On Wednesday, the House of Commons unanimously voted to pass the Magnitsky bill, with all 277 votes in favour of the bill.
Once the legislation is passed, it will allow the country to sanction bureaucrats from countries like Russia deemed culpable for human rights violation.
“…It will enable Canada to sanction, impose travel bans on and hold accountable those responsible for gross human rights violations and significant corruption,” – said Chrystia Freeland – Minister of Foreign Affairs for the country.
Freeland believes the bill, when passed, will act as an effective foreign policy tool for Canada in the International environment.
It will also provide a valuable complement to our existing human rights and anti-corruption tools.”- she said.
This bill is inspired by the Sergei Magnitsky case dating back to the year 2009. Magnitsky – an anti-corruption lawyer – died imprisoned in a Russian jail after spending a year there. Russia said, should the legislation be passed, it will retaliate.
Maria Zakharova – spokesperson for the Russian foreign ministry said, “Any anti-Russian actions by the Canadian authorities will not be left without an adequate response.”
It is important to mention here that Canada is not on cordial terms with Russia. Moscow has been time and again condemned by Canada over the annexation of Crimea 2014. Plus, Canada has joined other Western nations in imposing sanctions against Russia in the past.
Zakharova, also reportedly said that the Magnitsky bill is more or less a copy of the odious Magnitsky Act of America and it has the potential to further deteriorate the Canadian-Russian relations.
The Magnitsky Act in America was adopted back in 2012, which allowed the US to freeze the US assets of Russian prosecutors and investigators part of the Magnitsky detention.
“We warn again that in case the pressure of the sanctions put on us increases … we will widen likewise the list of Canadian officials banned from entering Russia,” – Zakharova reiterated.
Meagan Kozlovs is a reporter for Debate Report. She’s worked and interned at Global News Toronto and CHECX. Megan is based in Toronto and covers issues affecting her city. In addition to her severe milk shake addiction, she’s a Netflix enthusiast, a red wine drinker, and a voracious reader.