Recent history shows that Canadian diplomacy and foreign policy often haven’t been on the right side of history, especially since Stephen Harper become a Prime Minister, much less since John Baird become his foreign affair minister. They made several mistakes in relation with MidEast, Arab Spring but surprisingly they’re not only on the right side of history in case of Ukraine’s fight for democracy, but Harper-Baird duo took leadership.
Mr. Baird is one of a rare foreign affair ministers who spent significant time at Maidan in Kiev, even when security situation was not at the best levels for someone of his rank. Now when pro-Russian president Yanukovych is ousted and sent to the East to be with his friend Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, Mr. Baird is again back to Kiev and works hard to see how Canada can help and improve Ukraine’s future.
“We’re tremendously concerned with the provocative actions that have taken place in the region by the Russian Federation. Obviously, we’re working with the new government and with our allies to ascertain the difference between fact and fiction”, said Mr. Baird.
Standing up to Russia and telling Putin’s regime that Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity must to be protected is probably one of the best decisions of Canada’s government and foreign affairs ministry since 2006. This means that this matter is not only in hands of European Union or the United States but that Canada will stand behind Ukraine’s decisions to move forwards towards freedom. Of course some could say that Harper’s government is doing this to counter votes on upcoming elections next year, but at least they’re doing something positive while Justin Trudeau is making “hockey jokes” and offends millions of Ukrainians across the world.
During Canadian delegation visit to Kiev, Mr. Baird and several MP’s accompanied with members of Canadian Ukrainian Congress, had meetings with new government leaders including acting President, PM and former PM Yulia Tymoshenko. They also visited numerous locations of historic significance as St. Michael’s Monastery which was transformed into a hospital to take care of injured protesters from Kiev’s Maidan. Mr. Baird promised financial aid much needed for medical help to injured over the last few weeks, adding that in the future Canada would work with IMF and partners to boost financial aid to Ukraine. Help from Canada and IMF is seen as promising news which results should help smooth transition from Yanukovych self-centred governing system into more democratic and citizen orientated government.
Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, called in statement available on his Ministry website for implementation of February 21 agreement while supposed Russian forces are taking over Crimean autonomous region of Ukraine. Knowing past actions of Putin’s regime not only in Ukraine who’s former President Yushechenko was poisoned by Yanukovych team supported by Kremlin calls for return to legal framework are sounding like very bad taste joke.
“The Russian side once again emphasized the urgent need for returning the situation in Kiev to a legal framework and implementing the February 21 agreement, including primarily the curbing of radical extremists’ actions and the promotion of a national accord based on the real consideration of interests of all political forces and all regions of Ukraine,” the Russian Foreign Ministry.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper should be praised for his sending Minister Baird to Ukraine because former is known as very open and straightforward politician often ruthless in defending his positions and he used that ability this time in right place at the right time. Mr. Baird refused to apologies for support to Ukrainians in their fight for freedom and called upon Russia to honour their own promises and commitments from Budapest Declaration. For this Mr. Baird deserves highest marks, finally Canadian diplomacy is showing it’s strength and potentials.