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Make a statement in the House of Commons!
Richmond Centre Electoral District
On February 7, 2017, Alice Wong asked a question during the question-and-comments period of debate on Bill C-31, the Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act.
The following is a transcript:
Hon. Alice Wong (Richmond Centre, CPC):
Madam Speaker, I have to stress that Canada has always been a good friend of Ukraine. I remember when Prime Minister Harper and I attended the opening ceremony of APEC in Beijing. The first thing he said to Putin was to get out of Ukraine. That shows the Conservative Party’s strong support for our good friends in Ukraine.
Economic growth is also the best way to grow a country, a region, or a community. I remember when I trained Muslim women, single parents, in Malaysia on how to start and run a small business successfully. These women saw the need for economic independence and they successfully became women entrepreneurs in their own country. SMEs are important and so is the strength of the Ukrainian community in my riding of Richmond Centre.
My question for my hon. colleague is this. How would you demonstrate that trade can help small and medium-sized entrepreneurs and businesses benefit and create jobs because of this free trade agreement?
The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Carol Hughes):
I would remind the member not to use the word “you” and to address her comments to the Chair.
The hon. member for Etobicoke Centre.
Mr. Borys Wrzesnewskyj:
Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for mentioning a previous prime minister. We have a proud history of Canadian prime ministers since 1991, both Conservative and Liberal, standing shoulder to shoulder with the people of Ukraine.
Prime Minister Brian Mulroney was the first western leader to acknowledge Ukraine’s independence in December 1991, a day after the referendum for independence in Ukraine.
Prime Minister Paul Martin, during the Orange Revolution, sent an unprecedented 500 electoral observers to Ukraine for the rerunning of the presidential election.
In fact, I note that a former prime minister, John Turner, headed that mission. When he was asked if he would head up that mission, he was older at that point in time and it was Christmas in Canada, and he said he would go to Ukraine to show solidarity with the people of Ukraine and celebrate with his family a little after Christmas. He said it was too important to show that we stand shoulder to shoulder with the Ukrainian people.
The example of Prime Minister Harper was given.
I would like also to relate something I saw during the Prime Minister’s state visit to Ukraine. On the first evening, there was an event and, as usual, crowds were gathering around the Prime Minister. He noticed two soldiers who had had facial reconstruction surgery done. He pointed them out to me and we walked over to them. Everyone was asking for pictures with the Prime Minister and he said he would be honoured to have a picture taken with these two Ukrainian soldiers, volunteers, who had fought on the front line in Ukraine. It is symbolic of the sort of position that all Canadian prime ministers have had with Ukraine.
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