Green Party of Canada (GPC) leader, Elizabeth May, has been criticized by the lawyer and activist, Dimitri Lascaris, over her stance on the transfer of lethal aid to Ukraine. According to Lascaris, May has abandoned the GPC’s previously stated position of opposing weapons transfers to Ukraine.
In his latest blog post, Lascaris points to three statements issued by the GPC in early 2022, which unambiguously opposed weapons exports to Ukraine. However, since returning to the GPC leadership, May has reportedly reversed this stance, as confirmed at a press conference in January 2023. Despite persistent questioning from a reporter, May did not clearly state whether the GPC supports the delivery of tanks or fighter jets to Ukraine, only that the party supports “defensive” measures.
Lascaris argues that May’s evasiveness and assertion that the GPC’s position has not changed are reminiscent of conventional politics. He also points out that the absence of dissenting voices in Canada’s Parliament over the transfer of weapons to Ukraine should be concerning, especially as a poll conducted after the start of Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine found that nearly 30% of Canadians did not support the delivery of weapons to Ukraine.
Lascaris questions May’s grasp of geopolitical realities, stating that the distinction between “defensive” and “offensive” weapons in the context of the conflict in Ukraine is meaningless. Although May eventually confirmed that the GPC supports “defensive” measures, she did not state whether she considers tanks or fighter jets to be “defensive”. “Presumably, May seeks to confine the GPC’s support to “defensive” weapons because she is concerned (with complete justification) that the transfer of “offensive” weaponry to Ukraine could provoke Russia to escalate the conflict, with potentially catastrophic consequences for humanity. If that is indeed her concern, then the operative question is not whether our side regards a particular weapon as “offensive”, but whether the Russian side regards a particular weapon as “offensive”” wrote Lascaris.
According to Lascaris, it is imperative that the Canadian public has a voice in this critical issue and that their concerns are heard and addressed in Parliament. Lascaris argues that marching in lockstep towards war is not in the national interest nor consistent with democratic principles.