South Okanagan-West Kootenay New Democrat Richard Cannings is among a long list of MPs from all parties and other Canadians now banned from entering Russia.
“Russia was just trying to get back at Canada for all of the restrictions Canada has put on Russia and its oligarchs especially,” Cannings says.
“MPs are easy targets, so they drew up a list. Interestingly, it’s not every MP. So the MPs that have been left off the list are the ones who are upset. They’re scratching their heads as to why they’re not on it and are quite disappointed, I think.”
For instance, he notes NDP foreign affairs critic Heather McPherson is not on the list, despite being critical of Russia. Cannings says McPherson visited the Polish-Ukrainian border with Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly a few weeks ago and “was there in the face of the war making statements.”
Cannings says while he’d love to visit Russia one day, he had no plans to travel there. He called Russia’s invasion of Ukraine “an unprovoked, naked act of aggression that really the whole world is against. In standing up for Ukraine, if this is the result, I would certainly wear [the ban] as a badge of honour.”
Cannings says he has not talked to anyone yet for whom the ban might pose an actual hardship. He hopes that it will be a temporary measure and that the war ends quickly so Canada can help Ukraine rebuild and rebuild its relationship with Russia.
“I don’t want to demonize Russians and certainly hope we can get back to friendly relations. But I’m not sure it’s possible while Vladimir Putin is in power.”