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Nick Krawetz

Ukrainian tourists to Canada should not need a visa

In 1891, the first Ukrainian immigrants began arriving in Canada. Yet 125 years later, business travellers and tourists from Ukraine are still required to receive a temporary resident visa for short-term travel to Canada. The visa application process can be onerous and burdensome, and often frustrates individuals when they decide to visit our country. Even though the federal government continues to initial free trade agreements and spend millions to promote foreign investment and tourism, it simultaneously maintains cumbersome visa requirements that deter tourists and business people from visiting our country and spending money in our economy. Canadians should ask, how much do restrictive visa policies cost Canada on an annual basis in lost economic output and revenues? How many jobs could have been added to the already 1.7 million in Canadian tourist industries? Since Canada and Ukraine signed a Free Trade Agreement (CUFTA) in July 2015, the Canada-Ukraine bilateral relationship may now be potentially set to generate significant commercial benefits for both Canadian and Ukrainian businesses. In fact, Chrystia Freeland, Canada’s new Minister of International Trade, has been tasked in her Ministerial Mandate Letter to fully implement and potentially expand CUFTA. CUFTA’s implementation, however, will be undermined so long as temporary resident visa restrictions remain in place for Ukrainian citizens; these restrictions counterproductively serve as a barrier to greater economic development and job creation here in Canada and in Ukraine. Therefore, in order to facilitate economic growth and encourage the full realization of CUFTA’s potential, Canada should abolish temporary resident visa requirements for Ukrainian citizens for short-term travel. As the literature and statistics regarding visa liberalization suggests, such reform would assuredly be a net positive for Canada. In regard to security issues, Ukraine recently introduced biometric passports, which include advanced security features that meet (and in some cases even exceed)… Read More

The Shadows of Bucharest

As Russian officials repeatedly contradict themselves and intentionally deny easily verifiable facts, Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine demonstrates Putin is grasping at straws and improvising on the fly. If this pattern of behaviour continues, disastrous ramifications for European order and stability may be felt. Not to mention, global nuclear non-proliferation efforts may also become jeopardized due to Russia’s occupation of Ukrainian soil while blatantly violating the terms enshrined in the 1994 Budapest Memorandum. Economically, the Russian market has weakened as confidence (foreign investment) and predictability (risk of capital flight) have been severely undermined by government policies. The rouble and Russian stocks have been tumbling for quite some time, a trend that is being further exacerbated by Russia’s current acts of aggression against Ukraine. In fact, the Russian economy has already slipped into recession despite high energy prices. This should be extremely worrisome and cause for concern, particularly for ordinary Russians, who will have to live with the costs and consequences stemming from the Kremlin’s hardened policies. Meanwhile, Russia’s actions in Georgia and manoeuvres in Crimea are challenging the foundations of European security architecture (e.g., 1975 Helsinki Final Act, 1990 Charter of Paris, 1999 Charter for European Security). In both cases, local history, dynamics, disputes, and grievances have been manipulated in order to transform Georgia and Ukraine into pawns in a broader geopolitical struggle between Russia and Euro-Atlantic structures. From Russia’s perspective, their claim to a sphere of influence has been threatened as the European security system has facilitated both EU and NATO enlargement. Interestingly, in a 2010 article by Richard Whitman and Stefan Wolff the existence of different EU member-state preferences regarding how to deal with Russia was highlighted. Whitman and Wolf argued “the EU remains fundamentally divided between a more Russia-friendly camp (composed of those, like France and Germany,… Read More

If Crimea is already lost, who is next?

Imagine visiting or living in Montreal, a Canadian city rich in history, culture, and diversity. While enjoying the many shops and restaurants, imagine next, to your disbelief, you see a column of French armoured personnel carriers rolling down Sainte-Catherine Street. Suddenly, you pull out your smartphone to find it has lost its signal due to mobile phone and Internet services being cut. To figure out what is happening, you approach a person on the street and the person replies by saying they have heard French destroyers are sailing down the St. Lawrence River. The person also tells you that a French ship has been intentionally scuttled in the waterway in order to control entry and exit. When you get home, you turn on the television to learn CFB Montreal has been surrounded and tense standoffs between Canadian and French soldiers are continuing. Additionally, images are being broadcasted of people wearing ski masks that are standing atop of the National Assembly in Quebec City while lowering the Canadian flag and raising the flag of France in its place. The nightly news also mentions that French government officials have justified their actions by claiming that French-speaking people living in Montreal are being persecuted and that their lives are in grave danger. In addition, a referendum to secede from Canada has been announced by Montreal’s municipal government after its buildings were stormed and occupied. What would you do? What would Canadians living across the country think after learning about what is transpiring? Equally important, how would the federal government and Canada’s allies respond to these acts of French aggression? Would they be able to show restraint or would trigger-happy fingers, perhaps accidentally, slip causing the situation to further escalate and spiral out of control? The above scenario regarding France invading Canada is of… Read More