Where are voices for peace in Parliament?

Elizabeth May & CEO of Ukrainian Canadian Congress

Canada is calling for “regime change” in Russia in a new escalation of the NATO proxy war.

During a press conference on Friday foreign affairs minister Mélanie Joly said, “we’re able to see how much we’re isolating the Russian regime right now — because we need to do so economically, politically and diplomatically — and what are the impacts also on society, and how much we’re seeing potential regime change in Russia.” On a day the government announced a full ban on Russian steel and aluminum imports, Joly added that “the goal is definitely to do that [regime change].”

A day earlier Defence Minister Anita Anand announced the expedited purchase of hundreds of millions of dollars in anti-tank, anti-aircraft and anti-drone weapons for Canadian Forces in eastern Europe. The arms for Canadians stationed on Russia’s border in Latvia will be purchased through a fast-track mechanism last used during the war in Afghanistan.

Over the past year the federal government has nearly doubled Canada’s military presence in eastern Europe to over 1,000 troops. The size of the Canadian-led NATO brigade in Latvia is doubling to 3,000 while the number of Canadian troops in Poland and Romania has also increased.

The Liberals are able to steadily escalate Canada’s contribution to NATO’s proxy war with Russia because there is very little push back. All parties with representation in the House of Commons – Conservatives, NDP, Bloc Québecois and Greens – effectively agree with the government on the war.

Continuing a push to expand NATO she began before Russia’s invasion, NDP Foreign affairs critic Heather McPherson recently participated in a parliamentary delegation to promote Sweden’s adhesion to the aggressive military alliance. Afterwards McPherson visited Kyiv to meet Deputy Prime Minister Yulia Svyrydenko and Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada Oleksand Kornienko.

McPherson has only criticized the Liberals for not being more hawkish on NATO’s proxy war. On the one-year anniversary of Russia’s large-scale invasion she tweeted, “One year ago the world finally recognized true horror Putin and the Russian Federation planned for Ukraine and the Ukrainian people — a complete genocide of the people and culture. However, he miscalculated. Ukraine fought back. Ukraine will triumph.”

Despite a constitutional commitment to nonviolence, the Green Party has barely been better. Green co-leader Elizabeth May praised the head of the European Union’s rah-rah war speech before Parliament last week. She tweeted, “amazingspeech from H.E. Ursula von der Leyen in Parliament. My seat mate for the event Ihor Michalchyshyn. (CEO of Ukrainian Canadian Congress). #SlavaUkrainii”.

As former Green Party leadership candidate Dimitri Lascaris responded, “Elizabeth May now checks all the boxes on Biden’s proxy war in Ukraine: 1. Praising the EU’s leading warmonger? Check. 2. Ingratiating herself with the CEO of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress? Check. 3. Wearing the colours of Ukraine’s flag? Check. 4. Ending her tweets with “SlavaUkrainii”? Check.”

May sat with the Ukrainian Canadian Congress representative during von der Leyen’s speech to patch things over with the ultranationalist group after they called her “ignorant” for proposing peace talks.

The recent about face from the other Green co-leader was even starker. On CBC The House two weeks ago Jonathan Pedneault questioned Canadian arms donations to Ukraine ($2.26 billion last year, according to Le Devoir). A few days later Pedneault posted to Twitter: “Some of my statements understandably angered members of the Ukrainian community in Canada. I wish to apologize and retract any suggestion that Ukraine might act, now or in the future, in ways that go beyond its stated, legitimate objective of reclaiming its territory and ending the Russian aggression. Having traveled to Ukraine during the first ten days of the conflict, I witnessed and documented the egregious abuses committed by Russian forces on Ukrainian civilians. It is clear to me that Canada has a moral duty to continue to support Ukraine and its population to face and defeat this aggression. After discussions with members of the Green Party of Canada of Ukrainian origin and the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, I would like to publicly clarify our party’s position. The Green Party has been consistently, and remains, firmly supportive of Ukraine against Russia’s illegal aggression on Ukrainian territory. We recognize that Ukraine is rightly aiming at recovering the totality of its national territory, according to the borders recognized by the international community, including Crimea.…

Peace negotiations should always be considered positively — when the circumstances are ripe. Talks are better than guns. But negotiations should not be initiated just at any time nor at any cost. They should not be allowed to be manipulated for military or propaganda objectives by the Russian regime. And they should not pave the way to creating yet another frozen conflict. Peace talks should be encouraged, when the real prospect of a just settlement for Ukraine manifests itself.”

Pedneault’s cowardly backtracking is effectively a call for endless fighting. The leader of the Green Party of Québec Alex Tyrrell criticized Pedneault for “ruling out peace talks until Russia gives them back vast sections of captured territory dating back nearly ten years. Since Russia has sacrificed countless soldiers and resources to capture the territory they now control, it is virtually impossible that they will turn around and leave without conditions. This fantasy of retaking all of Ukrainian territory is, in reality, a call for a major escalation that could lead to World War III.”

Amidst the war hysteria the cowardly position is to push humanity towards the precipice of nuclear Armageddon. Is there not at least one brave voice to speak up for negotiations towards peace?

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