Debunking Lysiane Gagnon’s “Our risky game in Ukraine”

It’s not a game. And it’s not risky. We should not calculate our risks when we stand up to evil. Yes, we might be afraid, it’s a human reaction to threats, especially the ones coming from a psychologically challenged superpower with nukes. But as a great nation, we should collect our strength, take a breath and…not be so cautious about “playing a dangerous game”. Let’s say that, in her op-ed in the Globe and Mail “Our risky game in Ukraine” published on April 23, 2015 Lysiane Gagnon was cautious.

“What exactly is Canada doing there, in a conflict that’s going on in the depths of Europe where Canada has no national interest?” This is Lysiane Gagnon in the Globe and Mail on April 23, 2015. “Canada’s role has been to send hundreds of thousands of people overseas, lose over a hundred thousand in two world wars fighting to protect the freedoms, democracy and the values that we believe in, for people that we’d never met before.” This is the Honourable Peter Van Loan, in the New Pathway on April 23, 2015.

The arguments used by Lysiane Gagnon in the op-ed in the Globe and Mail to explain why “this conflict is far from a black-and-white issue” do not hold water. If this comes from misinformation about Ukraine and what is going on there, which is abundant in the global media, we should try and address some of that misinformation.

Lysiane Gagnon: “Mr. Baird received a hero’s welcome from the crowd (on the Maidan in Kyiv – NP). When did Canadian officials start taking sides in the domestic politics of other countries?”. Again, to quote Peter Van Loan: “Well, yeah, we are taking sides, we’ve always taken sides of freedom and democracy.” If it’s unclear why the then-president Viktor Yanukovych was on the other side of freedom and democracy, let’s provide some examples.

What would Lysiane Gagnon say to allegations that Yanukovych had masterminded a scheme which would allow him, through his cronies headed by his son Alexander (a dentist by education), to grab millions of hectares of Ukraine’s most fertile “black soil” from impoverished farmers to sell it to strategic investors at market prices? That his cronies had grabbed stakes in so many profitable businesses across Ukraine that anytime “the dentist” was mentioned, business people were bracing for the worst. That corrupt dealings, which were a huge problem before Yanukovych, became the main thing (often, it felt, it was the only thing) that the government was occupied with.

We are not afraid to use the word “allegations” which seemingly undermines our judgement about the Yanukovych regime. These allegations were never proven under Yanukovych in a court of law. They remain unproven even now, more than a year after the Revolution of Dignity, which is among the main criticisms of Ukraine’s new leadership. But those allegations were proven by the blood on Maidan. Why else would Yanukovych give orders to shoot more than a hundred protestors on Kyiv’s main square if not to try and ensure that this kind of horrendous corruption would never be proven in a court of law?

As to Lysiane Gagnon’s “the West’s current meddling in territory that’s been part of Russia’s orbit for centuries”. So, it is now OK to grab another country’s territory? And it has been nothing but a land grab. In the documentary “Crimea. The Way to the Motherland”, Putin admitted that the Russian troops occupied Crimea in March 2014. If Lysiane Gagnon is not sure that it was the Russian special forces who started the war in the Donbas, she should watch this clip where heavily armed and very well trained people are taking the Ukrainian police station in Kramatorsk in April 2014, while speaking with a heavy Russian accent and using the term for the curb (porebrik) which is unique for inhabitants of St Petersburg (Russia). If that doesn’t prove to be enough, she should watch a confession by a Russian FSB officer Igor Girkin that he and his detachment “pulled the trigger of the war” here

All this has been widely known for more than a year now. If the problem is lack of information and pervasiveness of the Russian propaganda, the Western media should do further research and find these simple facts which would allow to remain on the right side of right and wrong with regard to the war in Ukraine.