Statement from the Honourable Peter Van Loan, MP on Russian Sanctions (5)
Yesterday, I was included on a list of 13 Canadians sanctioned by the Putin regime in Russia. It was a response to our Government’s efforts to stand-up against Russian aggression in Ukraine.
From the beginning of Ukrainian citizens’ efforts to defend their freedom and sovereignty, our government has stood in vocal support. As Russia has escalated efforts against Ukraine, we have called on Putin to respect international law and commitments. Mr. Putin’s escalation and aggression, including a military takeover of Crimea, has forced our Government, in coordination with our partners and allies, to impose economic sanctions and take actions that have further isolated his regime diplomatically.
The sanctions brought against me are trivial when compared to the situation currently faced by the people of Crimea and Ukraine. Russia’s illegal occupation of Crimea not only violates Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, but poses one of the greatest threats to global security and stability in recent memory. Most troubling though, is its violation of the values of freedom, democracy and human rights – values Canadians and so many others have fought for time and again.
Being of Estonian heritage, I can tell you that the last time Russians imposed travel arrangements on members of my family, they were to Siberia and they were one way. My roots and the experience of my family have taught me that democracy and freedom can be easily lost, and must be vigorously defended. It is the driving force behind my becoming involved in politics. It has been one reason why I have been actively engaged in our Government on responding to this issue and Russian aggression. What is at stake here is much greater than the sanctions brought against me and my colleagues yesterday.
I am proud of Prime Minister Harper’s leadership in working with our allies to suspend Russia from the G-8, and to demonstrate a strong united front against Russia’s reckless aggression.
We need to ensure we do not see the same type of Russian violations to human rights and democracy that have occurred in the past. Our Government will continue to stand with our allies and condemn Putin’s military intervention in Ukraine.
Hon. Peter Van Loan, M.P.