OTTAWA - Peter Goldring, Member of Parliament for Edmonton East, asked Thursday if the arrest, trial and conviction of Yulia Tymoshenko was an example of a free and fair democracy in action, or a politically motivated attempt prevent her from challenging incumbent Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych in the next election
At the request of Mr. Goldring the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development was in a special session to discuss the geo-political situation in Ukraine.
Appearing before the Committee was Jillian Stirk, Assistant Deputy Minister of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Development, who noted that both Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird have expressed Canada’s sentiments to the government of Ukraine.
When it comes down to it, she said, it is up to the Ukrainian people to decide whether they want to move forward to democracy.
Mr. Goldring said when he was in Ukraine for the 10 days of the Orange Revolution in 2004 there were numerous attempts to intimidate him, to get him to leave Ukraine so that he could not report the truth of what was happening. He said it was important that people knew the truth of what was happening then, and that he hoped the people in Ukraine today are being given all the information they need to determine the new threat to democracy in Ukraine.
Also appearing before the Committee were Lisa Shymko, Executive Director of Canadian Friends of Ukraine, Taras Zalusky, Executive Director of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress and Taras Kuzio, Senior Visiting Fellow at John Hopkins University.