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We stand with Ukraine


Yesterday, Dougald Lamont, Cindy Lamoureux and I were there to stand for Ukraine and for the people of Ukraine in this time of great difficulty.  The outpouring of support from Manitobans was extraordinary as can be seen from the number of people who came out.  For those who are interested, that is Cindy Lamoureux on the extreme right of the photo of the gathering. 

Dougald Lamont's speech is below: 

   To ukrainians

   Thank you every one for this opportunity to speak. Thank you to the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, Myrolsava, Alexandra Skandrij, Markian McColl and so many others for making this happen.

   You know, I grew up in the 1970s and 1980s and I remember the cold war. I remember the invasion of Poland.

   I remember the threat of nuclear war and bombs dropping on our heads in the 1980s. Of not knowing whether, in junior high, whether there would be a world for us. And there was.

   We did see a different future.

   I remember the fall of the Berlin Wall. I remember Ukraine becoming a sovereign country.

   So much of Ukraine’s liberation was because of your work, here in Canada. Here in Manitoba. Here in Winnipeg, where Ukrainians built and shared and found a place where you could preserve and promote your language and culture.

   The invasion of Ukraine is not the action of a strongman, but of a weak man a desperate attempt to disrupt, divide and undermine our allies and our selves. To disrupt Ukraine, and to divide us and our allies.

   And there is no question that democracy is under threat, because there are people who have been seeking to pull it apart for decades. 

   But democracy has greater strength than any tyrant can shake.

   My grandfather came to Manitoba in 1903, working on the railroad. He served in World War 1 and helped liberate Mons in Belguum. He survived the Spanish Flu. He worked side by side with Ukrainians.

   On this very day, February 26, in 1937 he delivered a speech in this building, in the middle of the Depression, when there was instability around the world, and democracy seemed to be in retreat.

   “I have been in this country a long time. I saw the farmers break the prairie with a yoke of oxen. I saw the railway builders lay the rails across the plains. I saw the young men clatter over the cobblestones in France. I saw the people bear, with patience, the burden of the Depression.

   I have seen enough to believe that democracy has sufficient strength to solve its own problems.”

   Democracy has sufficient strength to solve its own problems.”

   And there are Russian Oligarchs who are backing Putin. And they have investments around the world, and their names keep showing up in tax havens.

   And our disagreement is not with the Russian people

   Because if Putin and the oligarchs who back him really believed in what is best for Ukraine, they wouldn’t be hiding their money away in some offshore account in Panama or Malta.

   They would be putting it back into Russia. They would build businesses, or pay taxes, or give to charity. But that’s not what these Oligarchs are doing. They are backing the invasion of a sovereign state.

   Ukrainians survived and outlasted oppression.

   Ukrainians survived and outlasted famine

   Ukrainians survived and outlasted war

   Ukrainians will all survive and outlast Putin and this unwarranted act of aggression

   We are gathered here today, in Manitoba, to say with a single voice: we stand with Ukraine.

   We say, with a single voice, to the people of Ukraine: You are not alone in your struggle, and your struggle and identity will not be denied.

   Because your struggle is our struggle.

   And all of our struggle is to repair this world.

   To make it more free. To make it more democratic. To make it more just.

   We did not create this the world that we live in. We inherited it. But we do not have to leave it to our children.

   We stand with you today and always. 


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