When Vladimir Putin triggered his invasion of Ukraine, he not only initiated an unprovoked war on the sovereign, democratic state of Ukraine, he issued a direct challenge to the peace and security of Europe, to liberal democracies, and the international rules-based system.
With the second largest diaspora of Ukrainians in the world, this is personal for many Canadians. As one of the over 1.3 million Canadians with roots in Ukraine, it is true for me as well. In the face of overwhelming odds, the world has been inspired by the courageous response of Ukrainians to the barbaric attack on their homeland. In the past few weeks, we have seen the Western World rally to support our Ukrainian friends in a show of solidarity not seen in decades.
Canada continues to play a leading role in this effort through financial, humanitarian, and military support, and most importantly, through putting economic sanctions on Russia to deprive its ability to finance this illegal war.
Canada has provided $120 million in sovereign loans to support the Ukrainian economy in response to Russian aggression. A total of $150 million in humanitarian assistance has been sent to Ukraine, and we have matched every donation made by individual Canadians to the Canadian Red Cross. You can donate here.
Canada has provided rocket launchers, anti-tank weapons systems, ammunition, as well as rations, body armour, satellite capability, and much more. We are also bolstering our support for NATO, sending an additional 460 personnel to join the approximately 800 currently deployed in Europe.
Canada has closed its airspace, its waters, and ports to Russian vessels, banned imports of crude oil, and cancelled all export permits.
In coordination with our G7 allies, Russian banks have been removed from the SWIFT payment network, a critical part of the global financial system, and we have implemented restrictions against the Russian Central Bank and 27 key financial institutions. Putin and Russian oligarchs have had assets frozen, and a bill is in the Senate that would allow redirection of their assets held in Canada.
We are also continuing to assist Ukrainian Canadians, their family members, and refugees with all immigration matters. Canada is waiving fees and prioritizing applications for Ukrainians who want to reunite or travel with family, study, work or start a new life in Canada. We also created the Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel that will eliminate most of the normal visa requirements and allow Ukrainians to stay in Canada for up to two years with open work permits. A dedicated immigration service channel for Ukraine enquiries can be reached at 613-321-4243.
I have been heartened by the thousands of emails, calls, and messages I have received across our community standing in solidarity with Ukraine. I want to recognize Jaime Webbe from West Vancouver, head of the United Nations Association in Canada, who has organized a fundraising campaign to help Ukrainian refugees, which you can donate to here. If you have the means to support one of the over two million Ukrainians who have fled their homeland, I encourage you to donate or visit our Sponsor a Refugee webpage.
As Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland put it, this is one of those times, and one of those places, where freedom confronts tyranny. We are determined that freedom will triumph, and it will.
Member of Parliament for West Vancouver – Sunshine Coast – Sea to Sky Country.