In times of uncertainty, the G7 has proven what we can accomplish when we come together to address the world’s great challenges. Those are the very words I used to open last year’s article, and today, they are only more relevant.
Over the past few years, our strength and unity to fight for what is right have never been more apparent, and more necessary. Last year, we came together to protect our people from the COVID-19 pandemic and to support them through the resulting global recession. This year, we have come together to stand in solidarity with the people of Ukraine. We stand united against Vladimir Putin’s criminal invasion – a blatant disregard for international law and a direct threat to peace, justice and the stability of the world.
The very fabric of the rules-based international system is at risk. This fabric, woven together from the threads left hanging after the Second World War, has connected our countries and united us in the defence of our people, their dignity and their inalienable rights. For almost 80 years, this fabric has held strong, and we cannot let it unravel now.
The G7 has taken unprecedented action to hold Russia accountable for its war of choice. Our sweeping sanctions, alongside efforts to isolate Russia diplomatically, are squarely aimed at Putin and his accomplices. Since Russia’s invasion, Canada has sanctioned more than 1,000 individuals and entities, including prohibiting transactions with the Central Bank of Russia, banning imports of Russian oil, blocking Russia’s access to Canadian airspace and ports, placing export controls on key sectors, and providing extensive financial support to military and humanitarian efforts. The collective G7 response has been, and will continue to be, unequivocal.
Russia’s unthinkable actions have a tragic human cost. We have watched in horror as innocent lives have been taken and millions of Ukrainians have been forced to flee their homes and communities. The G7 and other partners are working closely together to help Ukrainians displaced by this war find safe haven, deliver urgently needed humanitarian aid including food and medicine, and quickly find solutions as the fear of famine in many parts of the world grows.
The stakes of this conflict are a battle between democracy and dictatorship, and we cannot be silent in the face of Russia’s lies. Russia’s global disinformation campaign to try to demoralise Ukrainians, divide allies and garner support for this illegal invasion will fail. Canada is leading the international charge not only to counter Russian disinformation, but also to continue to defend democracy from all forms of authoritarianism.
At the same time, the G7 must continue to come together to tackle the many other pressing global challenges that threaten our health and well-being. We continue to help global vaccination efforts to end the pandemic everywhere. For the past two years, Canada has immediately funded our share of the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator to provide – and also deliver – vaccines into the arms of those who need them most. We continue to encourage others to do the same.
Even amid the pandemic and an existential threat to democracy around the world, we have not lost sight of the fight to ensure our kids have a safe planet on which to live and grow. The G7 continues to work closely together to cut pollution, including by recommitting to limiting warming to 1.5°C to avoid the most catastrophic effects of the climate crisis and working to provide $100 billion per year to help countries adapt to its impacts. Canada is also driving access to the critical minerals needed to power the clean energy economy and calling for a global price on carbon pollution, which is cutting pollution and making life more affordable here at home.
As we look ahead to the Elmau Summit, G7 leadership and unity have never been more evident. We will meet this moment. We will ensure that the decision to invade a sovereign, independent country is understood to be a strategic failure that carries with it ruinous costs. We will end the pandemic and ensure a strong economic recovery. We will ensure our kids have a safe place to live. We are up to the task.