Russia Slaps Ban on 13 Canadian Elite, including MPs

In response to Canada’s strict action of restricting Russia’s elite from entring into the country in reaction to Russia’s annexation of Crimea and the destabilization of Ukraine, the Russian government has announced to ban entry of 13 Canadian senior civil servants and politicians. However, the principally symbolic sanctions do not target Prime Minister Stephen Harper or Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird.

Russia has announced the sanctions only few hours before the Group of Seven, including all G8 members except Russia, are expected to suspend Russia from the G8 and cancel a planned summit in Sochi. Although it is anticipated later on Monday, it is not yet officially confirmed by Ottawa. The statement regulated by the Russian Foreign Ministry contains a list of targeted Canadians including a handful of senior servants, a couple of senior ranking Conservatives, three Tory backbenchers and outspoken opposition critics.

The statement explicitly enlists Canada’s top civil servant, Privy Council Clerk Wayne Wouters, House of Commons Speaker Andrew Scheer, Government House Leader Peter Van Loan, senior foreign affairs adviser Christine Hogan and deputy secretary to the cabinet Jean-Francois Tremblay. Moreover, the list issued by Russia also names Liberal MPs Chrystia Freeland and Irwin Cotler, Senator Raynell Andreychuk, NDP MP Paul Dewar, Conservative MPs Dean Allison, Ted Opitz and James Bezan and the head of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress Paul Grod. In response to the sanctions Mr. Cotler, a former federal justice minister and human-rights lawyer, mentioned on Twitter that “I see my travel ban from Russia as a badge of honour, not a mark of exclusion.”

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