Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly says a no-fly zone over Ukraine remains a “red line” Canada is not prepared to cross as the country is invaded by Russia, but that there are other helpful measures to consider.
Ms. Joly told a forum Friday at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy that NATO has concluded a no-fly zone would trigger an international conflict.
“That’s the red line we don’t want to cross. We will do everything possible in our power just next to that red line” she said. “We can’t cross it.”
However, Ms. Joly added that there needs to be a way for Ukrainians to defend their airspace, and she cited the use of such tools as anti-missile weapons, drones and cameras to defend their airspace.
“A lot of the fight is happening there,” she said.
As recently as this week, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, during a speech to Canadian parliamentarians, requested the creation of a no-fly zone over Ukraine. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has ruled out the idea.
On another tactic, Ms. Joly was asked about the prospect of Russia using chemical or nuclear weapons during the continuing conflict.
“I think there is a real security threat, and that is why this is the utmost priority of my team and I, of the Prime Minister, because this is the biggest security threat since the Second World War,” she said.
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RCMP REVERSES JOB DECISION INVOLVING UKRAINIANS – The RCMP has reversed a decision to let go of more than a dozen Ukrainian nationals who were working on a police training mission in Kyiv, a move that would have left them without any income as Russia pounds the capital with daily bombings and artillery fire. Story here.
$36M TO DEAL WITH OTTAWA PROTEST – Local leaders in Ottawa are being told that the city’s response to the three-week convoy protest last month cost municipal coffers over $36-million. Story here.
NO DECISION ON RELEASING REPORT ON EX-UNIFOR PRESIDENT – Unifor’s leadership team told staff at an internal meeting Thursday morning that they were still debating whether or not to make public the findings of a report into the conduct of former president Jerry Dias, according to sources who were present at the meeting. Story here.
COVID-19 BLIP POSSIBLE – Canada’s top public health officials have suggested the country is unlikely to be caught up in the new wave of COVID-19 cases around the world, but could instead see a “blip” this spring. Story here.
NEW NATIONAL FLOOD INSURANCE PROGRAM IN THE WORKS – Federal, provincial and territorial ministers responsible for emergency preparedness are working to launch a new national flood insurance program to protect homeowners in high-risk flood zones. Story here.
NEWFOUNDLAND GOVERNMENT OPENS OFFICE IN POLAND – The Newfoundland and Labrador government is opening an office in Poland to help Ukrainians fleeing Russian attacks relocate to Canada’s easternmost province. Story here.
ONTARIO NEW DEMOCRAT BARRED FROM RE-ELECTION BID – The Ontario NDP says it will not allow four-term Hamilton MPP Paul Miller to run for the party in the upcoming election, citing “unacceptable” information uncovered during vetting. Story here from Global News.
GOVERNOR-GENERAL HAD A MESSAGE FOR THE QUEEN – Governor-General Mary Simon says she told Queen Elizabeth this week that Canada’s history books should be rewritten to reflect the facts about the relationship between the Crown and Indigenous people. Story here from CBC.
PREMIER STEFANSON APOLOGIZES – Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson is apologizing for congratulating her son’s high school hockey team in the legislature chamber after being asked to answer to a woman’s death. Story here from CBC.
CONSERVATIVE LEADERSHIP RACE
I WON’T TOUCH EXISTING GUN LAWS: CHAREST – Conservative leadership candidate Jean Charest said Thursday he wouldn’t touch Canada’s existing gun laws – including when it comes to a ban on “assault-style” firearms. Story here.
AITCHISON TO LAUNCH CAMPAIGN – It’s official. Parry Sound-Muskoka MP Scott Aitchison will launch his campaign to lead the federal Conservative Party in Huntsville on Sunday at 1 p.m. Mr. Aitchison, who has been Conservative labour critic, detailed some of his leadership ideas in a Toronto Sun column here.
THIS AND THAT
TODAY IN THE COMMONS – The House of Commons is not sitting again until March 21. The agenda for Monday, at this point, is here.
NEW JOB FOR O’TOOLE COMMUNICATIONS LEADER – Josie Sabatino, the former communications director for ex-opposition leader Erin O’Toole, has joined Summa Strategies Limited in Ottawa as a senior consultant. In a LinkedIn posting, Ms. Sabatino said she will use her past experience on Parliament Hill to work to help clients navigate the complexities of government.
On Friday’s edition of The Globe and Mail podcast, Elizabeth Renzetti is a columnist for The Globe who has been reporting on and off on violence against women for over 30 years, and discusses the stigma surrounding intimate partner violence, how to recognize coercive control and the debate over the criminalization of it. The Decibel is here.
PRIME MINISTER’S DAY.
