Ottawa, Ontario – Canadian Members of Parliament James Bezan (Selkirk-Interlake) and Ted Opitz (Etobicoke Centre) made the following joint statement as violence escalates and civil liberties rapidly deteriorate during the regression of democracy in Ukraine:
“We are deeply saddened by the tragic deaths of innocent protestors today in Ukraine. President Yanukovych and his regime’s heavy handed authoritarian response to what had been peaceful protests for weeks, was completely unwarranted. We are disgusted by their callous behaviour and angered by the excessive and fatal actions of the Berkut and other police agencies. The death total is rising.
“We believe that President Yanukovych, Prime Minister Arazov, cabinet ministers and government officials who are complicit in the administration and enforcement of martial law in Ukraine must be held responsible. As a direct response to the government invoked brutality, Canada is considering all diplomatic and economic options, including sanctions.
“We call on the Ukrainian Government to cease and desist in its oppression of the free citizens of Ukraine, the silencing of critics, and its intimidation of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church. Ukraine’s parliament (Verkhovna Rada) must repeal the draconian martial law passed last week undemocratically. We urge President Yanukovych to restart talks with the European Union and approve the free trade deal which has already been negotiated. Finally, all political leaders and EuroMaidan organizers must agree to stop the violence, return to peaceful demonstrations, and start organizing free and fair democratic elections.
“We are confident that Canada and the world will not sit idly by and watch the Yanukovych regime destroy Ukraine. Ukraine’s aspirations to enjoy independence, freedom, peace, balanced justice and prosperity is a right that all Ukrainians have earned through years of struggle and hardship. The road Ukraine finds itself on today is only leading it to anarchy, authoritarian imperialism and upheaval.”
James Bezan, MP Ted Opitz, MP
Selkirk-Interlake, Manitoba Etobicoke Centre