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Russian ‘black list’ of Canadian MPs found lacking

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Some Manitoba MPs are scratching their heads after being left off a black list that bars most of those sitting in the House of Commons from entering Russia.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 16/03/2022 (322 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Some Manitoba MPs are scratching their heads after being left off a black list that bars most of those sitting in the House of Commons from entering Russia.

Niki Ashton, Raquel Dancho and Leah Gazan were among the 45 MPs who can still enter Russia, which had banned their other 293 colleagues, as of Tuesday.

Russia’s foreign ministry published what it called a “black list” of 313 names just as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed Parliament.

MIKE SUDOMA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES MP Leah Gazan, who represents Winnipeg Centre, faced criticism in January, over a tweet in which she said Ottawa providing “funding for an anti-Semitic, neo-Nazi & fascist militia is horrifying,” referring to a $120-million aid package to Ukraine.

In a statement, the ministry argued a “feverishly imposed” Canadian political class was indulging in anti-Russian sentiment by imposing sanctions, and thus Russia had to ban them from setting foot on its soil.

“This step is forced, and taken in response to the outrageous hostility of the current Canadian regime, which has tested our patience for so long,” reads the statement.

Russia has previously banned some MPs, such as Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman MP James Bezan for his opposition of the 2014 invasion of Crimea.

The new list, which also included bureaucrats and civil society activists, misspelled a handful of names. That led to speculation on social media it was incompetence that caused some MPs to be left off the list.

For example, Toronto Liberal MP Judy Sgro was dubbed “Jugy,” while Vancouver colleague Taleeb Noormohamed’s name was spelled “Taaleeb.”

The NDP had eight of its caucus of 25 MPs left off the list. The party did not make Ashton and Gazan available for an interview, but said the NDP wasn’t going easy on Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“We don’t know what the criteria was for getting on this list, but it won’t stop our folks from continuing to speak out against the horrific crimes Putin is committing against people in Ukraine,” the party wrote in a statement.

NDP MP Niki Ashton stands during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on April 26, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Gazan, who represents Winnipeg Centre, faced criticism in January, over a tweet in which she said Ottawa providing “funding for an anti-Semitic, neo-Nazi & fascist militia is horrifying,” referring to a $120-million aid package to Ukraine.

“The rise of white supremacy and fascism is real. Time to stop the cowboy politics!” her tweet said.

Ukraine’s army includes the Azov Battalion, a neo-Nazi group Canada has avoided working with in its military support for Ukraine. Russia has seized on concerns about the Azov Battalion to delegitimize Ukraine as a Nazi state, despite being led by a Jewish president.

Gazan clarified she did not mean to equate Ukrainian society with Nazism, and said Russia needs to stop incurring on Ukraine and avoid provoking a war. This week she published several tweets in opposition of Russia’s invasion. 

Ashton, who represents northern Manitoba, has faced push-back over the years for her views on regimes in countries such as Venezuela. But she called on “vile” Putin to stop his “unbelievable and horrific” invasion during a Tuesday podcast.

Dancho, the Conservative MP for Kildonan–St. Paul, also wasn’t sure why she’s still able to visit Russia.

“I have a clear record of standing with Ukraine against the Russian invasion, and was proud to speak in Parliament on behalf of my constituents to condemn the monstrous actions of Putin and the Russian regime and their horrific onslaught in Ukraine,” she wrote.

MP Raquel Dancho is going to have a tough time hanging on to her Kildonan-St. Paul riding. (Sean Kilpatrick / The Canadian Press files)

Among those left off the list were MPs who have been vocal in opposing the Putin regime for years, including Conservative MP Tom Kmiec, NDP MP Heather McPherson, both of Alberta, as well as Toronto Liberal MP Yvan Baker.

“A lot of us are sort of scratching our heads,” Baker said in a radio interview.

Russia’s embassy in Ottawa did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday.

dylan.robertson@freepress.mb.ca

History

Updated on Thursday, March 17, 2022 6:43 AM CDT: Adds response from embassy

Updated on Thursday, March 17, 2022 12:16 PM CDT: Adds more images, reference to Gazan's recent tweets.

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