The word “hawk” and Bob Rae’s name are rarely found in the same sentence, except when it comes to Ukraine.
Canada’s ambassador to the United Nations recently said that the federal government should give Ukraine all the weapons it asks for.
Since the start of major hostilities last winter, Rae – the former interim Liberal leader and former NDP premier of Ontario – has been one of the leading Canadian critics of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s regime.
Online and in major speeches, he has taken every opportunity to denounce the Kremlin’s propaganda efforts that have marked the nearly eight-month war.
In his address to the United Nations General Assembly this week, Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky clearly defined his country’s military needs. CBC News also reported that in a letter to his Canadian counterpart three weeks ago, Ukraine’s defense minister called for more armored vehicles, more howitzers and ammunition, and winter clothing.
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“It may be a career-limiting decision to say that, but I don’t think we can say anything other than yes,” Rae said Saturday on CBC Radio. The House.
“That’s my constant advice to anyone, who, who is listening. Obviously governments have to decide the pace at which they can do this.”
To meet Ukraine’s recent demand for equipment, the Canadian military would almost certainly have to dip back into its existing equipment inventory.
Rae said he was aware of Canada’s military commitments to NATO and elsewhere — commitments that require the military and other forces to maintain a high degree of readiness.
“But I think we have to keep pushing because the test of our success is not what we did last month,” he said. “The test of our success is whether we meet the needs that will allow Ukraine to achieve the goals it has set itself, and frankly that we share?”
This is something “we need to be clear about,” Rae said.
On Thursday, Defense Minister Anita Anand highlighted that Canada was in the process of shipping 39 armored personnel carriers to Ukraine – as part of a previous commitment – and said she was in dialogue constant with his Ukrainian counterpart.
“We will continue discussions next week,” she said. “It would be unwise of me to provide more information before finalizing the situation.”
In addition to the brand new light armored vehicles and upgraded personnel carriers that Ukraine has requested, the Canadian military also has a stockpile of used vehicles, including hundreds of Coyotes, Bisons and armored personnel carriers. caterpillars (called T-LAV).
Most, if not all, of them are being decommissioned or scrapped. Many of them have seen combat in Afghanistan.
Documents recently tabled in parliament show that the military recently conducted an inventory of these vehicles to determine what could be donated to Ukraine.
Of a stockpile of 149 Coyotes, which are used for reconnaissance, the Army found 62 “which are deemed to be in serviceable condition, but would require extensive repairs and parts that would take over 220 days to procure”.
Spare parts are a big problem, defense experts said, because Canada and its allies don’t want to give Ukraine broken or unserviceable equipment.
The response to a written question posed in the House of Commons, tabled this week, indicated that no other fleet of armored vehicles (Bisons, TLAVs or M-113s) could be considered surplus to the Canadian Armed Forces.
“These vehicles are required to support the operational capabilities of the Canadian Armed Forces, including spares and logistics management,” the written response reads.