A government official confirmed that the Canadian government is allocating funds for a "gender-inclusive" initiative in Ukraine to clear landmines and explosive devices from the war-affected areas.

Last week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s office announced a significant commitment of $3.02 billion CAD, approximately $2.2 billion USD, in financial and military aid to Ukraine amid ongoing conflict. Among the initiatives outlined in the announcement is the allocation of $4 million CAD, or nearly $3 million USD, for a project titled "Gender-inclusive demining for sustainable futures in Ukraine," led by the HALO Trust.

The project aims to protect the lives and livelihoods of Ukrainians, including women and internally displaced persons, by addressing the threat posed by explosive devices scattered across various regions of the country. Activities under this initiative include conducting surveys to identify hazardous areas and manually clearing explosives in targeted communities. Additionally, the project will provide training to key stakeholders and establish a working group focused on promoting gender-inclusive mine action in Ukraine.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in Kyiv, Ukraine, on June 10, 2023. Image Source : (Maxym Marusenko/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Fox News Digital contacted Trudeau's office for more details about the initiative, which referred them to Global Affairs Canada, the government agency overseeing diplomatic relations. Department spokesperson Charlotte MacLeod stated that Canada is partnering with the humanitarian organization HALO Trust to protect the lives and livelihoods of Ukrainians, especially women and internally displaced persons.

MacLeod elaborated that the project includes non-technical surveys, education on explosive ordnance risks, and clearance efforts, alongside capacity-building for state demining institutions. HALO Trust has also established a dedicated Gender and Diversity Working Group to ensure gender integration throughout their operations in Ukraine, from recruitment to community engagement.

The HALO Trust, a non-governmental organization headquartered in the United Kingdom, specializes in the clearance of landmines and explosives left behind in post-war nations. Established in 1988, the organization garnered global recognition in 1997 when the late Princess Diana ventured through HALO’s minefields in Angola, as documented on the group's website.

According to HALO's website, the act of clearing landmines not only instills confidence by rendering land safe but also fosters empowerment for individuals, regardless of gender. Through training programs and sustainable employment opportunities offering a living wage, both men and women can seize control of their future, shaping their destinies in the process.

The Canadian government's recent pledge to support the HALO Trust and its initiative for "gender-inclusive demining" in Ukraine has sparked a mix of reactions on social media, ranging from confusion to outrage.

Maxime Bernier, leader of the People’s Party of Canada, expressed disbelief, tweeting, "No joke! YOU’RE ALL PAYING TO PROMOTE GENDER-INCLUSIVE DEMINING IN UKRAINE." Meanwhile, psychologist and author Jordan Peterson questioned the rationale behind the initiative, asking Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, "@JustinTrudeau what the hell is this? It isn't even comprehensible. But it's really on the website."

Fox News host Greg Gutfeld mocked the effort on his show "Gutfeld!", labeling it as "peak idiocy." He remarked, "So how do you know when you've reached peak idiocy? When we now need diversity guidelines for clearing landmines." Gutfeld highlighted Canada's $4 million contribution to the project, emphasizing the emphasis on "gender-inclusive" approaches.

In response to the criticism, Department spokesperson Charlotte MacLeod clarified that the initiative aims to align with Canada's commitment to "women, peace and security." MacLeod emphasized the importance of gender equality in mine action, noting HALO's efforts to provide equal job opportunities in all program areas, challenging the traditionally male-dominated sector.

The project aims to unite national and international experts to support HALO and other mine action operators in implementing gender-transformative programs. This initiative reflects Canada's broader goal of ensuring the full involvement of women in conflict resolution, underscoring the country's dedication to sustainable peace.

During his visit to Kyiv on February 24, Prime Minister Trudeau engaged in a bilateral meeting with President Zelenskyy to address the current situation in Ukraine and discuss the country's future needs. The two leaders signed a groundbreaking agreement on security cooperation, marking the establishment of a strategic security partnership between Canada and Ukraine. As a testament to this commitment, Canada pledged to provide $3.02 billion in crucial financial and military assistance to Ukraine in 2024.