January 24th, 2022
NDP’s statement on Ukraine
New Democrats stand in solidarity with the people of Ukraine. We are alarmed by escalating threats of further Russian invasion. Canada was the first country to recognize Ukraine’s independence 30 years ago and we must continue to support an independent and democratic Ukraine.
We urge Canada to work with our allies, the UN, the OSCE, and NATO to find a real diplomatic solution to this looming crisis. Canada should focus its efforts on diplomacy, non-lethal assistance, and possible economic sanctions - including Magnitsky sanctions - as a deterrent.
We support the extension of training Operation UNIFIER. However, we remain concerned by reports of extremism within a small part of the Ukrainian military, a problem that many militaries, including our own, have faced. Our armed forces should not train or support any far-right extremist groups anywhere in the world. Canada must take every possible action against extremism. Any Canadian training must assist the Ukrainian military in becoming more democratic and accountable, with full respect for international law and human rights.
While we support non-combat military training, we do not support the provision of arms or lethal military gear. For years, experts have warned about the misuse and potential diversion of small arms and light weapons in this and other regions. Canada has a poor history of monitoring small arms proliferation and compliance. Further, the transfer of arms may only serve to escalate sensitivities in the region at a time when we need to be focusing on peace and diplomacy.
We urge Canada to advocate for women from all sides of the conflict to be included in negotiations and discussions on the future of the region. Canada has committed to the Women, Peace and Security Agenda; a feminist foreign policy requires the full inclusion of women in all diplomatic, conflict prevention and peacebuilding efforts.
The NDP has always believed peace is achievable through diplomacy. New Democrats urge the Canadian government to do its part to support the people of Ukraine through robust diplomacy. Millions of Eastern Europeans are counting on us to help foster peace.