President Volodymyr Zelensky, speaking in the House of Commons, has thanked Canada for its support as Ukraine resists Russia’s invasion of his country.
In a speech that drew several standing ovations from MPs, the Ukrainian leader said his country has been able to count on Canada as it fought back. “You have always defended freedom. You have always defended justice. I had no doubt you would choose the side of freedom and justice when Russia launched a full-scale war against Ukraine. Thank you,” Zelensky said.
“But it is never enough only to choose the right side. You also need to be able to be a leader on the side, and you do. You are a leader, and I thank you for that, Canada,” he said, speaking in English.
To date, Canada has provided more than $9-billion in support for Ukraine, including a $2.4-billion loan.
The Ukrainian President, travelling with his wife Olena Zelenska, was in Ottawa for his first visit to Canada since the Russian invasion began in February, 2022. They arrived in the nation’s capital on Thursday evening.
Following events in Ottawa, Zelensky was scheduled to travel to Toronto to meet with business leaders, and members of the public.
Earlier Friday, he met with Governor-General Mary Simon, and later with Canadian political leaders, including Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre.
There’s a continuing series of live updates here on Zelensky’s visit.
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THIS AND THAT
Today in the Commons - Projected order of business at the House of Commons, Sept. 22, accessible here.
Deputy Prime Minister’s Day - Chrystia Freeland, in Ottawa, participated in a meeting between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky. Freeland later attended Zelensky’s speech to Parliament and a signing ceremony with the two leaders. She was later scheduled to join Zelensky and Trudeau in Toronto, at a roundtable with Canadian business leaders and then an event with Canadians, including the Ukrainian-Canadian community.
Ministers on the Road - Rural Development Minister Gudie Hutchings, in New Glasgow, N.S., with Housing Minister Sean Fraser announced support through the Hurricane Fiona Recovery Fund to help residents affected by extreme climate-related weather events.
PRIME MINISTER'S DAY
Justin Trudeau’s Friday revolved around the visit of Zelensky. Following private meetings, Trudeau welcomed Zelensky to Parliament Hill, attended a welcoming ceremony for him and then went into a meeting with the Ukrainian President, followed by a meeting attended by Freeland, Defence Minister Bill Blair, Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly and International Trade Minister Mary Ng.
Following the meetings, Trudeau delivered remarks in the House of Commons ahead of an address to Parliament by Zelensky. After the speech, the two leaders participated in a signing ceremony, and held a joint media availability.
They were scheduled to travel to Toronto for the business roundtable.
Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre participated in a welcoming ceremony for Zelensky at the House of Commons, and attended the President’s speech in the House of Commons.
Green Party Leader Elizabeth May is in her Vancouver-Island riding, participating virtually in the Commons.
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, in Ottawa, attended the welcoming ceremony to Parliament for Zelensky, then attended his address to Parliament.
No schedule available for other party leaders.
On Friday’s edition of The Globe and Mail podcast, the Globe’s Asia correspondent James Griffiths, speaking from New Delhi, discussed the fallout of news that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has the Indian government of being involved in the slaying of Sikh activist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in B.C. The Decibel is here.
The Globe and Mail Editorial Board on why Canada and the rest of the world must back Ukraine to victory: “A Russian victory, or even a partial one that resulted in some parts of Ukraine remaining in Russia’s hands in a compromise to end the war sooner, would be a signal to other authoritarian regimes that the West is not willing to go to the wall in defence of a rules-based international order. It would be open season on smaller countries in Russia’s orbit after that. China, which makes no secret of its intention to annex Taiwan, would be equally emboldened by the democratic West’s weakness. Which is why Canada and its allies owe such a huge debt of gratitude to Ukraine. The country’s President has ceaselessly laid out the critical stakes for the West, and its people have demonstrated through their courage and sacrifice their willingness to defend those stakes at all costs.”
Andrew Coyne (The Globe and Mail) on whether the Trudeau government has been as derelict on India’s interference as it has been on China’s: “The tendency of our current politics to view absolutely everything through the lens of partisanship has rarely been on better display than in the aftermath of the Prime Minister’s dramatic announcement in Parliament Monday: that Canadian intelligence officials were pursuing “credible allegations” of Indian involvement in the assassination of a Canadian Sikh leader, Hardeep Singh Nijjar. Liberals who, like the Prime Minister, had spent much of the spring waving away multiple intelligence reports of the government of China’s interference in Canada’s electoral process, were entirely willing to believe less specific intelligence suggesting much worse interference by the government of India.”
Marcus Gee (The Globe and Mail) on how Premier Doug Ford backing down on the Greenbelt was a win for democracy in Ontario: “With two cabinet ministers gone, his support in the polls falling and his caucus growing fretful, Mr. Ford finally backed down on Thursday and said he would not take lands out of the Greenbelt after all. The usually bumptious Premier looked grim and humbled as he faced the media. It was as if all the wind was taken out of him. And no wonder. A more complete and humiliating climbdown is hard to imagine. Finally, he was admitting that the problem was not just how his government had handled the Greenbelt removals; it was his decision to remove them in the first place.”
Omer Aziz (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on the real reasons Canada’s relationship with India is broken: “When Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stood up in the House of Commons on Monday and made the unprecedented allegation that “agents of the government of India” assassinated a Canadian citizen on Canadian soil, I cannot say I was surprised. It was a brazen and violent encroachment upon Canadian sovereignty, done in public, meant to be discovered, and over one of the issues that the Indian government of Narendra Modi takes most seriously. I should know. In 2017, I was the Policy Advisor in the Foreign Minister’s office, working closely with the Prime Minister’s Office on India. From the first briefing, it was clear that India-Canada relations were headed in the wrong direction.”
John Packer (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on how, with authoritarianism on the rise, Canada should expect more foreign interference: “This week, Canadians awoke to the idea – and possibly the fact – that one or more foreign agents murdered one of our neighbours in broad daylight … then slipped away. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took our breath away when he informed the nation that there are “credible allegations of a potential link” with the June killing in Surrey, B.C., of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a devoted Sikh nationalist, and agents of the Indian state. If true (as our government surely believes), such a political assassination carried out by foreign agents against a Canadian citizen in Canada would be unprecedented. But it should not come as a surprise as it wouldn’t be the first attempt in Canada, nor is it out of step with similar incidents elsewhere. Indeed, with geopolitical tensions mounting around the world, such incidents are likely to become more common, and our leaders in Canada need to take steps to protect our citizens.”