Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Thursday March 3, 2022
Conservative leadership contender Poilievre calls Europe’s response to Putin’s aggression ‘weak’
Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre — the only declared candidate for the party’s leadership — is slamming Europe’s response to the Russo-Ukrainian conflict, saying in a social media post that the continent’s leaders have been “weak” in the face of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s aggression.
Poilievre, who announced his candidacy only days after former leader Erin O’Toole was ousted by his caucus colleagues, said Europe has “cowered” to a “thug” like Putin because its countries are concerned about the flow of crucial energy supplies like oil and gas. He added that Europe’s response in the lead-up to this “tyrant’s invasion” of a sovereign country has been “shocking.”
“While some countries have stepped up to the plate, major European players are sitting on the sidelines asking Russia nicely to stop the war,” Poilievre said in a video posted late Monday.
“The countries that have been weakest on Russia’s aggression are the ones that rely on Russian energy to heat their homes, drive their cars and power their economies.”
Poilievre said unnamed European powers could have done more to prevent a Russian invasion of Ukraine by imposing the sanctions that are now in place well before Putin’s troops charged for the border.
“The international community could have long ago crippled Russia’s ability to do banking and fund war by cutting it off from the all-important SWIFT messaging system,” Poilievre said, referring to the system that connects the world’s banks. “As always, petroleum is driving geopolitics.”
Poilievre did not explicitly name any of the European countries he said deserve criticism.
The Ottawa-area MP said Canada should sell more of its natural resources to Europe to lessen the continent’s dependence on Russian fossil fuels.
“Canada has what Europe needs and lots of it,” he said, calling for the development of liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminals on the east and west coasts.
Germany, which has the European Union’s biggest trade flows with Russia, does receive a significant portion of its natural gas supply from Russia — and it was poised to get even more before Putin’s army advanced on Ukraine. (CBC)