Remarks by Marcus Kolga at Toronto's #StandWithUkraine march and rally
Seven years ago today, just steps from the Kremlin, Borys Efrimovich Nemtsov was gunned down by a gang of Putin’s thugs, who were dispatched to silence his voice and extinguish his dream of a democratic and free Russia - that respects it’s people and it’s neighbors.
Boris was a champion of Ukrainian independence and democracy. He fought with you during the Orange Revolution.He stood with all of us, united, against Vladimir Putin’s authoritarian aspirations.
In contrast to Putin, who hates his own people, just as much as he hates all of us, Boris stood with us, together, in common cause, for democracy, human rights and in friendly solidarity. It is these values that Boris Nemtsov was killed for, and the same reason Putin is attacking Ukraine and the entire Western World.
Friends, Vladimir Putin is nothing more than a schoolyard bully.
His only chance of winning is when we are divided. United he doesn’t have a chance.
Boris Nemtsov believed this too. I can feel him standing here with us today and with the 4.5 million Canadians of central and eastern European heritage who stand untied with Ukraine against Vladimir Putin’s barbaric invasion and tyranny.
Putin abhors the fact that today we have conservatives and liberals from all levels of government standing here united against him. I see James Bezan, Arif Virani, Yvan Baker, James Maloney, Melissa Lantsman, The Deputy Prime Minister, the Mayor - Canadians of so many different ethnic backgrounds and political views. And I say to Vladimir Putin and his agents watching us today: Canada is united, and you will lose.
Our government has done a great job of working with our allies to push back against Vladimir Putin and his invasion. But we need to do much more.
The central and eastern European council in Canada calls on the Canadian government to block Russian state media from polluting Canada‘s airwaves with conspiracies, lies and hate, immediately.
We call on the Canadian government to place sanctions on Putin‘s corrupt oligarchs who are hiding billions of dollars right here in Canada. Many oligarchs have abandoned Putin in the past 12 hours - sanctions work. Use them now to freeze and seize their assets here in Canada.
Most importantly we call on Canada to send additional resources and weapons to help Ukraine defend itself against the barbaric invasion of its sovereignty.