Canadian government urged to expel Russian envoy and isolate Moscow

The interim leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, Candice Bergen, takes part in a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, February 14, 2022.BLAIR GABLE/Reuters

The official opposition is calling on the government to expel the Russian ambassador to Canada and recall the Canadian envoy to Moscow.

Interim Conservative Leader Candice Bergen is also urging Ottawa to revoke any broadcasting license of Russian state-funded television network RT, formerly known as Russia Today, and work with other countries to isolate Moscow. at the International scale.

The recommended measures were developed in consultation with Conservative Foreign Affairs Critic Michael Chong and his caucus.

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It comes as Russian President Vladimir Putin continues his military assault on Ukraine for a third day, including laying siege to the capital of Kiev.

“Putin’s invasion of Ukraine is the first major European conflict since World War II and a grave violation of international law and our collective humanity,” Ms Bergen said.

“This unprovoked attack, which follows a joint pact between the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China, is the most serious threat to the rules-based international order since 1945 – and because of it, a serious threat to world peace and security.

The Russian Embassy said in a statement that it was ready for any further development.

“In any case, as long as we can, the Embassy and the two consulates intend to continue working in order to maintain open channels of communication with the Government of Canada and to provide consular services to Russian citizens” , the statement said.

Canada, along with Western allies, this week imposed sanctions on numerous targets in Russia, including Mr. Putin himself.

Ms Bergen, however, said more needed to be done.

« Says Russian Ambassador to Canada Oleg Stepanov persona non grata and deport him from Canada,” she said.

She also called on Canada to “revoke the licenses of state-controlled broadcasters who broadcast disinformation and propaganda” so that Russia Today (RT) is taken off the Canadian airwaves.

Russian forces continued to pound Kiev and other cities with artillery and cruise missiles in a campaign that sent hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians fleeing west into the European Union, obstructing major highways and railways.

The Conservatives are also calling on Canada to help lead an effort to make Russia an international pariah, including “calling for Russia’s withdrawal from organizations like the G20 and the Organization for Security and cooperation in Europe (OSCE)”.

The official opposition also reiterates its call on Ottawa to allow Ukrainians to travel to Canada without a visa so that they can take refuge here.

However, Ms Bergen said it shouldn’t stop there. She urged Canada to rethink its defense policy in light of Moscow’s behavior, including a revised and updated plan to protect Canada’s Arctic, which borders Russia.

“It’s time to take Canada’s security and sovereignty in the Arctic seriously. Canada, like Ukraine, shares a border with Russia. We can no longer afford to take our peace and security for granted. The government must come up with a strong plan for Canada’s Arctic that will modernize NORAD’s early warning system, among other measures,” she said.

More soon.

With files from Reuters.

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