Canadians will be able to buy bonds to support Ukraine, prime minister says

WINNIPEG — The federal government is issuing new savings bonds to raise money for Ukraine and is imposing sanctions on 35 more Russians.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the measures Friday at the opening of a three-day national gathering of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, where he and others denounced Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

"Canadians will now be able to go to major banks to purchase their (Ukraine) Sovereignty Bonds, which will mature after five years with interest. It'll be a lot like the Government of Canada bonds people are familiar with," Trudeau told the congress.

Money raised from the bonds is to be channelled through the International Monetary Fund to the government of Ukraine, so it can continue basic operations, including paying pensions and keeping utilities going.

Ottawa is not setting a limit, for now, on how much money might be raised through the bonds. It is also going to open up the bonds to other countries.

"These bonds are issued by Canada, but they can be bought by non-Canadian financial institutions," Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland said.

Trudeau said the 35 Russians that are being added to Canada's sanction list include people involved in Russia's state-owned energy company, Gazprom.

"We will continue to tighten the screws on anyone abetting this illegal invasion, he said.

Conservative defence critic James Bezan called on the Liberal government to provide more military equipment to Ukraine. Canada has already supplied items, including 39 armoured combat support vehicles, but Bezan said more is needed.

"Canada has a couple of hundred (armoured personnel carriers) that are about to be decommissioned. We should ... donate them," Bezan said.

Trudeau also faced demands from the Manitoba government for more money to help Ukrainians who are fleeing the war.

Premier Heather Stefanson said Manitoba is happy to have welcomed almost 12,000 Ukrainians since the Russian invasion began in February. But she said the province needs federal money to help pay for housing, health care, education and other needs of the new arrivals.

"They're not declaring them as refugees and giving them refugee status, and normally with that comes federal funding," Stefanson said of the federal government in an interview Thursday.

"They do have a role here. They should have a role. And we have been in discussions with them, but that's not going to stop us from doing what we're doing (in supporting Ukrainians)."

Manitoba has welcomed more than 10 per cent of all Ukrainians who have entered Canada and has less than four per cent of the country's population, she said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 28, 2022.

Steve Lambert, The Canadian Press