On second anniversary of Ukraine war, peace groups in Canada call for ceasefire and negotiations

PV staff  

As the war in Ukraine enters its third year, public opinion polls show that support for the war has fallen dramatically in Canada. Causalities are estimated at around 500,000 and over 12 million people have fled Ukraine as refugees. But despite these facts, the Canadian government is still pressing for a continued war and for Ukraine’s membership in the NATO military alliance.

On February 24, the second anniversary of the war’s start, a group of peace organizations in Canada issued a statement calling on Ottawa to push for a ceasefire and negotiations for a political solution to the war.

The letter – which is signed by sixteen peace organizations including the Canadian Peace Congress and a number of its peace councils, Voice of Women, Just Peace Advocates, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom and the Canadian BDS Coalition – notes that Canada has committed nearly $12.5 billion to the war since 2022.

“Since February 2022, Canada has committed over $2.4 billion in military assistance to Ukraine and approximately $10 billion in total aid. Canada is one of the top 10 countries in terms of providing military aid to Ukraine and together they have given $90.4 billion to keep this war going, the main benefactor of which is the US military-industrial complex.”

Furthermore, the groups point out that Canada is continuing its support for war, rather than promoting a ceasefire and working for peace.

“On February 19, Defence Minister Bill Blair announced that Canada would give Ukraine more than 800 unmanned aerial systems (drones) at a cost of more than $95 million. The $95 million is part of the $500 million in military assistance promised by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in June 2023 when he visited Kyiv. The $95 million is in addition to the $60 million promised by Blair at the Ukraine Defense Contact Group. This escalation of more weapons to Ukraine to prolong the war will lead to more casualties and risks a nuclear exchange.”

Several countries including South Africa and China have proposed concrete peace initiatives, but these have not been supported by Canada or other NATO countries. Instead, Ottawa has thrown its support behind NATO’s eastward expansion and aggressive encirclement of Russia, even if that means fighting to the very last Ukrainian.

In addition to an immediate ceasefire and start of peace negotiations, the peace groups are calling on Canada to withdraw from NATO, which “would give Canada independence over its foreign affairs and defence and would allow Canada to ratify the Treaty to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons [and] would also allow Canada to work cooperatively with all countries to seek a global response to the planet’s impending environmental and climate crises and sustainable development.”

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