Last weekend I had the opportunity to attend a prayer vigil at Riverwalk Commons in support of Ukraine. I would like to thank community leaders who provided an opportunity for us to come together in peace, with love and hope in our hearts. Thank you to Newmarket’s faith leaders and to Mayor John Taylor and Newmarket Council for arranging this thoughtful and caring event.
Throughout our country, Canadians are expressing their support for the people of Ukraine, for those living here in Canada and those around the world. We see it in the singing of the Ukrainian national anthem at public events, the wearing of their national colours, the support through charitable organizations, and through our desire to help a nation that is demonstrating so much resolve, courage, and defiance in the face of a brutal attack on its people and sovereignty.
Canada condemns, in the strongest possible terms, Russia’s egregious attack on Ukraine. These unprovoked actions are not only a violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and independence, they are also in violation of Russia’s obligations under international law and the Charter of the United Nations.
Russia’s attack on Ukraine is also an attack on democracy, on human rights, and on freedom. It threatens peace and order in Europe, and around the world. These unwarranted actions will not go unpunished.
Canada has opened its doors to Ukrainians fleeing Putin’s war, with no limit on how many we are willing to accept. We know that some family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents may wish to start a new life in Canada, and we’re working with the Ukrainian-Canadian community to quickly implement a special family reunification sponsorship pathway for permanent residence. All those who arrive in Canada as part of these measures will be eligible for open work permits, and will quickly be able to seek employment, if they so choose. This is the Canada that makes me proud.
Collectively, we must hope that the efforts of so many nations united in their condemnation of this aggression, united in their support of Ukraine, and united in the sanctions brought upon Russia will bring an end to Putin’s war. Peaceful gatherings like the one that took place in Newmarket, and those taking place around the world, will serve as a beacon, showing the people of Ukraine that the world stands with them.
In closing I would like to share a quote from Canada’s 14th Prime Minister, and recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1957 – Lester B Pearson.
“Of all our dreams today there is none more important – or so hard to realize – than that of peace in the world. May we never lose faith in it or our resolve to do everything than can be done to convert it one day into reality.”