In the News March 18
In the Parliament
Ukrainian President’s “Can You Imagine” Performance
As part of Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky’s international tour appealing to the U.S. and NATO countries to escalate the war in Ukraine, he addressed virtually a joint gathering of the Senate and House of Commons on March 15. Zelensky was introduced to the joint session by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau who said among other things, “You are defending the values that form the pillars of all free democratic countries.” Following Zelensky’s presentation, interventions were made by the speakers of the Senate and the House followed by the leaders of the Conservative Official Opposition, Bloc Quebecois, NDP and Green Party.
The speech was crafted around an “imagine it is happening to you” theme. “Can you only imagine?” Zelensky repeatedly asked. “Imagine that at 4:00 am, each of you start hearing bomb explosions,[…] bombing the Ottawa airport, tens of other cities in your wonderful country? Can you imagine that?”
This was followed by a call for the government of Canada to step up support for Ukraine. He mentioned membership in NATO and a no-fly zone.
“Can you imagine when you call your friends, your friendly nations, and you ask ‘Please close the sky. Please close the airspace. Please stop the bombing? How many more cruise missiles have to fall on our cities until you make this happen?’ And they, in return, express their deep concerns about the situation. When we talk with our partners they say ‘Please hold on. Hold on a little longer.'”
Without directly referring to any countries or individual leaders, Zelensky said, “Some people are talking about trying to avoid escalation and at the same time in response to our aspiration to become members of NATO, we also do not hear a clear answer.”
Citing Canadian military assistance, humanitarian assistance, and imposition of sanctions, Zelensky thanked Canada for being “steadfast in its support,” and called it a “reliable partner.” But, he said, such assistance “did not bring the end to the war.” “Basically what I am trying to say is that you all need to do more to stop Russia, to protect Ukraine, and by doing that to protect Europe from Russian threats. […] We are not asking for much. We are asking for justice, for real support, which will help us to prevail to defend, to save lives, to save life all over the world,” he said.
With this he called on Canada to lead and expressed his hope that other countries would follow suit. “Old friends owe the truth,” he said, “Please understand how important it is for us to close our airspace from Russian missiles and Russian aircraft.”
“You Canadians, you know all this very well, and that is why I am asking you, please, do not stop your efforts. Please expand your efforts to bring back peace in our peaceful country. I believe and I know that you can do it. We are part of the antiwar coalition and, jointly, I am sure that it will achieve results.”
Zelensky also appealed to the Ukrainian diaspora in Canada. “This is a historical moment, and we need your support, your practical support,” he said.
The fact is that discussion of Ukraine’s membership in NATO is not a factor for peace and has, in any case, already been taken off the table by the U.S./NATO itself, as has, thus far, the call for a U.S./NATO no-fly zone. So why is Zelensky raising these things? Earlier the same day, while speaking to a gathering of military leaders in the U.K.-led Joint Expeditionary Force, Zelensky acknowledged that Ukraine will not become a NATO member. “It is clear that Ukraine is not a member of NATO; we understand this. For years we heard about the apparently open door, but have already also heard that we will not enter there, and these are truths and must be acknowledged.” “[O]ur people are starting to understand it and counting on themselves and our partners to help us,” he said.
It confirms that Zelensky is being welcomed with such accolades by the NATO countries and others around the world for propaganda value. It is to fuel the U.S./NATO anti-Russia war hysteria, and to legitimate their escalation of the war now they see that Russia will not submit to permitting attacks on the Russian-speaking population of eastern Ukraine by neo-Nazi occupying forces.
Speakers praised his courage and leadership and approved continued all-sided support for Ukraine without regard for what is really taking place there. In the full video of the event Speaker Anthony Rota is seen intervening after the Speaker of the Senate, ending his address with the slogan Heroiam Slava! (Glory to the heroes) saying Zelensky himself was one of those heroes, then shouted the slogan. After a few more words he concluded with Slava Ukraini! (Glory to Ukraine) to which a chorus of voices was heard shouting Slava! in response. While Canadians cannot conceive of their members of parliament shouting the Nazi salute, it seems they have adopted without qualms the WWII salute of the Nazi collaborators, given today by the neo-Nazi battalions in Ukraine. Their justification is that it does not mean the same thing today.
Elizabeth May, House Leader of the Greens, was the only parliamentarian to specifically address the issue of a no-fly zone. She read a letter from the Green Party leader of Ukraine asking her and other Green Party members to support a no-fly zone. She said she was sad to inform that an international organization of elected Green Party members had deliberated on the matter and decided against it. May said it would mark an unacceptable escalation and begged for everyone to use every tool available to secure peace; and if the tool does not exist, she said, it must be created.
Afterward, in a press scrum, Defence Minister Anita Anand reiterated the current position of the Liberal Government, stating that a no-fly zone is not on the table.
(TML Daily, posted March 18, 2022)