A committee of MPs is expected to begin clause-by-clause study Tuesday of a bill that implements an update to the Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement, following a decision by the federal Tories to vote against the legislation.
Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre has defended his party’s move as mounting opposition to language that promotes carbon pricing, rather than rejecting a trade deal with Ukraine, which has been fighting a Russian invasion since early last year.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his cabinet have rejected Poilievre’s explanation and instead accused the Tories of following in the footsteps of some U.S. Republicans, who are signalling less support for assisting the Ukrainian war effort.
The negotiated text of the agreement, signed by Ukraine’s president during his September visit to Ottawa, says both countries will “promote carbon pricing” — a provision Canadian officials have said is not binding.
Ukraine has had a carbon price in place for more than a decade, and its ambassador is asking that Canada pass the legislation.
The national president of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, an advocacy organization for local Ukrainian communities, says it hopes the Tories will reconsider their position.
“The Ukrainian Canadian Congress was disappointed that the official Opposition unanimously voted against legislation that would update the Canada Ukraine Free Trade Agreement,” Alexandra Chyczij said in a statement.
“We call on the official Opposition to revisit this position before third reading.”
Since their vote against the bill, the federal Conservatives have been pushing back against the Liberals’ accusation that they are not standing in support of Ukraine.
In a video released on X, the platform previously known as Twitter, Conservative MP Garnett Genuis said the Tories will “stand with Ukraine,” and what the country really needs are more lethal weapons.