Written by Jeremy Appel

The Department of National Defence won't say for certain that Canada's arms shipments to Ukraine haven't gone towards far-right extremists, including the notorious Azov Regiment, in response to inquiries from The Maple.

This contradicts the government's assertion in March that "the Canadian Armed Forces have never - nor will it ever - provide training or support the Azov Battalion or affiliated entities," adding that it would never support the "glorification of Nazism and all forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, intolerance and extremism.”

The Azov Regiment played a key role in fighting Russian forces during the weeks-long siege of Mariupol, where its forces were confined to the Azovstal steel plant before surrendering to the Russians in May.

With Azov playing an increasingly-prominent role in the fight against Russia's invasion, Canadian media has worked to sanitize the image of an organization it once overwhelmingly referred to as being far-right, according to a joint investigation from The Maple managing editor Alex Cosh and Passage managing editor Davide Mastracci. The Canadian government appears to have changed its tune as well.

"The donations of military aid are being provided exclusively to the Ministry of Defence (MoD) of Ukraine, and these donations are controlled with end users certificates provided by the MoD of Ukraine," a ministry spokesperson told The Maple in response to an Aug. 24 email inquiring whether the Canadian government stands by its prior assertion.

The government's email went on to explain that these certificates "are used to confirm what goods or technology are being exported, to whom, and for what purpose."

All this information was also contained in The Maple's March correspondence with the department, but this time it was missing one thing — an explicit denial that Canadian Forces would provide support to Azov.

Asked again if Canada can confirm it doesn't provide support to Azov, the department said it can't provide "[s]pecific details of End-use Certificates with a foreign nation."

"End-use certificates form a line of defence against the diversion of authorized small arms transfers," the spokesperson added.

Meanwhile, Canada is sitting out NATO talks on how to avoid arms shipped to Ukraine winding up on the black market, as David Pugliese at the Ottawa Citizen reported.

"Multiple defence sources tell this newspaper Canada has no idea about the whereabouts of the equipment it has provided to Ukraine as it does not actively monitor the distribution of the gear," Pugliese wrote.

These sources added that "without a tracking system in place and monitoring on the ground, there is no way to verify Ukraine’s claims," even with end-use certificates.

Kesley Gallagher of disarmament advocacy group Project Ploughshares told The Maple it is "unclear why" Canada won't participate in these discussions with its NATO partners:

“Canadian officials should be undertaking post-shipment verification measures to determine the end-use of these weapons. Stopping the diversion of arms is a central aim of Canada’s arms control obligations, and therefore, Canada should be doing everything in its power to ensure its weapons exports are not rerouted to unauthorized end-users or end-uses.”

Trudeau defends CSIS after U.K. author claims agency informant smuggled girls into Syria

As reported by CBC News:

A new book by U.K.-based writer Richard Kerbaj — The Secret History of the Five Eyes — is set to be published on Thursday. It claims that an informant for the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service (CSIS) smuggled Shamima Begum, 15 at the time, and her school friends Kadiza Sultana and Amira Abase — 16 and 15 at the time — into northern Syria, and that the informant told his Canadian handlers.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's response:

"The fight against terrorism requires our intelligence services to continue to be flexible and to be creative in their approaches ... But every step of the way they are bound by strict rules, by principles and values that Canadians hold dear, including around the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and we expect that those rules be followed."

Read the full article here.

NDP Puts Forward 13-Point Plan for Justice in Israel-Palestine

From The Maple

In response to inquiries from party supporters, NDP leader Jagmeet Singh has put forward 13 specific demands to the federal government for a more human rights-oriented approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

"The Liberal government’s record on this issue is more than disappointing: it flies in the face of their claim to stand up for human rights and international law," Singh said in an email to supporters, where he laid out the NDP's calls to action.

There can be no peace in Israel and Palestine until Israel ends its 55-year "illegal occupation" of Palestinian territory, the email notes.

Read the full story.

14.8 per cent

Data of the day from Nanos: 14.8 per cent of Canadians consider healthcare to be the number one issue of national concern, according to a Nanos poll conducted the week of Aug. 19-26.

Other News

  • Canada is providing just $5 million in support to Pakistan after a “monsoon on steroids” driven by climate change that killed over 1,100 people in the country, Canada's National Observer reports.
  • The federal government's luxury goods tax came into effect on Sept. 1, targeting luxury cars, private jets and yachts, CTV News reports.
  • Health Canada has approved an updated version of Moderna Inc.’s COVID-19 vaccine that specifically targets the Omicron variant, making it the first “bivalent” COVID-19 vaccine cleared for use in this country, the Globe and Mail reports.
  • The Alberta Labour Relations Board has decided that workers in Fort McMurray, Alta., who banded together to try to pressure their employer for higher pay and more time off, are engaging in an illegal strike and therefore must stop collectively refusing voluntary overtime, CBC News reports.