Canada`s Prime Minister Stephen Harper was the first G7 leader to visit the interim Ukrainian president as reported in politisite on March 23. Harper is a strong proponent for removing Russia and Putin from the G7. In a tit for tat response to sanctions imposed by Canada, Putin imposed retaliatory sanctions, banning 13 Canadian officials.
Among those banned are five members of the conservative government, two liberal members of parliament (MP) and one NDP MP. The Russian foreign ministry issued a statement, which said that the sanctions were being imposed “in response to the unacceptable actions of the Canadian side.“
During a press conference in Kiev Prime Minister Stephen Harper said:
“As for the question of Russia’s presence in the G8, that’ a discussion we’re going to have with our [G7] colleagues. I don’t think it’ takes much imagination to figure out what my view is but I will certainly listen to what our partners in the G7 have to say before we arrive at final decisions.”
A spokesperson for Canada`s Foreign Minister John Baird, who is traveling with the prime minister in Europe said, “Canadian officials named today by Russia aren’t oligarchs or threatening to annex parts of peaceful neighbours by military force. We find today’s announcement concerning,”
The Leader of the Official opposition, NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair denounced Russia`s military action in Crimea stating that Canada was right to stand up to Russia.
“This is the most abject breach of international law we’ve seen in a long time and the Russian Federation has to change its tune on this one. If not, the world community will come together and start imposing far more consequential sanctions than what’s been put in to date.”
The G7 is meeting today to discuss the way ahead with Russia. The Washington Post reports that President Obama plans to urge major industrial leaders to indefinitely suspend Russia from the G8. He is expected to push members to more explicitly spell out what additional economic sanctions President Putin will face for his military intervention in Ukraine.
“As long as flagrantly violating international law, and the order the G7 has help built since the end of the Cold War, there is no reason to engage with Russia,” said Ben Rhodes, the deputy national security adviser for strategic communications. “What Russia has done has been a violation of that entire international order built up over many decades.”
Below is a complete list of Canadian banned:
Christine Hogan, foreign affairs and def policy adviser to the PM
Wayne G.Wouters, Clerk of the Privy Council.
Jean-Francois Tremblay, deputy cabinet secretary in the Privy Council Office.
Andrew Sheer, Speaker of the House of Commons
Peter Van Loan, Government House leader
Raynell Andreychuk, Conservative Senator
Dean Allison, MP (CPC)
Paul Dewar, MP (NDP)
Irwin Cotler, MP (LPC)
Ted Quitz, MP (CPC)
Chrystia Freeland, MP (LPC)
James Bezan, MP (CPC)
Paul Grod, president of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress
Whether or not sanction, including travel bans, will do anything to resolve the crisis in the Ukraine remains to be seen. The world watches with anticipation what Putin`s next step will be.
Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger published an article in the Washington Post on March 5, `How the Ukraine crisis ends. In the article he asserts that far too often the Ukraine crisis is depicted as a showdown between East and West. He says that if Ukraine is to survive and thrive, it must not be either side’s outpost against the other — it should function as a bridge between them.
Those appear to be wise words and may be a resolution to the crisis, given the historical ties that exist between Ukraine and Russia. `