Remarks on Situation in Ukraine
Thank You Mr. Speaker.
I will be sharing my time with the member from Etobicoke Centre.
Like all Ontarians, I am deeply disturbed and saddened by the events that have been unfolding in Ukraine.
Over the past few months the World has been witness to increasing violence against peaceful demonstrators seeking democracy and a better quality of life.
The past few days have been particularly brutal due to an escalation of violence in Kiev, which has shocked us all.
Despite media reports yesterday that President Viktor Yanukovych pledged to end the violence, today the violence has escalated further and more demonstrators have been killed.
A lot of damage has been done.
Many lives have been tragically lost.
On behalf of the Government of Ontario and my Liberal Colleagues I would like to express my deepest sympathies to the families and friends of the victims of these tragic events and to the people of Ukraine.
Ontario is a very diverse province which includes a strong and vibrant Ukrainian community.
A community that has a large presence in many of our ridings.
We all know a member of the Ukrainian community who is watching these events with mounting concern and anguish.
Our hearts go out to those with families and friends in the region.
I’m pleased to see that the Canadian Government has been engaged with Ukrainian Non-governmental Organizations to provide medical supplies.
However, I am mindful that there is more that could be done to help the situation.
I would like to see the Federal Government enact immediate targeted sanctions toward those responsible.
I would like to see the Federal Government use its considerable international influence to convince international partners, in particular the countries of the European Union, to likewise implement sanctions against those responsible for the killings and Human Rights abuses.
In addition I would like to call on the Federal Government to deploy Canadian observers to Ukraine’s hospitals and clinics, its courts and its morgues.
This will help ensure the fair treatment of the demonstrators and the accurate reporting of the injuries and fatalities.
These actions will serve as a reminder to those precipitating the violence that the World is not only watching, but will act – will hold them responsible.
We as community advocates, as leaders and as MPPs have a responsibility to speak up when human rights are violated.
This is why we stand today in solidarity with the members of the Ukrainian community and all Ontarians who seek a peaceful and democratic path for Ukraine and its people who are striving with such courage for their dignity and freedom.