Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Canada is failing 'all' Ukrainians

  • Print

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said all the right things about Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych Tuesday -- but one.

Baird said "the backward slide to Soviet-style repression and intimidation is not acceptable." Baird said "the Ukrainian government must accede to the fundamental demands of its people particularly with respect to accountability and the principles of democracy." But Baird also said "We'll see just how things evolve." He should have said "Canada demands that President Viktor Yanukovych call an election."

It is difficult to see how an unacceptable backward slide into Soviet-style repression and instructions that government accede to fundamental demands for the principles of democracy could lead to any other conclusion. But apparently it did. Mr. Baird loaded his great big gun with blanks.

Instead of demanding an election, Mr. Baird announced Canada will restrict visiting rights of Ukrainian officials "responsible for the repression and silencing of opposition voices."

Does he not know that silencing opposition voices has meant the murder of dissidents in the streets by government directed thugs under draconian emergency laws cobbled together to restrict dissent?

It is true those laws have been hastily repealed and that the prime minister and cabinet resigned, and that by western standards Mr. Yanukovych's government was elected by what passes for a fair and open election.

But it also is true that Mr. Yanukovych betrayed the electorate by spurning promised closer ties with Europe and by then embracing Russia's odious President Vladimir Putin in the face of veiled blackmail on the one hand and cash to paper over his government's failures on the other, much of which can be expected to find its way into the hands of the president's corrupt cronies and family.

Ukraine has long been divided between its Russified east and its Eurofied west. It is a split Mr. Yanukovych exploited in past elections, and it is a split that threatens to divide -- even break -- Ukraine into ever more dysfunction.

It is heartening, however, to see that the backlash to "Soviet-style repression and intimidation" has spread beyond the streets of Kyiv and into Russified parts of the country. It's an indication that, perhaps, despite years of common wisdom otherwise, that all Ukrainians could put Ukraine first.

That is an important development, so important that it demands more than strong words and weak actions.

Mr. Baird should make it clear that Canada wants to see a united Ukraine and that it stands with Ukrainians -- all of them, together.

Editorials are the consensus view of the Winnipeg Free Press’ editorial board, comprising Catherine Mitchell, David O’Brien and Paul Samyn.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 29, 2014 A8

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Weather for final Fringing weekend

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • horse in sunset - marc gallant
  • A goose flys defensively to protect their young Wednesday near Kenaston Blvd and Waverley -See Bryksa 30 Day goose challenge- Day 16 - May 23, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Should the city grant mosquito buffer zones for medical reasons only?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google