Shields wants Canada to do more for Ukraine

·4 min read

With the Russian invasion of Ukraine going into its seventh week, Martin Shields, MP of Bow River, spoke at length about the ongoing issue.

“This is an atrocity, this is an invasion of a demo- cratic country from Russia,” Shields said. “It is an absolute invasion and a war against a democratic country. So it is absolutely wrong.”

Shields then discussed the military contribution that Canada has already given to Ukraine and com- mented on if he felt it was enough.

“Has Canada done enough? I think it has been very clear and pointed out that what military we supplied was all the equipment that we had that we didn’t use anymore,” said Shields. “We could’ve supplied much more up-to-date equipment and we have not done that. Even in the budget, we did not pursue that and I think that is desperate for Ukraine’s survival. We should have supplied them with more modern rather than old secondhand stuff that we no longer want to use. This has been verified by the Liberal government minister. It was old equipment that was no longer used and sort of like a garage sale and got rid of it. So I think there is more that could be done.”

He then proceeded to discuss how important it is for Canada to step up its efforts in helping Ukrainian citizens immigrate.

“The expediting of people who need to leave the area and come to Canada temporary or longer-term,” said Shields. “They have been working on it, but it’s been slowly developing and I think that should speed it up. There are lots of people in Canada who were willing to work with programs of settlement taking care of people. The opportunities for work are here and that is a challenge I under- stand, but I think it can be done quicker.”

Shields then discussed how much the European Union is spending on Russian oil and inadvertently funding the Russian invasion of Ukraine. As well, how Canada could have supplied oil and other nat- ural gases to Europe instead of Russia.

“Russia to this day still receives from the EU half of $1 billion in resource energy sales to the EU countries,” Shields said. “The EU countries are funding this war by sending half of $1 billion a day for oil and oil products to Russia on a daily basis. For years, if Canada had developed liquified natural gas resources, Europe would’ve been the market and Europe wanted it. Now they’re under blackmail by Russia and continue on a daily basis of buying Russian oil resources. Forty-seven per cent of Russian world revenue and trading comes from the resource section and the EU is the biggest customer. They are now stuck. They can’t turn those taps off — Russia keeps getting paid for the exports to those European countries. They needed things like liquified natural gas from Canada. We had 18 different projects being looked at before the Liberals came to power, we’re now down to one sort of getting built on the west coast. We have missed an opportunity to supply liquified natural gas to Europe and now they are being held under the hammer by Russia who threatens to turn the tap off and they can’t afford it. Their industries, their home, their heat, they desperately need that Russian oil and gas, and Russia knows it.”

When asked about Ukraine‘s request to set up a no-fly zone Shields stated,

“That’s one that has to be resolved in the sense of the EU. Now, I know why the EU would not be in favour of that as well as the United States, so that would have to be a joint decision because of the risk they are con- cerned that would affect Ukraine.”

Shields then continued to discuss how import- ant it is for Canada to increase military spending to help support the alliance With NATO. “I think there are many more military things that can be done without having a no-fly zone and that is some- thing Canada should be participating in. They have (Liberal government) only slightly increased their NATO commitment from 1.4 to 1.5 instead of the two per cent of the GDP, so we are not able to move into an area as a supplier of military support.”

Finally, Shields discussed the importance of working with our allies in NATO in these trying times and how Canada needs to fulfil their commit- ments made to the alliance.

“Canada has to work with its NATO partners and decisions of what NATO will do,” said Shields.

“Canada needs to work with NATO to decide what military actions as an alliance, not on our own. Canada needs to support NATO, should be support- ing it, and the amount of funding we have done to our military is a partnership that we are commit- ted to. The world has changed with what Russia has done since 2014 and Canada is part of an alli- ance by being a financial partner that is committed but isn’t paying their weight.”

Ian Croft, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Taber Times

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