant neighbour to the east or west.
This tragedy exposes the fact that, now more than ever, the whole world needs to ensure energy security for all. Russia supplies 40% of the natural gas consumed in Europe. Putin and his thugs are wielding this fact like weapon and have been doing so for a long time.
In 2015, the European Union, the EU, wrote a report detailing the situation we are facing now. It says that energy policy is often used as an instrument of foreign policy, especially in major oil producing and transit countries. It is talking about Russia. The report also states that the EU will use all its foreign policy instruments to establish strategic energy partnerships with producer countries and transit countries or regions that are becoming more important.
That proposal was made in 2015, but nobody listened, unfortunately. In December, Democratic U.S. President Joe Biden said there would have to be agreements with other countries, such as Norway. Canada should be part of it too. On February 24, President Biden said that his administration has been “coordinating with major oil-producing and consuming countries toward our common interest to secure global energy supplies”.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is quoted in the Globe and Mail today. He stated that the events of the past few days have shown him that a responsible and forward-looking energy policy is crucial not only for Germany's economy, but also for its environment. It is also crucial for its security. He believes that his country must change course to overcome its dependency on single-source energy imports. His comments are similar to those of the Democratic U.S. President and those of the European Union in 2015.
That is why we believe that Canada, which is the fifth-largest producer of natural gas, must lend a hand in this situation to ensure global energy security. We must also remember that millions of Ukrainians are currently suffering as a result of Putin's vicious attack, and that 120 Canadian soldiers at CFB Valcartier, in the Quebec City area, will soon be deployed to Ukraine.
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 Zelenskyy'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.
Madam Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for .
Slava Ukraini. Heroyam slava. Those words mean “glory to Ukraine” and “glory to the heroes.”
I start with these words, because never have they been more appropriate. A valiant, courageous stand has been taken by Ukrainian leaders, soldiers and everyday Ukrainian citizens in defending their country. They are refusing to leave and refusing to capitulate to the unlawful, illegal aggressor Vladimir Putin.
We have seen babas, grandmothers, taking up arms, we have seen young men and women doing night patrols in cities around Ukraine, and we have seen average residents learning to make Molotov cocktails, all in defiance of an enemy army that wants to take control over Ukraine's territory and Ukraine's ability to govern itself. That is the scene unfolding in Ukraine day after day. It is a scene that has captured the spirit of democracies and democracy lovers around the planet. Nowhere was this sentiment more defiantly represented than when President Zelenskyy, when offered the chance of an evacuation by American military personnel, said quite famously, “I need ammunition, not a ride”. This is the defiance of a leader who is prepared to stand and fight rather than flee.
I represent thousands of Ukrainian Canadians in this Parliament as the representative of Parkdale—High Park. In better times, we celebrate Ukrainian heritage at things such as the Bloor West Village Toronto Ukrainian Festival, which takes place every September in my community. Now, my communications with those constituents are very different. They are imploring me to call out Russia and to advocate.
Let me be clear. Russia illegally annexed Crimea in 2014. Russia unlawfully and illegally invaded the Donbass in 2014, and it is Russia again, entirely unprovoked, that has commenced this horrific, deadly and illegal war of aggression in a further invasion of Ukraine in the hopes of restoring some lost sense of empire for Vladimir Putin.
With respect to the motion before us, I stand unequivocally to condemn Vladimir Putin and the Russian Federation for this further illegal invasion of Ukraine. I unequivocally stand with my constituents, and I believe with all Canadians, in solidarity with Ukraine, with Ukrainian Canadians and with Ukrainians who want to live freely, peacefully and with the ability to make decisions about their nation alone and free from outside influence and interference. This is, in fact, the promise of the UN charter crafted in 1945 that has been broken in these past eight days by Vladimir Putin.
For weeks, I and my colleagues have been advocating for a strong response from Canada to this military buildup and, seven days ago, this second unlawful invasion of Ukraine. Those pleas have been responded to. In these past weeks, Canada has been unequivocal in its denunciation of the invasion of the Donbass and its rejection of the annexation of Crimea. We have been very clear that Russia's second invasion, which commenced a week ago, is illegal, unlawful and must end immediately.
We have trained over 33,000 Ukrainian soldiers through Operation Unifier, which I personally was able to observe at their Independence Day on the Maidan in Kyiv in 2018. We have provided the Ukrainian military with defensive equipment worth as much as $35 million and lethal weaponry worth $7.8 million, which was announced over a week ago. On February 28, 100 anti-armour weapon systems and 2,000 rockets were being delivered. Just today, the announced a further supply of lethal weaponry: 4,500 M72 rocket launchers and 7,500 hand grenades. We have expanded Operation Reassurance and have put 3,400 Canadian soldiers on standby for mobilization in the NATO response force. We are also providing cybersecurity support to Ukraine's military.
We are suffocating the Russian economy in concert with our allies. We have imposed massive sanctions: 440 of them on individuals and entities including Putin himself, his security council and the oligarchs who surround him. This is extended to Belarusian leaders who are facilitating this illegal invasion. We have removed several Russian banks from SWIFT, putting them back in the dark ages of financial transactions.
We are, at the same time, working to boost the Ukrainian economy with $620 million in sovereign loans and humanitarian aid that now totals $150 million. In conjunction with this, we have provided a matching donation program that has been very well received by the Ukrainian Canadians I represent and those around the country. It is matching up to $10 million in donations that Canadians are offering themselves.
