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Ukraine situation reminds Canadians about freedom

What each of us can do as part of this existential battle for freedom that lies in a very real way on the doorstep of Ukraine...

ukraine, map
Ukraine is situated between Russia and the free nations of the west.

Thursday January 27, 2022 | VANCOUVER ISLAND, BC

Editorial by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends

Canada is providing support to Ukraine in the face of what appears like a build-up of aggression by Russia against that eastern European country.

Yes, this is big picture stuff. National and international, global. So why the local concern here on Vancouver Island? Because the impacts and ramifications could significantly impact each and all of us across Canada. So here are some thoughts.

Let’s start with notes from Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland’s statement as posted on Twitter yesterday, regarding the world that Canadians fought for, notably in WWI & WWI. She wrote: “That order is today facing its most serious challenge since it was first established”.

twitter, freeland, ukraine
Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland’s statement on Canada’s support for Ukraine. [Jan 26, 2022 – Twitter]

And she explains: “Ukraine is on the front lines of that struggle and that is why Canada is standing with Ukraine.”

This apparent aggression on the part of Russia comes on the recent trail of their annexation (take-over) of Crimea on the southern portion of Ukraine in 2014. They just claimed it, with threat of force. And they got away with it.

“The world’s dictators are watching today to see if our alliance of democracies has the will and the capacity to stand up for the rules-based international order. We must — and we will — show them that we understand the gravity of this challenge and that we will rise to it,” wrote Freeland on January 26.

The Canadian approach:

Canada has made a surgically-precise move to provide support to Ukraine (such as non-combat equipment, surveillance and communications supports, and training for local soldiers) as part of our country’s belief that diplomacy is the answer to conflict, not violence or war.

As Canadians we can be proud of that, despite criticisms and a call to perhaps be more realistic and supportive with urgency for Ukrainians on the front line.

Moving the marker of peace forward, that’s what Canada’s approach is. It’s not easy.

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Freedom in Canada:

The freedoms we enjoy in Canada are many, and in many ways profound. We can walk down a street or a beach simply to enjoy the view. We can choose a career direction, to become continually educated and informed, we value freedom of speech and have the right to choose not only what we will say but who we will listen to. We have increasingly powerful freedoms regarding gender and race. We’re catching up in issues of sexuality. We still have a ways to go regarding the treatment of women in society, but the discussion is happening.

The war veterans we remember once a year on Remembrance Day (November 11) fought with their lives. If they didn’t die in war they brought home memories and trauma. Most of them we see keep most of it to themselves. It’s a lot to bear. They fought so we could live in freedom.

What we can do:

Let’s continue to appreciate the very privileged lifestyle we have as Canadians — even though among us many still struggle financially, socially or spiritually. We have choice, we have room to speak up, to move, to share, to express, to breathe.

map, ukraine, north sea
Map showing the position of Ukraine with respect to Europe and the north sea areas.

What each of us can do as part of this existential battle for freedom that lies in a very real way on the doorstep of Ukraine, is to understand what the NATO alliance is doing, to stay on top of truthful reports in the news, and to make cautious choices in what we say.

In Canada we should not be forgetting the very real potential of threat of invasion along our northern national coast, as we focus on Ukraine and the potential spillover of on-the-ground threats into Europe. Paying attention to this is something each of us can do.


Winston Churchill
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill was a British statesman, army officer, and writer. He was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1940 to 1945, when he led the country to victory in the Second World War, and again from 1951 to 1955. He is known for his powerful oratory and was a runner-up for Time Magazine’s Person of the 20th Century, for his ability to motivate the allied nations through WWII.

Especially as today is International Holocaust Remembrance Day (see BC Premier’s statement), let’s not forget what many millions of people — some still alive today (including parents and grandparents who fought during the war or suffered its consequences through a generation of family trauma), fought to protect.

That then-Prime Minister Winston Churchill was the runner-up as TIME Magazine’s Person of the Century in the year 2000 for his leadership of the Allies in World War II, is a clear indication of how important it was to fight for liberty and freedom. Only Albert Einstein — for his genius with science and his humanitarian views, won out over freedom, chosen as Person of the Century. It’s hard to say which was more important.


None of us wants to think about war. But we wouldn’t see major nations rallying forces — including the United States of America, Germany and France — if there wasn’t some sort of real or imminent threat. With a calm, attentive approach we must all stand on guard.

map, ukraine, crimea
Map showing the Crimea area of Ukraine that Russia (re)-claimed in 2014.
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Mary Brooke, editor, West Shore Voice News
Mary P Brooke, Editor and Publisher, Island Social Trends.

Mary P Brooke, B.Sc., Cert PR, launched a series of publications starting in 2008: MapleLine Magazine (2008-2010), Sooke Voice News (2011-2013), West Shore Voice News (2014-2020), and now Island Social Trends (March 2000 to present).

The common thread among these publications is Ms Brooke’s insightful editorials, as well as the journalism that pays attention to socioeconomic forces that impact our daily lives and decisions that reach beyond today.