WINNIPEG — Selkirk-Interlake MP James Bezan is one of 13 Canadians barred from travelling to Russia in the latest tit-for-tat between the two countries.
“I think all of us feel this is a badge of honour,” said Bezan. “Whatever Russia’s trying to do here isn’t going to silence their critics. All of us are still very outspoken as to their illegal actions in Crimea.”
The travel ban comes as an emergency meeting of G7 leaders was held at the Hague, Netherlands. Russia was noticeably absent and becomes more isolated internationally with each passing day as the country faces pressure after it annexed Crimea, which was part of Ukraine.
Sanctions and travel bans on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s closest allies have had little to no effect. Now there’s growing pressure to take the unprecedented step of expelling Russia from the G8.
“A large part of the world community is simply never going to accept this,” said Prime Minister Stephen Harper. “Because this is a precedent that is just too dangerous for global peace and security.”
One Winnipeg Ukrainian activist says expelling Russia from the G8 is not enough — even stronger measures need to be taken.
“I would say it’s a necessary move but not sufficient,” said Nick Krawetz, a community organizer and Ukrainian activist. “Certainly more can be done in terms of economic sanctions, diplomatic sanctions.”
G7 leaders are toying with the idea of deeper economic sanctions but have for now essentially killed a G8 meeting in Sochi this June, instead holding it in Brussels without Russia.