File photo

File photo

Calkins’ ban from Russia ‘a badge of honour’

The Red Deer-Lacombe riding MP Blaine Calkins is one of 313 Canadians banned from entering Russia among other sanctions for condemning Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

The ‘blacklist’ was published March 15 in a retaliatory move by the Russian government, the same day Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed Canadian Parliament via Zoom in a special sitting.

Having never travelled to Russia, and with no plans to visit, the sanction is of no concern to Calkins.

“I’ll wear it as a badge of honour,” said Calkins. “I can only assume that this is the typical approach Putin takes to try and intimidate, or to isolate anyone that he disagrees with,” he added.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly, Defence Minister Anita Anand and just about every Ukrainian Canadian leader and MP are included on the list. Elizabeth May and Jagmeet Singh are among other political leaders included.

“There are rare moments where everybody in the house of commons comes together to support a common cause and what makes me feel somewhat heartened through all of this mess is that all parliamentarians in Ottawa are standing squarely behind Ukraine.”

Just eight years after the Maidan Revolution where Ukrainians ousted the last “puppet” government, Calkins is saddened to yet again watch the nation be forced to go to war causing needless deaths and destruction.

“When Moscow had their puppet government in Ukraine, it destroyed and weakened the military, financial institutions, the judiciary, and almost all the institutions,” said Calkins, adding, “I feel horrible, not only for the people of Ukraine but also for the young people of Russia who are in the military, being asked to do this heinous thing of attacking their neighbouring country.”

Calkins sees inspiration in the Ukrainian response and resilience to the war.