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Canada's House of Commons passes new Ukraine free trade deal

by Martin Fornusek February 7, 2024 2:45 PM 2 min read
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky shake hands and hug during their joint press conference in Kyiv, Ukraine, on June 10, 2023. (Alexey Furman/Getty Images)
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The lower chamber of Canada's parliament, the House of Commons, approved the updated free trade agreement with Ukraine on Feb. 6. The bill will now go to the Senate for review.

The deal, backed by the ruling Liberal Party and two other parties, was opposed by the Conservatives.

Conservative Party leader Pierre Poilievre, whose party is leading in the polls ahead of the 2025 elections, said he did not support the bill because it would force Ukraine to adopt a carbon tax.

The bill does not include such an obligation but says that the two countries should "promote" carbon pricing and mitigation. Ukraine has a carbon tax in place since 2011.

The Conservative leader insists his party supports Kyiv, as well as free trade with Ukraine. Poilievre recently appealed to the government to provide Ukraine with thousands of decommissioned rockets from Canada's military stocks.

"I really think it speaks to how pathologically obsessed Trudeau is with the carbon tax that, while the knife is at the throat of Ukrainians, he would use that to impose his carbon tax ideology on those poor people," Poilievre told reporters last November amid talks on the bill.

In turn, Trudeau accused the Conservatives of abandoning Ukraine, saying that Poilievre is "choosing to not stand with Ukraine, not stand with Ukrainians, and not stand with Ukrainian Canadians."

The original free trade agreement between Canada and Ukraine was signed in 2016 and came into effect a year later, removing most of the customs duties on mutual trade.

During President Volodymyr Zelensky's visit to Canada in September 2023, an updated deal was signed between the two parties. The document needs to be ratified by the Canadian parliament before coming into effect.

Zelensky meets Canadian foreign minister in Kyiv
“We discussed continued support for Ukraine, joint steps to implement the Peace Formula, the development of a system of security commitments for Ukraine, and the work of the International coalition for the return of Ukrainian children,” President Volodymyr Zelensky said on the social media platform…

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