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Alberta MPs react to Russian-Ukraine war, sanctions

All but five Alberta MPs on Russia’s blacklist
Battle River-Crowfoot MP Damien Kurek met with fellow Conservative MPs from Alberta — Gerald Soroka from Yellowhead, Martin Shields from Bow River, John Barlow from Foothils, Chris Warkentin from Grande Prairie-Mackenzie — to chat about how to approach the situation faced by farmers in fall, 2019. (File photo/submitted)

In retaliation of sanctions Canada imposed on Russia due to its invasion of Ukraine, the Russian government has now blacklisted over 300 Canadian officials and Members of Parliament.

The sanctions came later the same day after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed Canadian Parliament via Zoom in a special sitting.

Central Alberta MPs Earl Dreeshen, Red Deer-Mountain View; Blaine Calkins, Red Deer-Lacombe; Damien Kurek, Battle River-Crowfoot; and Mike Lake, Edmonton-Wetaskiwin, join most of Canada’s MPs on the sanction list, which can be found on the the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation’s website.

Of the 34 Alberta MPs, the only ones not found on the list as of March 18, were Tom Kmiec, Calgary Shepard; Heather McPherson, Edmonton Strathcona; Michelle Rempel Garner, Calgary Nose Hill; Gerald Soroka, Yellowhead; and Randy Boissonnault, Edmonton Centre.

Battle River-Crowfoot MP Damien Kurek said that he considers the sanction a “badge of honour,” a sentiment being echoed by many MPs across Canada.

“You can be sure these threats won’t stop me from continuing to stand up for what’s right,” said Kurek in a press release. “The people of Ukraine deserve their sovereignty, and Putin and the Russian government need to be held accountable.”

“Conservatives stand with Ukraine, the people of Ukraine, and the over one million Canadians with ties to Ukraine,” said Dreeshen in a recent Facebook post. “We believe that Canada must strengthen our own defences and renew our commitment to the NATO alliance in the face of the threats from Russia.”

“I’ve never travelled to Russia, and wasn’t planning on going anytime soon,” said Calkins. “However, it’s largely symbolic on (Putin’s) part — probably more so to use it as his own domestic misinformation campaign to justify to his people what he is trying to do.

“So, I don’t take any personal problem with it, other than it shows, frankly in my estimation, a leader that has miscalculated what he is doing and is now desperate to accuse everybody around him for the mistakes that he has made,” said Calkins.

“It seems to me that Russia and Putin thought that they would just be able to walk into Ukraine and take over within a matter of days. But the desire for democracy and self determination by the people of Ukraine has shown the world that the resilience of people who are struggling for freedom.”

“This step is a forced measure and was taken in response to the hostile actions of the current Canadian government that has gone beyond the bounds of decency and has tested our patience for too long,” states the Russian foreign ministry’s website.

“Each Russophobic attack, whether it is an act against Russian diplomatic missions, the closing of air space or the de facto breakup of bilateral economic ties by Ottawa to the detriment of Canadian interests, is bound to receive a strong and not necessarily symmetrical rebuff.”

Professor of Enterprise and Economic Geography at Birmingham Business School John Bryson says that Russia and Ukraine are currently trying to negotiate a solution that is agreeable for both nations.

However, Bryson believes there are only two possible outcomes: that Russia will either continue its invasion until a victory through force is achieved or Ukraine will have to accept a negotiated settlement that includes the theft of Ukrainian territory.

“For the Russian President Vladimir Putin, the focus is on hiding the fact that his plan failed as he underestimated the military strength and resolve of the Ukrainian people. He overestimated the capabilities of the Russian military and was somewhat surprised by the co-ordinated response that has emerged over the imposition of sanctions on Russia,” said Bryson.

“Russia’s ongoing illegal and unjustifiable war against Ukraine is not going unpunished,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in a press release. “Canada will continue to stand alongside our European allies and partners to advance our shared commitments to support Ukraine and its people, and defend democracy against authoritarianism everywhere.”

On March 17, the Government of Canada announced additional sanctions against Russia under the Special Economic Measures (Russia) Regulations. These regulations will impose restrictions on 32 entities working in Russia’s defence sector and on five current and former Russian senior officials and associates of the regime.

Trudeau also recently announced further financial and military aid to Ukraine including matching an additional $20 million in donations from Canadians to the Canadian Red Cross, allocating $50 million for humanitarian aid and Investing an additional $117 million to implement Canada’s new immigration measures.

The Conservative Party is calling for even more action, including the immediate ban of Russian oil imports.

“There is no reason that we should be importing Russian oil products, and there is no reason we shouldn’t build the infrastructure to help ensure Europe doesn’t need the help of Russia either,” said Kurek.

- With files from Reeti Meenakshi Rohilla, Black Press Media

The full list of sanctioned Canadians can be found here.

READ MORE: Putin appears at big rally as troops press attack in Ukraine

Emily Jaycox

About the Author: Emily Jaycox

I'm a reporter for Ponoka News and have lived in Ponoka since 2015.
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