Trudeau, Poilievre trade barbs over Ukraine support as House approves renewed trade deal

A bill to implement the modernized Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement passed the House of Commons on Tuesday despite the Conservatives voting against it, prompting Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to accuse Pierre Poilievre of “abandon” Ukraine.

Trudeau and Poilievre traded accusations that the other is not doing enough to support Ukraine, as legislation to implement the renewal of the trade pact between the two countries reached its final vote in the House of Commons.

Bill C-57, as it is titled, was approved by 214 votes to 116, with the support of Liberal MPs, the Quebec Bloc, the New Democrats and the Greens. The bill is now in the Senate for a second round of scrutiny.

Noting that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy had asked Canadian parliamentarians to approve this deal, Trudeau said during Tuesday’s question period that Poilievre was “choosing not to support Ukraine, not to support the Ukrainians and not to support the Ukrainian Canadians.

After the vote, Trudeau called the Conservatives’ opposition “inconceivable.”

Earlier in the day, when asked in Montreal about his position on Ukraine before returning to the House of Commons for the vote, Poilievre attacked Trudeau over the acrimony recently revived over the embarrassing invitation extended to a Nazi veteran during the Zelenskyy’s visit to Canada last year.

“He embarrassed the Ukrainian president,” Poilievre said. “Justin Trudeau is a great talker and a bit of a go-getter when it comes to Ukraine.”

In the two years since Russia invaded Ukraine, Canada has provided billions of dollars in military donations, as well as millions more in humanitarian, development and security aid to Ukraine. However, not all of Canada’s offers have reached the war-torn country, such as the delayed donation of the air defense system.

“He’s made all these announcements for hundreds of millions of dollars in different equipment that he never actually delivered,” Poilievre said.

These reciprocal jabs also came amid a broader conversation about whether Canadians’ views on the war are evolving in light of an Angus Reid poll indicating Canadians’ attention to the war is falling as support among conservative voters.

On Tuesday, several federal cabinet ministers expressed how important it is for Canada to continue supporting Ukraine.

“In my opinion, the most important thing here is to explain to Canadians and the world what the reality of the situation in Ukraine is. Yes, war is happening in Ukraine. However, it is also a war for us,” Freeland said. he said in French, speaking to reporters in Ottawa.

“We need to understand what Vladimir Putin’s goal is. Putin wants to change the world… he wants to rewrite the rules that we have established in the world,” Freeland said. “He wants a world in which the strongest countries with the largest armies are able to control everyone else. This would not be a good world for Canadians.”

Treasury Board Chair Anita Anand said Tuesday’s vote to approve the renewal of the trade deal is a signal to allied countries that Canada’s support remains strong. On that point, Foreign Minister Melanie Joly, just returned from a visit to Ukraine, said Poilievre “let the Ukrainians down.”

“Poilievre has been talking and crying a lot about the importance of freedom, but the reality is that we know that it is about freedom for some and not for all,” Joly said.

Liberals have been highly critical of Poilievre’s rejection of the trade bill, with their stated reasoning being their concern over the promotion of and wording of a carbon price, even though Ukraine already has a carbon price.

“You have heard their excuses for not supporting our brothers and sisters in Ukraine in their fight against a Russian aggressor,” Immigration Minister Marc Miller said. “Our government’s support will not diminish.”

Trudeau and his MPs have repeatedly argued in public and through targeted ads in constituencies with significant Ukrainian diasporas that the Conservatives have turned their backs on the war-torn country.

The latest data from Angus Reid indicates that “on average” Canadians see that the Conservatives voted against the renewal of the trade agreement as a “net negative” for the country’s international reputation and for confidence in a possible future Conservative government that defend allied countries in the future.

Poilievre vowed Tuesday that a conservative federal government would do more for Ukraine, including giving the Ukrainians missiles that Canada planned to get rid of, and changing environmental laws to promote natural gas exports to Europe to “break European dependence” on the “evil dictator.” “Vladimir. Putin’s Russian energy supplies.

In a statement on Tuesday, the Ukrainian Canadian Congress (UCC) expressed disappointment that the vote on the bill was not unanimous.

“UCC will continue to work to ensure that the brave Ukrainian people receive the support they need and deserve,” said UCC President Alexandra Chyczij. “We call on all Canadians and all political parties to do the same.”

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