Update (Tuesday, Mar. 7, 2023 at 3:30 p.m.):
As part of Prime Minister (PM) Justin Trudeau’s visit to Kingston with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, unsurprisingly the Russian invasion of Ukraine was a hot topic.
“Noting the one-year anniversary of Ukraine’s successful defence against Russia’s illegal full-scale war of aggression, the Leaders reaffirmed their unwavering commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. They condemned Russia’s egregious violations of the UN Charter and international humanitarian law, from the indiscriminate attacks on civilian infrastructure, to the forced deportation of Ukrainian children and torture of prisoners of war,” the PM’s office said in a press release.
“The Leaders agreed on the need to ensure accountability for atrocities committed, including war crimes. They reiterated their support for international accountability efforts, including investigations by the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court and the Commission of Inquiry established by the UN Human Rights Council.
While at Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Kingston, the PM and President von der Leyen “reaffirmed their commitment to Ukraine’s recovery and reconstruction efforts.” To that end, Trudeau announced that Canada would be committing a further $3 million to support an initiative to clear land mines and unexploded ordnances in Ukraine.
“This includes personnel involved in training Ukrainian security forces, Canadians in uniform who’ve been deployed in Poland to support Ukrainian refugees, and in Latvia to support NATO. And there can be no doubt, just as the resolve of our brave men and women in uniform is unwavering, so too is the bond between Canada and Europe,” the Prime Minister said of Canada’s efforts to support Ukraine.
“Already, Canada has provided military support to Ukraine and put in place sanctions and punitive economic measures against the Russian regime. For as long as it takes, we will stand shoulder to shoulder, together with our European partners for Ukraine,” Trudeau continued.
“Today, I can announce that we are extending our engineering training as part of Operation UNIFIER until at least the fall, and deploying CAF medical trainers to help Ukrainian forces with combat medical skills. We’re also investing $3 million for demining in Ukraine, and working with the EU to deliver energy equipment to Ukraine for their power grid.”
According to the Prime Minister’s office, President von der Leyen’s visit has allowed for progress on “shared and urgent priorities,” which also includes fighting climate change and accelerating clean innovation, and pursuing energy security and sustainable economic growth. For those reasons, Trudeau and von der Leyen toured Kingston’s Li-Cycle, a company focused on lithium-ion battery recycling and resources recovery for critical materials.
A full joint press release on the visit of President von der Leyen from the PM’s office can be read here.
This week, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, is making her first official visit to Canada, and her first stop is here in Kingston.
Ursula von der Leyen is the first female President of the European Commission and she will address Parliament in the House of Commons to highlight the unique ties between our countries, and to mark International Women’s Day, on Wednesday, Mar. 8, 2023.
Today, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is here in Kingston to attend her welcoming ceremony with military honours at CFB Kingston. The pair, along with the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Chrystia Freeland, the Minister of National Defence, Anita Anand, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mélanie Joly, will spend the day meeting with local media and visiting an innovative technology company.
According to a release from the Prime Minister’s office, during the week-long visit, Prime Minister Trudeau and President von der Leyen will “build on the close, enduring transatlantic relations between Canada and the European Union (EU) and drive progress on shared priorities, including continuing to work together on advancing clean energy and clean technologies, creating good middle-class jobs, and driving economic growth that benefits everyone, most notably through the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) and the Canada-EU Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA).”
The leaders will also continue to collaborate on ongoing solidarity and support for Ukraine, as the Ukrainian people continue to courageously defend themselves from Russia’s illegal and unjustifiable full-scale invasion.
“Canada and the European Union enjoy a longstanding relationship rooted in shared values, strong ties between our peoples, and a history of friendship and close cooperation,” Prime Minister Trudeau said in a statement.
“I look forward to welcoming President von der Leyen to Canada to further strengthen our bilateral ties and advance our efforts to create good jobs for the middle class and build a clean economy that works for everyone – on both sides of the Atlantic.”
The Kingston visit will include a bilateral meeting to “further drive trade and investment, and cooperation under CETA, which are all key to building strong economies and creating good jobs, while delivering on their shared commitment to fight climate change.” According to the release, the leaders will also discuss Russia’s ongoing aggression against Ukraine and its global consequences as well as Canada and the EU’s efforts to uphold the rule of law; further promote peace and security, democracy, and human rights; and promote women’s empowerment and gender equality around the world.
While in Kingston, the leaders will visit the Canadian Forces Base to meet with Canadian Armed Forces personnel who have deployed to Central and Eastern Europe as part of Operation REASSURANCE to support humanitarian efforts for Ukrainian refugees through Task Force Poland.
Following their bilateral meeting, Prime Minister Trudeau and President von der Leyen will highlight their collaboration on critical minerals – the building blocks of the clean and digital economy – and Canada’s potential to be a reliable supplier in a net-zero economy. This includes visiting an innovative Canadian clean technology company, according to the PM’s office.
According to the release, the Canada-EU Strategic Partnership on Raw Materials, signed in 2021, focuses on enhancing security and sustainability of trade and investment, the integration of raw material supply chains, science, technology and innovation collaboration, and environmental, social, governance criteria and standards.
Launched in December 2022, Canada’s Critical Minerals Strategy will increase the supply of responsibly sourced critical minerals and support the development of domestic and global value chains for the green and digital economy. The Strategy is reportedly backed by up to $3.8 billion in federal support. The proposed funding covers a range of industrial activities of the critical minerals value chain, from geoscience and exploration to mineral processing, manufacturing, and recycling applications, including support for research, development, and technological deployment.
With files from Cris Vilela and Tori Stafford.