December 1, 2019
Rt. Honourable Justin Trudeau
Prime Minister of Canada
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6
Via email: PM@pm.gc.ca
Dear Prime Minister,
Congratulations on your recent parliamentary elections victory. We wish you much success in leading Canada in support of global concerns, especially peace and security.
Indeed, this is the purpose of our letter. We wish to ask for your personal intervention with the leaders of France and Germany meeting with Ukraine and Russia’s counterparts on Dec. 9 to resolve Russia’s annexation of Crimea and its war in Donbas. The situation is dire. The aggressor has taken some 14,000 lives, wounded over 30,000, and displaced about 1.5 million Ukrainians, yet denies culpability.
This is Russia’s methodology; wreak havoc, deny, then advance. We are confident that it will perform similarly at the Normandy meeting, seeking carte blanche for its crimes while taking no responsibility. Russia must be contained. Instead we believe
it will advance.
Recently, accused of war crimes, it withdrew from the Geneva Convention relating to the protection of victims of international armed conflict. This may be its way of avoiding further censure as it escalates conflicts in Ukraine, Syria or elsewhere. We are deeply concerned as Russia has amassed thousands of military vehicles with prohibited weapons on the Ukrainian border.
We are also troubled by the national self-interest motivating some global democracies to adopt pro-Russia positions. President Emmanuel Macron public musings about lifting sanctions and Chancellor Angela Merkel’s pursuit of energy dependency for much of Europe via NordStream2. Such actions strengthen Russia, not democracies.
It appears that the talks are skewed to favour Russia at Ukraine’s expense but capitulation is unacceptable to Ukraine nor must it be for its democratic interlocutors. Russia is the criminal and must not be rewarded for crimes, otherwise it continues to spread chaos, erode democracies worldwide or invade sovereign territories.
The outcome of the Normandy talks, therefore, will affect all of us. For this reason we proposed in our letter of November 29, 2019 that Canada, with its fine global reputation and special partnership with Ukraine, join the Normandy talks as the fifth member.
If this is not possible in the short time available we ask for a clear message to France and Germany that Canada supports Ukraine’s sovereignty. Russia must fulfill the ceasefire (it has increased the number of killed and wounded in recent days); withdraw from occupied Crimea and Donbas; and comply with Ukraine’s constitution specifying no special status for Donbas.
Should the talks fail, Canada understands Ukraine’s need to terminate the skewed Minsk agreements where Russia, the aggressor, sits in judgment. This, however, does not solve the problem. International laws and agreements were and continue to be broken by Russia yet the endemic problem of punishment -- economic sanctions - are insufficient to deliver desired results. The perpetrator prevails and the global threat remains. A sterner approach in dealing with Russia — any rogue state — is needed.
The answer may lie in NATO’s new “expert group” created “to develop and strengthen its political dimensions”. The idea is most timely, as democratic leaders grapple with autocrats’ global threats including nuclear proliferation, genocide, destruction of habitats and mass migrations. The expert group of which Canada is a member offers an opportunity to make a leading contribution.
The current practice for breaking international law is to administer punitive measures against violators on an ad hoc basis — like the coalition of the willing — or, ultimately, to take military measures. The expert group is in a position to address the missing links between insufficient sanctions and war against the aggressor. It might be a system of graduated punishments that increase as crimes persist or rise. Countries as well as their leaders will be punished.
If such an entity existed, Russia’s lawlessness as well as its ever-widening and free-wheeling global military, cyber and social media warfare, might be less ominous. Russia’s current defiance of international law, for instance, would lead to increased sanctions
and exclusion from entities like the G20, WTO, SWIFT; even the UN Security Council. It would not have been allowed to monitor its own crimes via the OSCE peace mission in the Donbas warzone or sit in judgement of its crimes in the upcoming Normandy talks.
Returning to the immediate, we stress that as Russia’s penetration of politics in the United States is exposed and its president shows a suspicious awe for his Russian counterpart, Canada and its allies need to address their own security. A pushback against Russia is
mandatory. Influencing France and Germany to stand up to Russia’s war by supporting Ukraine’s democratic aspirations at the Normandy talks is a must. We’re confident that Canada’s high international reputation will ensure that your request to
France and Germany to stand by Ukraine and justice against Russia’s war will be favourably considered.
Thank you for taking our positions into account. We will be following progress on these matters with great interest, and would be happy to assist as required.
Oksana Bashuk Hepburn
Dr. Ihor Cap
Dr. Roman Jakubow
Dr. Lada Roslycky
The Hon. Francois-Philippe Champagne
Hon. Chrystia Freeland M.P.
Hon. Harjit Singh Sajjan, M.P.
Hon. Andrew Scheer, M.P.
Jagmeet Singh, M.P.
Yvan Baker, M.P.
Julie Dzerowicz, M.P.
James Maloney, M.P.
Arif Virani, M.P.
James Bezan, M.P.