Canada lawmakers label Russian actions in Ukraine as genocide
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Canada lawmakers label Russian actions in Ukraine as genocide

Canadian lawmakers Wednesday voted unanimously to adopt a motion labeling Russia’s actions in Ukraine a “genocide.” The declaration was voted upon in the Canadian House of Commons and is non-binding on the Canadian government, but it nevertheless signals that the parliament seeks to hold Russia accountable for its actions.

The motion was first proposed by MP Heather McPherson. While Canada has imposed multiple rounds of economic sanctions against Russia, McPherson told CBC that she hoped the motion would spur the Canadian government to implement stronger sanctions against Russia. Additionally, McPherson hopes the motion will encourage the government to direct more funding towards the International Criminal Court, which is currently investigating alleged Russian war crimes committed in Ukraine.

The motion reads, in part: “There is clear and ample evidence of systematic and massive war crimes and crimes against humanity being committed against the people of Ukraine by the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, directed by President Vladimir Putin and others within the Russian Parliament.”

The motion goes on to refer to the mass atrocities, systematic instances of willful killings and desecration of corpses, forcible transfers of Ukrainian children, torture, and widespread instances of physical harm, mental harm and rape. Because of this, the House of Commons formally voted to recognize Russia’s actions as acts of genocide against the Ukrainian people.

Earlier this month, US President Joe Biden also called Russia’s actions in Ukraine a genocide. Following Biden’s comment, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he thought it was right that more people used the word genocide to describe Russia’s actions. With Wednesday’s motion, the Canadian government formally labels Russia’s actions as a genocide.