G-20 News

G20: Congress of Ukrainian Canadians wants Russia ousted

OTTAWA-

The Ukrainian Canadian Congress wants Canada to step up pressure on Vladimir Putin’s regime and lead a global charge to kick Russia out of the G20.

Congresswoman Alexandra Chyczij has written to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau asking him to take action to expel Russia from the forum of major world economies.

Chyczij said Russia is using the G20 as a platform to lie about its reasons for invading Ukraine.

Congress fears that if Putin is allowed to attend the G20 heads of state and government meeting in Bali, Indonesia in November, it would send the wrong message and undermine the credibility of the G20.

It would also be difficult for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to attend the summit as a guest.

Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly will take part in the G20 foreign ministers’ meeting in Indonesia this week, although her Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, is also expected.

Joly told The Canadian Press that she was not shaking hands with Lavrov and that she planned to take the opportunity to expose Russian lies about the invasion.

In March, Joly joined others in leaving a United Nations meeting in Geneva when Lavrov, against whom Canada had imposed sanctions days earlier, began speaking.

In his letter, Chyczij pointed out that the Canadian Parliament has declared that Russia is committing genocide in Ukraine.

Because of this and the government’s policy of isolating the Russian Federation from the international community, Congress has declared that Canada should lead the process of expelling Russia from the G20.

In 2014, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said he wanted leaders to expel Russia from the G8 group of industrialized nations after it annexed Crimea from Ukraine. After Russia’s membership was suspended indefinitely, the remaining nations became known as the G7.

Chyczij said Canada should “show the same bold leadership in calling for Russia’s withdrawal from the G20.”

Since the invasion of Ukraine, Joly and other ministers have refused to share the floor when Russia speaks at summits.

In March, Joly joined others in leaving a United Nations meeting in Geneva when Lavrov, against whom Canada had imposed sanctions days earlier, began speaking.

In April, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland joined a G20 meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors in Washington to protest Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

In May, International Trade Minister Mary Ng joined her counterparts from the United States, Australia, Japan and New Zealand in leaving an APEC meeting in Bangkok when the Russian representative began to talk.

In an interview after the walkout, Ng said it wouldn’t be “unique” and that she would be willing to do it again.

Last week, Trudeau said Canada would attend the G20 leaders‘ meeting in November even if Putin also attended, saying it was important to counter the voice Russia will have at that table.

Canada’s presence alongside Russia in Indonesia is creating a difficult diplomatic situation at the G20, including this week’s foreign ministers’ summit in Bali.

Joly recently said it was unacceptable for a Canadian official to attend a reception hosted by the Russian Embassy in Ottawa.

And the Russian foreign minister has been one of the most vocal supporters of Putin’s invasion and justifications.

Orest Zakydalsky, the congress’ senior political adviser, urged Joly and the other foreign ministers to quit the G20 if Lavrov speaks.

“There is nothing to be gained by sitting and listening to a liar try to justify Putin’s war,” he said.


This report from The Canadian Press was first published on July 6, 2022.