Canada's "Coercive Diplomacy" Against Russia

– Nick Lin –

It is well known that the U.S. sets Canada's foreign policy. An ignominious part of that foreign policy is carrying out what they shamelessly refer to as "coercive diplomacy" to impose U.S. dictate on other countries.

Accordingly, Canada has had sanctions in place against Russia since March 17, 2014, following the U.S.-orchestrated Maidan coup in which Canada by no means played second fiddle. Known as the Special Economic Measures (Russia) Regulations, the sanctions were further amended in 2015, 2016, 2019, 2021 and most recently on February 24 and 28 of this year.

Like the U.S., Canada has not acknowledged Russia's security concerns in announcing its latest sanctions, nor how the sanctions will resolve these concerns. On the contrary, Canada's Minister of Finance and Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland does not let an occasion pass to express her venom against Russia and her desire to see it "crushed."

In addition to being aware of Canada's shameful role to back U.S.-led sanctions, it is important that working people in Canada and Quebec take note of the vindictive spirit in which Russia is threatened via sanctions and who is making these threats.

In announcing sanctions against Russia on February 28, Freeland repeated the threats she had made against Russia at the G20 meeting she attended in her capacity as Deputy Prime Minister on February 17: "To our Russian counterparts who are struggling vainly to prop up the ruble in freefall, let me say: We warned you. The West's sanctions, I warned, would be swift, co-ordinated, sustained and crushing."

Announcing more sanctions after a G7 meeting on March 1, Freeland's arrogance and revanchism was on full display. "Russia is not the Soviet Union. Russia is an economy and a society which is deeply integrated into the West and deeply integrated into the global economy. What we are seeing here from Vladimir Putin is an attempt to have his cake and eat it too. He wants to behave like a communist dictator," she said. Acting like a god above, she spluttered: "You don't get to do that. If you make war on a rules-based international order, we're going to cut you out of the global economy."

In a press release from the Prime Minister's Office on February 24, she was quoted as saying:

"Today, we woke up to a changed world. Russia has launched a brutal and unprovoked attack on the sovereignty of Ukraine -- a country of more than 40 million people who have sought nothing but peace and freedom. Canada understands what is at stake. We know that the people of Ukraine, in fighting for their lives and their sovereignty, are fighting for us, too. They are fighting for democracy, and we stand with them."

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and several other Cabinet ministers were quoted in the same press release, following Freeland's lead in speaking in an arrogant, high-handed and threatening manner.

At the Toronto demonstration on February 27, where Freeland marched with the arch reactionary Ukrainian Canadian Congress (UCC), she said: "I think all of us today should let the people of Ukraine know, the leaders of Ukraine know, how much we admire them. We know they are fighting for all of us." She threatened Russia, saying that it must end "this barbaric war" or suffer the consequences. "The West is relentless and we will cut the Russian economy off from contact with our own," she said. It was at this event that Freeland stood behind a banner displaying the fascist slogan Slava Ukraini (Glory to Ukraine), that also bore the colours of the Ukrainian Nazi collaborators.

It is not surprising then that the arch-reactionaries in the UCC have been praising Canada's U.S.-led sanctions regime against Russia and that they are given a seat at the head table.

UCC's executive director Ihor Michalchyshyn said on February 23 that the UCC board of directors took part in a teleconference that included Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Deputy Prime Minister Freeland, Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly, Defence Minister Anita Anand, International Development Minister Harjit Sajjan and Immigration Minister Sean Fraser. "It was about sanctions, humanitarian assistance and disinformation," he told the Globe and Mail. "Given the scope of the sanctions and the work we're seeing done and the way the government's communicating it, Deputy Prime Minister Freeland is at the lead, at the forefront, rallying her cabinet colleagues," he added.

Michalchyshyn's claim that his group has a "high level of access" to the Liberal government and that discussions with the government have stepped up since November 2021 in no way proves that the sanctions serve the people of Ukraine. On the contrary, the UCC is representative of the most reactionary Ukrainians who were permitted to enter Canada after World War II to escape the justice of the anti-fascist forces for the crimes they committed during the war.

This article was published in
Volume 52 Number 3 - March 6, 2022

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