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Thank you, Prime Minister, and good afternoon.
Let me start by saying that I am proud to be a Ukrainian-Canadian. And I am proud of the contributions our Ukrainian-Canadian community has made to Canada, for more than 130 years now.
And the human connections that exist between Canada and Ukraine, thanks in large part to that community, are precious and important.
But I want to be very clear today that Canada’s policy towards Ukraine in the current crisis is not guided by those human connections or the special relationship they have created.
Canada is supporting Ukraine in January of 2022 because we have a clear and urgent national interest in the situation there.
The stakes in this conflict are stark and directly relevant to Canada and the Canadian national interest. This is a struggle between democracy and authoritarianism. This is a direct challenge to the rules-based international order and an attempt to replace it with a world in which might makes right, and where the great powers, the nuclear-armed powers, have the authority to redraw the borders, dictate the foreign policies, and even rewrite the constitutions of sovereign democracies whose only fault is that they are smaller and their militaries are not as powerful.
Canadians – our own parents and grandparents – fought and died to establish the rules-based international order during and after the Second World War. They did that because they knew it was the right thing to do, of course, but also because they understood that Canada, as a middle power, had a clear and direct national interest in a world order based on rules.
That order is today facing its most serious challenge since it was first established. Ukraine is on the front lines of that struggle and that is why Canada is standing with Ukraine.
The world’s dictators are watching today to see if our alliance of democracies has the will and the capacity to stand up for the rules-based international order. We must – and we will – show them that we understand the gravity of this challenge and that we will rise to it.