Anti-Russian petitions in Canada did not lead to any actions

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The Canadian Government stands on the position that it has been doing enough to pressure Russia for the country’s actions in Ukraine and beyond

On March 18, 2019, an e-petition, sponsored by the NDP MP Linda Duncan and calling upon the Government of Canada to demand the release of Ukrainian political prisoners detained in Russia and to employ sanctions against Russian authorities responsible for their imprisonment, received a response from the Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland.

In her reply, Chrystia Freeland reconfirmed Canada’s official stand on the issue of Crimea, Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and Ukrainian political prisoners in Russia. Further on, she basically repeats what has already been done by Canada in these regards, including condemning Russian aggression against Ukraine, vocalizing human rights violations in Crimea, calling for the release of all political prisoners held by Russia and imposing economic sanctions against a number of Russian and Ukrainian individuals and entities. The Minister concludes that Canada will continue to put pressure on Russia both unilaterally and together with its international allies as well as intergovernmental organizations until the situation with Crimea and Eastern Ukraine is resolved.

Similar responses from the Canadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on his recent e-petitions got another MP, James Bezan, who had been previously banned from Russia because of Canadian sanctions applied to Russia over Ukraine. The response on his petition, calling the government to declare the Russian President Vladimir Putin a war criminal and refer him to the International Criminal Tribunal in The Hague, was tabled on January 28, 2019. In the text, Chrystia Freeland simply listed Canada’s actions against Russia in response to the country’s involvement in the military conflict in Georgia, Crimea’s annexation, Donbass invasion, bombings in Syria, MH-17 crash, etc. But the main demand of the petition stayed without an answer. Bezan’s earlier e-petition, calling upon the Government of Canada to investigate actions of certain organizations of Russian diaspora and individuals collaborating with Russian secret services as well as to expend Magnitsky Law preventing family members of those officials who fall under it to seek shelter in Canada, was referred to the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship and the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness by the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

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