The response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been a strong one with many Canadians.
People have rallied across the country condemning these horrific acts, and it was no different at tonight’s (Monday) Prince George City Council meeting.
Father Andrii Chornenkyii of the Ukrainian St George’s Catholic Church in PG spoke at the meeting.
“It’s not just a war between two armies. It’s truly trying to be a genocide of my country. Because not only are soldiers being killed on both sides, but Russian soldiers today are killing innocent people.”
Chornenkyii used the platform to ask for anyone, in anyway, to help support Ukraine.
After he spoke, council went around the room, looking for anyone who wanted to comment on the topic.
Councillor Garth Frizzell recalled his time working on economic development with municipal leaders and community members in Ukraine.
“These cities that we worked with in Ukraine had a hunger for democracy. They wanted this. In all the different communities we went to, we saw the things we talk about on a day to day basis: local budget transparency, communications strategies, participatory budgeting. We saw change over the ten years.”
He said there were many projects being developed in the communities he visited to better their society.
“These projects as I left, and the project wrapped up, were going strong. And right now, thinking back to those people I met, and what they are doing tonight, is really hard. So with that in mind, we grasp for how we can be helpful, how we can make a difference.”
Frizzell said more needed to be done, and put forth a motion to take $1,000 from the Council contingency, and donate it to the International Committee for the Red Cross and their humanitarian appeal, which also is being matched by the Government of Canada.
He also put forth a motion to stop Russian service providers from bidding on city projects.
Both motions passed immediately, but council wasn’t done.
Councillors Cori Ramsay and Kyle Sampson both took the opportunity to ask anyone who was able to consider donating as well.
Councillor Frank Everitt said he grew up near a Ukrainian settlement, and he learned a lot from them, and that seeing the current crisis was hard.
Councillor Susan Scott said she was grieving, not just for the people who are experiencing these horrible atrocities, but also for the Canadian Russian community who could be impacted by extension.
Councillor Terri McConnachie said she couldn’t imagine having to put her family through the situation many Ukrainians are currently going through.
“Father, I don’t pray very often, so maybe when I do, for you, and for your people, maybe he’ll listen and go hey, I haven’t heard from her in a while, it must be something important. I don’t know, I’m going to give it a shot.”
Councillor Brian Skakun said the footage being shown on the news right now is very alarming.
“To see images of kids dying, and parents holding their dead children in the Ukraine is just so, so tragic. We’re suck a long ways away, but really our hearts are with you, and with the Ukrainian people.”
Skakun also put forth a motion to strongly endorse and urge the World Curling Federation to remove and bar Russian curling federation entries from all World Curling Federation events.
That motion also passed.
“For all the other teams that are coming to Prince George in a couple years, I think it’s going to take a fair bit of political pressure off of them to boycott the games, boycott playing Russia. They can come here, and focus on curling, and not have to worry about that. I think this is the cleanest way to do it,” added Skakun.
Mayor Lyn Hall also reminded everyone that the Ukrainian flag would be raised at City Hall tomorrow at 10:30am.
City Council also passed the washroom upgrades for the Carrie Jane Gray Park that will now cost $760,000 by a 5-3 vote, Councillor Kyle Sampson put out a formal apology on his comments regarding crime in Prince George, and Copilot Cannabis’s rezoning application passed the final reading.