Vidal sanctioned by Russia, supports accepting Ukrainian refugees

Found in: LaRongeNOW

Desnethé-Missinippi-Churchill River MP Gary Vidal was one of hundreds of Canadians to be sanctioned this week by Russia.

“When I saw that, I have to admit I was a little bit surprised,” Vidal, who is now barred from entering Russian territory, said. “In the end when you think about it, it’s really just Russia retaliating to the sanctions that Canada has placed on some of its citizens and so on. At the end of the day, it’s not going to deter myself or any other Canadian parliamentarians for standing up for Ukrainians in this chaotic world they are going through and the struggles that they are having.”

The Russian invasion of Ukraine began Feb. 24 and, as of March 14, the United Nations estimates there are more than three million refugees and nearly 1.8 million internally displaced persons. Thousands of soldiers from both countries have been killed.

The Canadian government, including other NATO nations, have placed sanctions on Russian individuals and businesses. Hundreds of multinational corporations have also announced an end to operations in the country.

“We all know around the world that Ukrainians want to be able to live in their homes,” Vidal said. “They want to be in their own nation, they want to live free, sovereign, peaceful lives and I think it’s up to all of us in other places in the world to support them in that the best we can.”

Vidal explained in recent weeks his office has received phone calls from constituents asking how they can assist Ukrainian refugees. He noted one person said they could take a family of four, while another told him they were willing to take in orphans.

When it comes to accepting Ukrainian refugees into Canada, Vidal said he was supportive. He believes it would be a temporary measure as many will likely want to return to Ukraine once the invasion is over.

“In Saskatchewan and Manitoba, especially, we have very significant Ukrainian populations, so I think that’s probably easier for us in some of the western provinces where we have the people already here who can help with that,” Vidal said about resettlement. “I think for the most part, this is going to be something that a lot of people need the help in the short term aren’t going to want to remain here forever so to speak.”

With the cost of goods and gasoline rising steadily, Vidal mentioned NATO needs the ability to put every option on the table to deal with the aggression of Russia and Ukraine. He added, however, inflation has been an issue for years which has been a concern for him.

In particular to oil and gas prices, he said the federal government needs to be more supportive, so Canada can assist more in meeting the world’s demand for energy.