February 20, 2023
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I would like to acknowledge that we are gathered on the unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinabe people.
We come together to mark a day we hoped would not arrive. A year ago, Russia began the unconscionable, full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Since that time, too many have suffered and are suffering still.
Yet, we have also seen the strength of humanity.
Brave and resilient Ukrainians willing to fight for their freedom and the freedom of our world.
Citizens standing firm and pushing back against their aggressors.
People from many nations offering help, in defence of democracy and the rule of law.
And the Ukrainian community in Canada—one of the largest Ukrainian diaspora populations in the world—has been steadfast in raising support for their families and friends in the heart of great danger.
As the attacks continue, the humanitarian crisis deepens. We need to take every opportunity to support Ukraine. We need to help people find safety and moments of normalcy amidst the chaos. We need to support Ukrainians as they rebuild their country, even as they fight for their country’s future.
We must face this crisis together, across borders. My thoughts go out to the Ukrainian people: to the child whose only wish is to go to school; to the soldiers who only want to be reunited with their families; to the teachers, nurses and community leaders who are trying to maintain a sense of normalcy, when everything is all but normal.
From the first day, and through all of the devastating days since, Canada has stood firmly alongside the Ukrainian people. And we will keep doing so.
As we approach one year of Russia’s continued attacks, let us all hope for lasting peace, for families brought back together, for the rebuilding of homes and livelihoods. Let us hope that this first year of war is the last.