Sat. May 21st, 2022

Three sitting New Democrat MPs are being criticized for posting “horrific” comments about the escalating tensions between Ukraine and Russia on social media, some of which questioned Canada’s support for Ukraine in light of Moscow’s aggression.

Winnipeg Center MP Leah Gazan has since apologized for sharing an article on Twitter over the weekend in which she criticized Canada’s “hawkish” stance on the crisis, while accusing the federal government of supporting “an anti-Semitic, neo-Nazi (sic) and fascist milits. “

“As a descendant of a Holocaust (sic) survivor,” Gazan wrote, such support was “horrific” to her.

Gazan said in a later statement that she was referring to right-wing extremist militias and members of the Ukrainian military who have been fighting Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine since 2014, when Moscow annexed Crimea.

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“I do not equate the situation in Ukraine with the Holocaust, and I do not believe that the vast majority of the Ukrainian people or its democratically elected leaders share the conviction that the right-wing extremist militias support,” Gazan said.

“I sincerely regret that my tweet did not contain this important context and may have resulted in harm.”

Read more:

The Ukraine-Russia crisis is under way. How did we get here and what’s going on?

Orest Zakydalsky, senior political adviser to the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, told Global News on Tuesday that Gaza’s comments were “ignorant, inaccurate and hurtful.”

“The UCC has called on NDP leader Jagmeet Singh to reject these comments,” he said in a statement.

Gaza’s tweet was also criticized by the Center for Israel and Jewish Affairs, which accused Gaza of being uninformed.

“Comparison of the Holocaust with the situation unfolding between Ukraine and Russia suggests ignorance of both,” the group said on Twitter.

Click to play video: 'Crisis in Ukraine intensifies as Russia launches new military exercises'

The Ukraine crisis intensifies as Russia launches new military exercises

The Ukraine crisis intensifies as Russia launches new military exercises

Moscow has denied planning an attack, but has gathered about 100,000 troops near Ukraine in recent weeks and is conducting military exercises in several places in Russia. It has prompted the United States and its NATO allies – including Canada – to rush to prepare for a possible war.

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Canada has lent Ukraine $ 120 million to help strengthen its economy in the wake of the Russian threat. Government sources have also told Global News that the Liberal Cabinet is currently discussing sending small arms and ammunition to the country during its three-day cabinet retreat.

The NDP’s official position on what it calls a “threatening crisis” says it supports the people of Ukraine and is concerned about Russia’s growing hostility, but says Canada should focus on non-lethal aid and diplomatic solutions.

Read more:

Canada is criticized for ‘soft, tentative language’ in the midst of the Ukraine-Russia crisis

The party also expresses concern about right-wing extremist elements within the Ukrainian military, some of whom have boasted of being trained by Canada and other NATO allies, according to a recent report by George Washington University.

While extremist groups have long attacked military members in countries around the world – including Canada – Russia has been accused of arming accusations of Nazism in Ukraine’s military and government for political gain.

In September 2021, Ukraine passed a law defining and banning anti-Semitism in the country, including harboring anti-Semitic sentiments – even though it does not prescribe any punishment for breaking the law. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and former Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman are Jews, making Ukraine the only country besides Israel that has had two Jewish heads of state.

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In an email response to Global News on Tuesday, an NDP spokesman pointed to the party’s official position when asked about the recent comments of Gazan and other MPs, and did not say whether Singh would address tweets.

Click to play video: '' Nobody knows what's going to happen ': Ukrainian-Canadians anxious as Russian threat threatens'

‘Nobody knows what’s going to happen’: Ukrainian-Canadians anxious as Russian threat threatens

‘Nobody knows what’s going to happen’: Ukrainian-Canadians anxious as Russian threat threatens

Other tweets criticized

Zakydalsky also criticized other Manitoba MP Niki Ashton for promoting similar views. Ashton on Tuesday retweeted a link to a podcast episode that questioned Canada’s “march to war” with Russia, suggesting that Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland’s “Nazi past” contributed to Canada’s support for Ukraine.

Freeland’s Ukrainian grandfather was the editor of a newspaper that published Nazi propaganda during World War II, a fact that was only revealed in 2017. Freeland has accused Russian disinformation agents of using history to sow division in the West, and has not directly addressed her grandfather’s story.

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Still, the podcast hosts openly asked whether Canada’s support for Ukraine was based on democratic values ​​or “returning to the (proclaimed) Freeland grandfather’s glory.”

They also address right-wing extremist elements in the Ukrainian military and criticize Canada’s support for them.

Read more:

Canada is ordering families of diplomats out of Ukraine as fears rise over Russian threat

The Left did not directly address the allegations in the podcast section retweeted by Ashton.

Podcast hosts are also asking if Canada is simply seeking to justify the construction of an ammunition factory in Ukraine – a project Kyiv has been lobbying Canada to help build since 2017 and was confirmed by the Ottawa Citizen this month.

Meanwhile, Vancouver Kingsway MP Don Davies on Sunday tweeted a link to an article openly questioning whether Russia will ever invade Ukraine, calling it a “very useful discussion.”

“I am sure that the vast majority of members of the New Democratic Party and NDP members of Parliament support the defense of the Ukrainian people of their independence and territorial integrity, regardless of the views of Mrs Gazan, Mr Davies and Mrs Ashton,” Zakydalsky said. The UCC said in its statement.

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“The UCC urges Mr Singh to reject their terrible comments.”

– With files from Mercedes Stephenson, Amanda Connolly and the Associated Press

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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