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City of New Westminster stands with Ukraine

Blue and yellow lights to light up New West city hall until at least March 18
City hall1
New Westminster city hall will continue to light up in blue until at least March 18.

The City of New Westminster wants to support the local Ukrainian community and people who may flee Ukraine.

At Monday’s meeting, council passed a multifaceted motion, which includes expressing its support for all residents with connections to Ukraine and voicing its opposition to the war and its support for peace.

Coun. Jaimie McEvoy’s motion also called on the city to continue to light up New Westminster city hall in yellow and blue until at least March 18 and to display the flag of Ukraine. The motion also states the city recognizes the pain of citizens from Russia who may be affected by this war and for those young Russians who have died in Putin’s war.

In the motion approved unanimously by council, the City of New Westminster will call upon the federal government to expedite immigration refugee processing for all those fleeing the war. In keeping with international sanctions, the motion states the city will boycott products from the Russian federation.

Other aspects of the motion aim to help support refugees when they arrive in the community and to encourage local citizens to donate to humanitarian appeals related to Ukraine.

McEvoy said his dad’s grandfather once left the Ukraine because of a rise in militarism and a rise in nationalism.

“As a minority ethnic population within that area, life became unbearable and people had to leave,” he said. “It’s difficult to see history repeating itself in an even more brutal way and that same rise of militarism and nationalism.”

McEvoy said his motion was put together after discussions with various individuals and organizations, including the Holy Eucharist Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral.

“There is a small group formed,and there will be a vigil of some type. Currently though, people are really dealing with trying to support people in Ukraine,” he said. “There will be a vigil and it will be announced; the details are still forthcoming.”

According to McEvoy, Holy Eucharist Cathedral is putting together a database of people who may potentially arrive as refugees or will be in need of assistance. When that happens, he said details will be released on how the public can assist.

“I think we have all been affected by the world events that have been occurring. Obviously our hearts go out to the people of Ukraine. We also know that we do have people of Ukrainian descent that live here in the city of New Westminster, and  many of those folks still have family back in Ukraine, so this is a very difficult time for those members of our community,” said Mayor Jonathan Cote. “Hopefully our motion can allow us to see what we can do as a city to help support that local community. We also know that there will likely be refugees that might end up coming to New Westminster from the Ukraine region, and we obviously as a community want to be welcoming and support any that might be coming in this situation.”

Follow Theresa McManus on Twitter @TheresaMcManus

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