For the last several weeks the world has watched as Russian forces under Vladimir Putin invaded and began the systematic destruction of Ukraine and its people, refusing, more often than not, to adopt humanitarian corridors to allow innocent civilians to escape the carnage of war, and in some cases shelling corridors that were agreed upon.
Today, after laying waste to Mariupol, Russia demanded Ukrainians surrender the city, suggesting Ukraine would be responsible for the unfolding humanitarian catastrophe if it did not surrender.
Four weeks ago, to think that this war could be happening in Europe in the 21st century was also unbelievable to me.
But now, even while Western sanctions work away at crippling the Russian economy, Putin is unrelenting in his egregious attacks on a democratic country and innocent civilians.
The daily images are more than believable.
And I believe we need to do more.
A few days ago, a small group of friends and family, with the support of Liberal MP John Aldag, initiated an e-petition meant to urge the Government Of Canada to do more, specifically to increase its support to Ukraine, up to and including supporting a NATO enforced no-fly zone, as has been asked for repeatedly by Ukraine’s President.
I appreciate that Canada and NATO have already done a lot.
But four weeks in, there seem to be few signs that this conflict will end anytime soon.
I have little experience with the petition process but over the years I have seen the power of public engagement in issues I was involved with. Those issues, of course, pale in comparison to this one.
Still, I believe in the power of people to influence the outcome of what is happening around us.
Despite being pulled in multiple directions, between concerns about Putin’s threats of escalating this conflict versus the obvious realities that Ukraine and Ukrainians are currently facing along with their neighbours in other European countries, including the Russian people, I believe more direct action is going to be required to protect innocent lives and to bring this conflict to an end.
Are there risks associated with taking more direct action?
And I have no doubt that there are strategists and analysts from many countries, assessing and weighing those risks.
In the end, what we believe may have little effect on influencing our governments’ decisions going forward.
But maybe it will.
At the very least, I believe humanitarian corridors are essential and those have to be protected. If more public debate is required then I hope in some small way this petition helps to spur on that debate to help move the needle toward ending this conflict.
I respect the opinions of those who disagree and understand your concerns but if you do agree, please consider signing this petition and also sharing it within your network.