A week after Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 was struck down, killing all 176 on board, the Canadian government continues to provide updates on the status of the investigation into the accident and resources available for the families of the Canadian victims.
On Friday morning, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that Canada would provide $25,000 per victim to the families of each of the 57 Canadians and 29 permanent resident who died when the plane was shot down.
“We expect Iran to compensate these families,” Trudeau said. “We have been assured by Iran but we are also ensuring through the international community that there be a a full, international, rigorous investigation into all aspects of this tragedy.”
“So far, the people we’ve engaged with…have been aligned with that wish, for now.”
Armed Forces’ internal investigation has concluded that regrettably missiles fired due to human error caused the horrific crash of the Ukrainian plane & death of 176 innocent people.
Investigations continue to identify & prosecute this great tragedy & unforgivable mistake. #PS752
— Hassan Rouhani (@HassanRouhani) January 11, 2020
Over the weekend, Iran confirmed that the plane was accidentally struck down by an Iranian missile, following fears of U.S. retaliation for the missile attack on two military bases in Iraq, housing American troops.
“We were prepared for an all-out conflict,” Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, the head of the Guard's aerospace division, said.
“It's absolutely irresponsible,” Ukraine International Airlines vice-president Ihor Sosnovskiy said in response to the announcement. “There must be protection around ordinary people. If they are shooting somewhere from somewhere, they are obliged to close the airport.”
Trudeau breaks silence on U.S. involvement
On Monday, Canada’s prime minister sat down with Global News in an exclusive interview, where he addressed the tensions in the region at the time of the accident, which took the lives of 57 Canadians.
"I think if there were no tensions, if there was no escalation recently in the region, those Canadians would be right now home with their families," Trudeau told Global News.
“The U.S. makes its determinations. We attempt to work as an international community on big issues. But sometimes countries take actions without informing their allies.”
The prime minister’s comments, the first directly commenting on the role of Americans in the tensions in Iran at the time of the devastating event, sparked responses from officials in both countries.
“There’s no blame here for America. America stood up once again for freedom. Iran went past a red line they had not gone past before killing a U.S. citizen — Iran shot down a commercial airliner, there’s no doubt where the blame lies,” U.S. House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy said in response to Trudeau’s interview.
“The blame for this horrible atrocity lies with the Iranian Regime alone. Canada’s Conservatives will continue to advocate for an appropriate and measured response to ensure Iran is held accountable and the families of the victims receive the justice they deserve,” Andrew Scheer said in a series of tweets, in addition to a list of measure the party wants the Liberal government to follow.
…U.S. government leaders unconstrained by checks/balances, concocted an ill-conceived plan to divert focus from political woes. The world knows Iran is a dangerous state, but the world found a path to contain it; not perfect but by most accounts it was the right direction…
— Maple Leaf Foods (@MapleLeafFoods) January 13, 2020
Earlier this week, Maple Leaf Foods CEO Michael McCain faced significant criticism for a series of tweets he posted on the company’s Twitter account, lashing out at the U.S. government for the tensions in Iran and the resulting plane tragedy.
Canadian also took to social me to share their thoughts on Trudeau’s comments to Global News, leaving people divided.
Absolutely right! Trump wanted his distraction from his criminal behaviour resulting in his impeachment and he sure got it. The blood of these people are on his hands😡
— Dale Peddle-Gibbons (@PeddleGibbons) January 13, 2020
It's devastating that we are grieving for 57 of our fellow Canadians, all amazing souls who, because of @POTUS's reckless, impulsive act to create a diverson from his impeachment, are the collateral damage in this senseless fiasco. 😪💔 #CanadaStrong pic.twitter.com/OkaJoCgkhK
— Andrea Valentini 🇨🇦 (@GypsySpirit46) January 14, 2020
#JustinTrudeau just keep poking the bear. It will rip your head off. USA is our friend but for over 4 years you have been trying to end that. What do you hope to gain?
— Art Biddulph (@_abiddulph) January 13, 2020
At a press conference on Friday, Trudeau was asked about his comments in the Global News interview, taking the opportunity to reiterate that Iran must take “full responsibility.”
“The Iranians bear full responsibly for having shot down a civilian airline,” Trudeau said. “We will be working very hard alongside partners internationally to bring down tension in the region, on all sides.”
Black box access opens new wave of investigation
The prime minister has said that the damage the extent of the damage to the black boxes have caused a delay in Iran’s ability to analyze the data.
“The issue with the black boxes is that they were significantly damaged,” Trudeau said. “Iran does not have the level of technical expertise and mostly the equipment necessary to be able to analyze these damaged black boxes quickly.”
The prime minister went on to say that the French have offered to do the analysis and that is what the Canadian government is encouraging that the Iranian government do.
In a press conference on Thursday, Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne with his counterparts from the Ukraine, Sweden, Afghanistan and U.K. to reinforce the group’s commitment to ensuring a “full, complete and transparent international investigation.”
“There are many, many questions. Families want answers, all of the countries assembled here today want answers and the international community wants answers,” Champagne said. “We will not rest until we get them.”
Framework has now been drafted that outlines cooperation expected from Iran with regards to the investigation into the tragic event.
The five elements include:
Full access for officials to provide consular services
The victims identification process must be in accordance with international standards and the families must be respected in all cases
There must be a thorough, independent and transparent investigation conducted
Iran must recognize its duties to the families of the victims, including compensation
There must be accountability for those responsible with a transparent judicial proceeding that conforms to international standards.
“We judge cooperation on a daily basis,” Champagne said. “We have good first steps from Iran…this is a long process, so our assessment is based on the facts today. Iran should take the path of cooperation.”
So how do you think the Canadian government has responded, following the devastating event? Vote in the poll above and leave your thoughts in the comments below.