by Candice Bodnaruk
As the world marks one year of War in Ukraine, the number of Canadians who support negotiating for peace has increased.
Since February 2022 Canada has committed over $1 billion in military assistance to Ukraine. Canada has also donated armoured vehicles and is in the process of sending 4 Leopard 2 main battle tanks to Ukraine. Canadian Armed Forces teams will be training the Ukrainian soldiers to operate the tanks.
In January, Canada also announced it was purchasing a National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System (NASAMS) from the United States to donated to Ukraine. The total cost of the system is $406 million.
Yet this increase in “lethal aid” donations to Ukraine come as recent national polling suggests Canadians want peace negotiations back on the table and that overall interest in the war is waning.
In fact, a recent Post Media-Leger poll reported that only 33% if Canadians believe Canada should provide more personnel to train Ukrainian soldiers, and just 32% believe Canada should provide military equipment.
Moreover, according to a February 2023 Angus Reid poll, 25% of Canadians survey said it’s time to reignite the peace negotiations process. Moreover, although support for NATO and Article 5 remains high, it did fall 18 points from a 2022 poll. Currently, over 60% of those surveyed still support the principle.
An Ipsos poll conducted from February 15-17 yielded similar results. In the poll of 1,350 Canadians, 48% now say their government can no longer support the Ukraine financially because of the current economic crisis back home. This number is an increase of three points from a February 2022 poll.
Meanwhile, the Canada Wide Peace and Justice Network (CWPJN) is calling for immediate negotiations with all parties. The organization argues that for years NATO has been provoking conflict with Russia. CWPJN points out that since 2014 Canada’s military spending has increased by 70%. In 2021 Canada spent $33 billion on the military which was 15 times more than they spent on the environment and climate change.
The organization argues that such an increase in military spending will prevent Canada from investing adequately in areas like public health, education, housing, jobs and fighting climate change.
CWPJN is planning a weekend of actions from February 23-26. Visit peaceandjusticenetwork.ca/stop-the-war-feb-2023 for actions across the country to oppose the War in Ukraine.