Ottawa, January 28, 2014 – Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander and Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird today issued the following statement:

“Recent actions by members of Ukraine’s ruling elite in the face of popular and growing protests have been utterly deplorable, and compel us to take targeted and meaningful action.

“Given the violent repression of legitimate protest and the intimidation of opposition voices, we will be restricting entry to Canada – effective immediately – for key government figures as a direct result of their actions in recent days.

“Although Canada welcomes the recent developments in Ukraine, more needs to be done. The Ukrainian government must address the fundamental demands of the people, including accountability and a full embrace of democratic principles.

“We believe it will take more than words to establish trust with the people, and Canada will continue to stand with the Ukrainian people, who courageously continue to speak out in support of democracy.

“Canada will continue to monitor developments in Ukraine, and, with our international partners, consider further options if necessary.”

Ambassador Bennett Concludes Visit to Ukraine

January 26, 2014 – Andrew Bennett, Canada’s Ambassador for Religious Freedom, today concluded a successful visit to Ukraine, during which he expressed Canada’s ongoing concern about violations of basic freedoms and reinforced Canada’s commitment to the Ukrainian people.

This visit comes after Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird requested that Ambassador Bennett visit Kyiv following threats to the religious freedom of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church and the intimidation of members of its institutions.

“The new laws passed by President Viktor Yanukovych give the Ukrainian government, police and security services harsh new powers that severely limit individual rights and freedoms,” said Bennett. “This is fundamentally inconsistent with democratic practice and of grave concern to all who are committed to a free and democratic Ukraine.”

“As Minister Baird has made clear, Canada strongly condemns the deplorable use of violence against protesters by Ukrainian authorities,” said Bennett. “Canada strongly supports the Ukrainian people, who have spoken out courageously in support of a free and democratic Ukraine.”

While in Kyiv, Ambassador Bennett met with various clergy, including with His Beatitude Patriarch Sviatoslav of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church and Patriarch Filaret of the Orthodox Church (Kyivan Patriarchate).

“Canada notes the important and crucial role played by the clergy and faithful of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church and many other religious leaders during the past weeks in encouraging dialogue between all parties and praying for peace in Ukraine,” Bennett added. “Canada will consider all options going forward to make clear that we stand with those who seek to build a peaceful, democratic and prosperous future for Ukrainians.”

Canada Strongly Condemns Killing of Protesters in Ukraine

January 22, 2014 – Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird today issued the following statement:

“Canada condemns in the strongest possible terms the killing of protesters by Ukrainian police forces. My deputy minister has called in the Ukrainian ambassador to express Canada’s condemnation of the violence that occurred last night.

“We strongly urge the Ukrainian government to find a political solution by engaging in a real dialogue with the people of Ukraine. Continued violence will further undermine democracy and freedom in Ukraine and bring serious consequences. Canada, together with our international partners, is considering all possible options.

“On behalf of all Canadians, I extend heartfelt condolences to the families of those killed yesterday. Canada stands with the Ukrainian people, who courageously continue to speak out in support of democracy.”

Canada Concerned by Introduction of Anti-Protest Law in Ukraine

January 17, 2014 – Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird today issued the following statement:

“Canada is deeply disturbed by the new, draconian law pushed through the Ukrainian parliament and signed into law today that would drastically limit the right of Ukrainians to peacefully organize, assemble or protest.

“Canada calls on the Ukrainian government to reverse its decision. This repressive bill was passed without a proper vote and in complete violation of parliamentary procedure. It will now give the Ukrainian government the tools to control the population and thwart democratic expression, which is completely unacceptable.

“Canada also condemns the government’s use of intimidation tactics and threats of legal action against the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church for helping peaceful protesters. This is a deplorable attack on religious freedom and the right to assembly in Ukraine.

“Canada strongly supports the Ukrainian people, who have spoken out courageously in support of a free and democratic Ukraine. Canada is ready and prepared to consider all options to make clear on whose side we stand.”

Prime Minister Harper Responds to a Question on Ukraine in the House of Commons

Right Hon. Stephen Harper (Prime Minister, CPC): Mr. Speaker, our government has already condemned the actions of the Ukrainian government.

Mr. Speaker, as you know, this government has been very outspoken with many around the international community in condemning some of the actions of the Ukrainian government. We are very concerned that these actions speak of not moving toward a free and democratic Euro-Atlantic future but very much toward an anti-democratic Soviet past. We will continue to vocalize our concerns to work with the Ukrainian Canadian community and our allies to take all appropriate actions necessary to encourage the government of Ukraine to move in a positive direction.

MP James Bezan Makes a Statement in the House of Commons on Ukraine

James Bezan, Member for Selkirk—Interlake (CPC): Mr. Speaker, I stand in solidarity with the millions of Ukrainians who have spoken out courageously in support of a free and democratic Ukraine. I condemn president Yanukovych and his regime’s heavy handed authoritarian actions and intimidation of peaceful protesters. I was deeply saddened by the news of the tragic deaths of innocent activists last week. All officials who are complicit in this violence must be held responsible. I’m calling on the Ukrainian government to cease and desist its oppression of the free citizens of Ukraine, the silencing of critics and the intimidation of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church. Ukraine’s Parliament must repeal their undemocratic and draconian martial law. A true democracy cannot function without dialogue, compromise, the right to peaceful dissent and a legislature that enjoys the people’s trust. Ukraine is at a crossroads, democracy, liberty and independence on one hand or Soviet imperialistic totalitarianism on the other. If we do nothing, all that Ukraine has accomplished since 1991 will be for naught. Canada and the world will not sit idly by and watch the illegitimate Yanukovych regime destroy Ukraine.

MP Ted Opitz Makes a Statement on Ukraine in the House of Commons

Ted Opitz, Member for Etobicoke Centre (CPC): Mr. Speaker, the situation in Ukraine is grave and the slow, insidious creep of tyranny is evident. The elite few subordinate the future of Ukraine for their own selfish interests. The same elite masters of those members of the regime repeal democratic laws blindly. Stalin once called people like this useful idiots. We are witnessing a regression and brutal regime stripping away the pretence of democratic governance and overlaying Orwellian measures on media, and the use of cell phones to locate, target and intimidate individuals. This is right out of 1984. This is no longer just about the rejected EU deal, it is about civil liberties, democratic will, fair and transparent elections, selective justice where opposition leaders aren’t jailed. Most importantly for Ukrainians, it’s about culture and identity. Ukrainians are struggling for hope and for a future that they can be proud of and for a nation that is secure and democratic. This Prime Minister and all Canadians stand with the Ukrainian people.