- Posted February 2, 2014 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
- PHOTO: Protesters in Ukraine support demonstrators in Venezuela
- VIDEO: Kiev: the opposition is over, but political conflict continues
- Situation in Kiev has deteriorated: more than 25 people were killed
- Why my American colleagues do not understand me when I come to work in such an outfit.
- Canada is ready to host refugees from Ukraine
John BAIRD, Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister about Ukraine: "We have seen the violence escalate"
- zdan, CNN iReport producer
TORONTO, CANADA – 3 FEBRUARY, CNN iReport – The head of the diplomatic agency of Canada has taken a clear tough position about the current realities in Kyiv. Foreign Minister John Baird was among the very first politicians who visited Maidan immediately after November 29, when the government used force against peaceful demonstrators. The Ukrainian officials have assured guests that would not allow any violent clashes to happen again, but as we know now, did not keep that promise.
We interviewed Minister Baird in at private club of Conservative Party «Albany Club» in Toronto, Canada. The Minister was punctual and concise as always. Before the interview I asked the Minister to be as short as possible in order to obtain specific and unambiguous position of Canada's foreign ministry in today’s Ukrainian case.
Andrey VASILIEV, journalist: What is the formal Canadian government position about current situation in Ukraine and acts of official Kiev?
John BAIRD, Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister: I am tremendously concerned about people and violence and the draconian laws which were passed in the resent weeks. Obviously we want to see freedom of expression, freedom of political decent and obviously to see the government work constructively with the opposition leaders
Andrey VASILIEV: Will any Canadian government attitudes be reviewed and changed due to the present complications in Kiev?
John BAIRD: We were watching things on an hour by hour basis. There has been a significant changes in recent days and just accordingly we obviously want to work with European Union, United States, Switzerland to try to affect meaningful change for the better in Kyiv.
Andrey VASILIEV: Is there a difference between what you promised the country's leadership in December, during the time of your visit, and what is happening now?
John BAIRD: We have seen the violence escalate; we have seen the politicalз protest spread to many corners of the country. Things have escalated. We obviously want the government to have a meaningful dialogue with the opposition and to take a different path.
Andrey VASILIEV: If we talk about sanctions, which of them will Canada be ready to apply against Ukrainian officials?
John BAIRD: We do have a capacity to put financial sanctions on individuals who are responsible for antidemocratic trends of violence etc. We obviously work with like-minded friends and allies: European Union, United States, France, Switzerland on that path. Our first priority is to try to get the government to meaningfully engage with the opposition to take a different path.
Andrey VASILIEV: Minister Baird, What about personal sanctions?
John BAIRD: We have not putted sanctions on yet. It would be premature to name. But people would be responsible for violence, people would be responsible for incitement, people would be responsible in our judgment for the crackdown on free and democratic protest.
Andrey VASILIEV: Minister Alexander told us that Canada is prepared to accept refugees from Ukraine within the existing program of immigration and legalization. What other measures can be taken in Canada, if a large number of Ukrainian citizens will turn to you for support and help?
John BAIRD: Obviously Chris Alexander, Immigration minister will work on these issues as he properly should. We appreciate his support and work at putting the visa ban in place against some of those who we believe are responsible for some antidemocratic actions and we will let him take a lead on it.
We have six waves of Ukrainian immigration; all six of them have been instrumental to Canada's success, our growth into a prosperous democracy. Our Immigration minister leads those efforts, we are one of the most open countries in the world, when it comes to immigration and it has been strengths for Canada.
Journalist: Andrey Vasiliev
Producer: Olga Mozkova