Ottawa - Peter Goldring, Member of Parliament for Edmonton East, says for more than one hour he had a “frank, free-ranging discussion” on current events in Ukraine and Canada-Ukraine relations with Pavlo Klimkin, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine when Mr. Klimkin visited Ottawa.
Mr. Klimkin asked for the private meeting with Mr. Goldring in his Parliament Hill office because of Mr. Goldring’s familiarity with Ukraine, as well as his role as vice-chair of the Canada-Ukraine Parliamentary Group and as a member of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development.
“We talked at length about the arrest trial and conviction of former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko,” Mr. Goldring says. “I explained to him that the charges and conviction appeared to be politically motivated, using unfortunate laws left over from the Soviet era.”
Mr. Goldring compared the parliamentary systems of Canada and Ukraine. In Canada our government has whipped votes and free votes. He said it would further complicate the Tymoshenko issue if it was perceived to be subjected to a politically motivated vote.
He added that the public perception is it isn’t right that politicians be given immunity against prosecution for their actions while they hold public office, only to have that immunity withdrawn and criminal charges laid when they leave office. “That is unacceptable,” he stated, pointing out that people will be reluctant to enter public life in such a situation.
The two also touched on other issues, including a discussion of energy policy and the development of the extensive oil sands reserves in Canada and Ukraine.