Tens of thousands of military rockets are slated for disposal in Canada, and the federal Conservatives have proposed donating them to Ukraine.
On February 2, Tory leader Pierre Poilievre urged Parliament to give away its stockpile of 83,303 CRV7 rockets, a decades-old armament decommissioned twenty years ago, to Ukraine in its war effort against Russia.
The feds agreed to dispose of the rockets three years ago, at the expense of taxpayers — a move Poilievre opposes.
"Instead of making Canadians pay millions of dollars to decommission these weapons," he said, the weapons should be given "to Ukraine who can use them in the defence of sovereignty."
The Cold War weapon, which can be fired from fixed-wing warplanes and attack helicopters, was commonly used during the Afghan war by allied nations.
The Department of National Defence (DND) said they're considering the CRV7 rockets as part of future military aid packages. However, not all of them have warheads, said a DND official.
"Before sending equipment to Ukraine, we coordinate closely with Ukraine to ensure that any donation would meet its military needs, and we examine the operational effectiveness of the equipment," said Defence spokesperson Daniel Minden in a media statement.
As many as 8,000 rockets may still be armed with warheads in good condition, reported CBC News. The remainder would be scrapped for spare parts.
"We are following this same process for the CAF's stock of CRV7 rockets, purchased decades ago,” clarified Minden. “In particular, we are pursuing testing to ensure that this equipment is operationally effective and safe to transport to Ukraine before any potential donation."
During a January 1 phone call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau renewed Canada's unwavering support for the war-torn nation's counter-offensive against Russia.
"I am grateful to Prime Minister Trudeau for his willingness to assist us in protecting the Ukrainian sky, particularly by providing additional NASAMS [National Advanced Surface to Air Missile] systems and missiles," said Zelenskyy at the time. A NASAMS is a short- to medium-range ground-based air defence system that protects against drone, missile and aircraft attacks.
Canada purchased a $406 million surface-to-air missile system from the U.S. for Ukraine in January 2023 with associated munitions to deter Russian aggression. The system has reportedly still not arrived in Ukraine.
"As Russia's invasion of Ukraine enters its second winter, Ukrainians can count on Canada's support — for as long as it takes," Trudeau posted on X, formerly Twitter.
According to Budget 2023, loans, grants and military aid to Ukrainians totalled $5.4 billion with "an additional loan of $2.4 billion for 2023."
Last April, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland pledged ongoing aid to the war-torn country until it "wins the war." Canada has given Ukraine nearly $9 billion in aid since the beginning of 2022. "We will be there until Ukraine wins the war," she earlier told reporters.
Cabinet also proposed an additional $200 million in military aid and $84.8 million in civilian assistance to pay Ukrainian pensions and deliver essential services to the country. In July, Trudeau announced $541 million in new funding and projects "to provide long-term, multi-year commitments" to Ukraine's security.
"It’s one thing to promise the money," said Freeland on August 25, 2022. "It’s another thing for that money to hit Ukrainian bank accounts."
"You don’t need to trust me about this," she added.
Zelenskyy thanked Canada "for the reassurance" they will continue to provide Ukraine with "military and financial assistance."
However, an internal Department of Finance poll published by Blacklock’s Reporter showed that fewer than a third (32%) of Canadians support more financial aid for Ukraine. Only 36% of Canadians oppose ongoing help, whereas 33% have no opinion.
"I know all Canadians are inspired by the [courageous] people of Ukraine," said Freeland, who did not reference the Research On The State Of The Economy poll in her remarks at the time.