Ottawa, ON – The Hon. Candice Bergen, Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada and the Official Opposition, released the following statement on Ukrainian Independence Day:

“After years of being starved and oppressed by the Soviet Union, Ukraine joyously declared its independence in 1991. For over 30 years, Ukrainians have been free to share the richness of their traditions, language, and culture with the world. Today, we celebrate Ukrainian heritage and honour the history that has shaped it into the strong, patriotic country it is today.

“Ukraine’s re-emergence on the world stage after the Cold War has truly been a blessing to the world and especially to Canada. The Ukrainian community in Canada has made countless incredible contributions to our country in every area of life and culture.

“As we reflect on the events of the past few months, Ukrainian independence has taken on a profound new significance. Putin’s illegal invasion of Ukraine has threatened democracy and brought suffering to millions of Ukrainians. But the Ukrainian spirit has remained firm. As they defend against these attacks, Ukrainians are rooted in their history of overcoming adversity and in the knowledge that the free world stands with them.

“Today, Conservatives again call on the government to stand up for Ukraine and reverse their decision to return a Russian-owned gas turbine to Germany in contravention of our own sanctions. Instead of easing pressure on Russia, the government must continue to show unwavering solidarity with Ukraine.

“On behalf of the Conservative Party of Canada, I’d like to wish all Ukrainians a happy Ukrainian Independence Day. Together we will stand against authoritarianism, and uphold the values of peace, freedom and justice for Ukraine.”