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Lobbies Are Real
Ukraine’s Best Friend in the West: Canada

Canada signed a deal outside the auspices of NATO to work with the Ukrainian military on training, including on “personal protective measures” (read: combat) training. The Wall Street Journal reports:

“Canada will continue to play a leading role in the Western response to the situation in Ukraine as well as continue its military training and cooperation,” the government said in an emailed statement.

It is unclear how many personnel Canada is thinking of making available or how far it will go in training front line combat troops. […]

In November, Canada said it was sending further military gear, including tactical communications systems, explosive ordnance disposal equipment, tactical medical kits and night visual goggles.

Since Russia annexed Crimea, Canada has been at the front of the Western response to Putin’s aggression. Ottawa placed combat-ready fighter jets in Poland back in April, and at the recent G20 meeting in Australia that Putin ended up leaving early, Canadian PM Stephen Harper is said to have bluntly told the Russian President to “get out of Ukraine.”

The depth of Canada’s support is no historical accident. Canada has a large Ukrainian diaspora population; more than 1.2 million of the country’s roughly 35 million inhabitant identify as ethnically Ukrainian. So, support for Ukraine is vote-getter in Canada, especially out West where most Ukrainian Canadians live.

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  • joshuasharf

    Don’t most of those western provinces, at least the ones with the Ukrainian population, vote Conservative, anyway?

  • John B Gorentz

    Timely article. Just today I was trying to figure out whether any of these Canadians from Ukraine were Russian-speaking Ukrainians. The premise for the Russian chick-flick Бедная Liz (available on YouTube, with English subtitles) is that a Canadian man, descended from Russian-speaking Cossacks, goes on a visit to Russia, get stranded in a Cossack village, falls in love, etc. It’s not much better than American chick-flicks, and gets completely stupid toward the end. It’s not worthy of the good-old-days of Russian films from the Land of Dostoevsky, but some of the cultural differences are portrayed in a humorous way that’s not completely bogus. And the two lead actors seem to be talented enough; they do pretty well given the parts they have to play. The young man plays a movie-American (or Canadian) pretty well, given that English is not his first language. But were there really any people who spoke Russian among those immigrants to Canada, such that they would try to pass the language on to their grandchildren?

  • FriendlyGoat

    Any countries which do these kinds of things in their own names are welcome relief for the United States, aren’t they? We often feel we are left to be the world’s police—-or, at least to “assemble the coalition” —–and sometimes we come off in world opinion as the ever-present meddler. Shouldn’t we always be glad for any other freedom meddlers? Certain Canadians may have their own personal reasons for wanting to be involved in this, but from here we can just say “good”.

  • PKCasimir

    This is typical Canadian tokenism. Canada has allowed its military capabilities to deteriorate to the point that its ships can’t sail and its air force is obsolete with airplanes over 30 years old. It’s ground forces are small and have worn-out equipment. Its helicopter fleet is a joke. Canada poses absolutely no threat to Russia and Stephen Harper’s words to Putin were, undoubtedly, received with a wry smile. The image of the mouse that roared must have come into his mind.
    Canada hides behind the United States, sticks its tongue out at the Russians, knowing that “big brother” is there to defend him.

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