Canada is the first country to ratify Finland and Sweden's accession to join NATO
Canada became the first country to ratify Finland and Sweden's accession protocols to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Tuesday.
The move follows NATO leaders officially inviting the two nations to join the alliance during a summit in Madrid last week, and brings the two countries a step closer to becoming full NATO members.
"Canada has full confidence in Finland and Sweden's ability to integrate quickly and effectively into NATO and contribute to the Alliance’s collective defence," Trudeau said in a statement.
- Complete coverage of the war in Ukraine
- 'Hell on earth': Ukrainian soldiers describe life on eastern front
- WATCH: Canada Day stabbing victim a Ukrainian refugee
"Their membership will make NATO stronger and we call on all NATO members to move swiftly to complete their ratification processes to limit opportunities for interference by adversaries."
According to The Associated Press, all 30 NATO allies signed off on the accession protocols on Tuesday, sending the membership bids to each nation for legislative approval. Both Canada and Denmark were quick to turn around their ratification documents.
"Thank You Canada! Canada is the first country to deliver its instrument of ratification to the United States Department of State, the depository of the North Atlantic Treaty!" tweeted Sweden's Ambassador to Canada Urban Ahlin.
In Canada, the federal government made moves domestically to move through the ratification quickly, Trudeau said. This included issuing orders-in-council authorizing Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly to "take the actions necessary to ratify, on behalf of Canada."
Ahead of Parliament adjourning for the summer, the House of Commons debated and voted on a motion signalling their support for Finland and Sweden joining NATO.
In May, the House Public Safety and National Security Committee adopted a motion expressing "strong support" for the two Scandanavian countries’ membership in the alliance. The motion also called on all NATO members to approve their applications as quickly as possible.
A debate was held on this motion on June 1, and it passed unanimously when put to a vote the following day.
"Russia's war in Ukraine has actualized something that was once only theoretical. An authoritarian state led by an autocrat has attacked a democracy: It has demonstrated that it is willing and able to attack a democracy. It has made clear that democracies that stand alone and are not part of military alliances are most vulnerable," said Conservative MP and foreign affairs critic Michael Chong during the House debate. "That is why it has become necessary to bring both Sweden and Finland into the NATO alliance. This is an urgent matter."
Also taking part in the debate, NDP MP and foreign affairs critic Heather McPherson said she supports Finland and Sweden doing all they can to prevent their countries from being threatened further by Russia.
"Prior to the further invasion of Ukraine, support for NATO membership was around 20 to 30 per cent in Sweden and Finland. Now, 76 per cent of Finnish people support joining NATO. Very simply, Vladimir Putin and the aggression of the Russian Federation are responsible for escalating tensions in the region and leading Sweden and Finland to seek NATO membership," McPherson said.
With NATO member countries having different processes for completing ratification, it could be some time still before the two nations formally become a part of the longstanding intergovernmental military alliance.
With files from Senior Political Correspondent for CTV News Channel Mike Le Couteur