We are assisting those fleeing Ukraine. We have processed 4,000 applications thus far. What I would say on this point, and this is fundamental, is that all those who are fleeing Ukraine for their own lives and safety must be treated equally. I am very troubled by reports of racism and discrimination against Africans and Indians attempting to flee western Ukraine for Poland.
I applaud foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba, who announced just yesterday the establishment of an emergency hotline for African, Asian and other students who wish to leave Ukraine. I applaud him for this humanitarian decision that helps ensure international students, regardless of the colour of their skin, do not become the victims of Putin's war.
Just today, as has come up in this debate, we have announced a new immigration stream with Ukraine to eliminate most of the visa requirements, making travel fast and effective, and to provide things such as single-journey travel documents for those who left at such a pace that they did not even have proper documentation.
We are assisting those who are in Canada to stay in Canada. They can work in Canada and remain here. We have prohibited flights in our airspace. We have banned the importation of Russian crude oil. Bell and Rogers have removed Russia Today. These are important steps.
What I also want to add to this debate is the injection of international humanitarian law. I was very pleased to see the head prosecutor of the ICC, Mr. Karim Khan, indicate that he has opened an investigation into the situation in Ukraine to determine if war crimes, crimes against humanity or both are occurring.
We have seen reports of cluster bombs and vacuum bombs that are very troubling. There are reports of civilians being targeted, and of civilian infrastructure being targeted, such as hospitals. On their face, these would seen to trigger article 8.2, subsection b of the Rome Statute that created the ICC, which says that targeting civilians or civilian infrastructure can be considered a war crime under international law. This is why the chief prosecutor stated in his announcement, “I am satisfied that there is a reasonable basis to believe that both alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity have been committed in Ukraine”.
Having prosecuted, prior to politics, the Rwandan genocide on behalf of the United Nations, I know that this is critical. It is critical to bring the perpetrators to justice, but it is also critical that we understand that the evidentiary burden is high and it is vital to gather evidence now: not in the weeks, months or years following this conflict. It is critical to amass that evidence to marshal a prosecution. I applaud the ICC prosecutor for taking this step now and not many months from now.
My personal commitment is directly to my constituents, to Ukrainian Canadians and to all Canadians who are horrified by what they are witnessing daily in Ukraine. I commit to working to ensure that our government is assisting in that evidence-gathering exercise that is so critical to marshalling a successful prosecution of the commission of potential war crimes or crimes against humanity.
I further commit to working with our government to close loopholes so that the removal of Russian banks and the Russian economy from the SWIFT interaction system is comprehensive. We do not need Russians evading the SWIFT system or these sanctions via loopholes. I also commit to advocating for a complete economic embargo of Russia by Canada. This is a necessary step and will further suffocate the Russian economy.
Finally, I commit to working to ensure that our military aid is maintained. Today's announcement is the right and proper one, but where Canada does not have the inventory to supply further anti-aircraft or anti-tank weaponry, I commit to working to help procure that on behalf of Ukrainians from other sources, including other nations and the private sector.
I am going to return to where I began. Slava Ukraini. Heroyam slava. Glory to Ukraine in its defence against this illegal aggression, and glory to the heroes who have stood by so valiantly to defend their homeland and defend democracy, literally, for all of us.
Madam Speaker, on February 24 we saw the president of Russia invoke and provoke a war on the people of Ukraine. It was completely unprovoked and unjustified. Moments later, reactions from the world were almost unanimous, including that of the of Canada, in condemning it. There was a sense that people, whether they were those of Ukrainian heritage from around the world, their friends and allies, or people in general, understood that this was wrong.
In Canada, there was a great feeling that we needed to come together to recognize just how important it is to speak with one voice in solidarity. I would suggest that a good part of the condemnation of what the Russian president had done to the people of Ukraine was here in Canada, from the people of Canada, particularly from the Prime Minister of Canada.
On February 28, the member for , who happens to be the chair of the Canada-Ukraine Parliamentary Friendship Group, sought unanimous consent for a motion which detailed how the House, “Condemns this unjustified and unprovoked attack, which was ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin, as a clear violation of international law, the UN Charter, and the rights of Ukraine to sovereignty, territorial integrity, freedom and democracy” and “Stands unwavering and united in our solidarity with the people of Ukraine.”
We have seen other members in the House, me included, by way of Standing Order 31, talk about the importance of solidarity and how important it is that we let Ukraine know in a very clear fashion that it has a friend in Canada. Members will recall that we had take-note debates, which were supported by members on all sides of the House. We had not one but two. Earlier today, we had a member stand in this place and ask for unanimous consent to recommend to the city of Ottawa that the street the Russian embassy happens to be on should be renamed after the President of Ukraine. I hope to see that happen. Maybe other urban and municipal areas across Canada will take note of recognizing that hero.
I do not want to claim to really appreciate the degree of bravery the people of Ukraine have demonstrated to the world by standing up for Ukraine, democracy, freedoms and the many things that come with that. They are stepping up to the plate to the greatest degree. Lives are being lost. I hope we continue on in recognizing those heroes, and that we continue on in a unified front, as much as possible, to support solidarity.
I raised this issue earlier today in a form of a question. The Conservative Party knows that the resolution they brought forward is not going to receive unanimous support. There is no way that it will get the unanimous support of the House.
I will read what is in the motion itself. It is asking for the House to “(a) condemn President Vladimir Putin and the Russian Federation for their unprovoked, illegal attack and invasion of Ukraine; [and] (b) stand with Ukraine, the people of Ukraine and Canadians in the Ukrainian community”. It then goes on to—