In the Ottawa region, the Prime Minister held private meetings, and spoke with Micheál Martin, the Taoiseach – the Prime Minister and head of government – of Ireland. The Prime Minister also chaired a meeting of the Incident Response Group on the situation in Ukraine.
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, in Toronto, visited small businesses with NDP Member of Provincial Parliament Jill Andrew, and met with volunteers at Ms. Andrews’s campaign office. He also visited a small business with MPP Faisal Hassan and hosted a small business round table.
New data from the Angus Reid Institute finds higher approval numbers for most of Canada’s premiers, including Ontario’s Doug Ford, who – less than three months before an expected provincial election – rises 13 points. Nova Scotia’s Tim Houston also springs well forward, up 16 points. Details here.
Andrew Coyne (The Globe and Mail) on how the world has changed so our policies on defence, the economy and beyond will have to as well: “What has yet to be fully understood is what a permanent rupture has just occurred in the world order. Unlike the pandemic, there can be no going back to the status quo ex ante. Under Vladimir Putin, Russia has become not merely a source of instability or the occasional outrage, but an existential threat; even if it can be returned to its cage in the short term, it will be the work of decades to contain it. Predictions of Mr. Putin’s imminent demise will, I’m afraid, prove illusory, and whoever succeeds him could in any case be as bad or worse. This is not a short-term crisis, but a long-term one. One consequence of this, clearly, will be a requirement – no longer a request – that Canada improve its contribution to the collective defence of the democracies: an increase in defence spending from its current 1.4 per cent of GDP to at least 2 per cent, and probably beyond that. (In the days of Lester Pearson, the great peacemaker, it was closer to 4 per cent.)”
John Ibbitson (The Globe and Mail) on commodity markets possibly allowing Canada to afford both guns and butter: “The irony is tragic, but the war that has choked off Russian and Ukrainian exports could provide Canada with revenues to upgrade its defences, if the Liberal government has the will. Russia’s wanton invasion of Ukraine revealed how dangerously our military has been run down. Defence Minister Anita Anand made the humiliating admission Wednesday that Canada exhausted its surplus armament capacity when it sent a few antiquated anti-tank missiles and sundry additional supplies to Ukraine. “We need to make sure we do retain capacity here for the Canadian Armed Forces should the need arise,” she told CBC.”
Tanya Talaga (The Globe and Mail) on radical change being overdue for the Thunder Bay Police Service and board: “It is hard to watch what has unfolded in Thunder Bay. The findings of “systemic” racism in the simultaneous underpolicing and overpolicing of Indigenous people; the ways that the board failed to do its job, which is to police the police; the cannibalization within the force, featuring officers filing complaints about superiors at the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario; yet another round of provincial investigations; senior level officers being removed – it all must stop.”
Rona Ambrose, Frank McKenna and Colin Robertson (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on how, to truly support our allies, Canada needs a C.D. Howe moment: “This courageous effort, and the heroic sacrifices of the Ukrainian people, must be matched by a herculean effort by allies around the world to supply the war effort. And so Canada – endowed as we are with an abundance of food and energy – cannot respond as if things are business as usual. We have already opened our doors to the displaced, but we also have the oil and gas Europe needs and, like Ukraine, we are a breadbasket to the world. Canada must be part of the solution to help our friends and allies. Throwing up our hands wasn’t an option in 1939 – and is not an option now. Harnessing our natural resources to do so, including oil and gas, hydroelectricity, uranium and critical minerals, requires a strategic approach.”
Steve Paikin (TVO) on what you do when your conflicts of interest are a family affair: When you have a problem, Robert F. Kennedy used to say, hang a lantern on it. This column is my lantern. I’m now in my 40th year as a working journalist in the province of Ontario. In that time, I’ve met a lot of people inside and outside politics. I’ve also had numerous family members and friends who’ve been active in politics, which often makes things very interesting – and very sticky.”
Russell Wangersky (Saskatoon StarPhoenix) on how Pierre Poilievre’s attack show threatens to split Conservatives: “The Conservative leadership campaign will run for the next six months, with ample opportunity for personal attacks to become deep-seated antipathy. The risk is that the successful Stephen Harper model of bringing all manner of conservatives into the same big tent may be replaced by a spread-out field of competing and varied pup-tents. That’s a very bad thing not only for conservatives, but for the country I’m often accused of being a liberal, and to a degree, that’s fair, because my ideals do trend to the left. (At the same time, never towards any particular party.) But I think the Conservatives absolutely have to have a candidate who can win across the country, not just in areas that already vote Conservative. (If he wins, Poilievre may be able to revamp himself – but it won’t be easy.)”