PEI

P.E.I. senator banned from entering Russia

P.E.I. Sen. Percy Downe is among several dozen Canadians that have been banned from entering Russia

Percy Downe says it's 'a small price' for bill aimed at exposing abuses around the world

A picture of Sergei Magnitsky held by his mother. Magnitsky died in prison after accusing Russian officials of a tax fraud scheme. (Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP Photo)

P.E.I. Sen. Percy Downe is among several dozen Canadians that have been banned from entering Russia.

Downe said he found out he was blacklisted a year ago when trying to travel to Russia for a meeting.

According to Downe, there are about 35 Canadians currently banned from the country, but he expects the list to grow after the Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act, also known as the Magnitsky Act, became law.

"The purpose of the bill is for any official in any country, not only Russia, who are involved in human rights abuses and corruption, that those people will not be given the opportunity to launder their money through Canada, to use our banks or financial institutions to protect their money," Downe said.

'Good bill for Canada'

Canada joins the U.S., U.K. and Estonia in adopting the measures, which were inspired by Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian lawyer who died in prison after accusing officials in the country of a tax fraud scheme.

"It's a good bill for Canada," Downe said.

"It's a good bill to highlight the abuses that are being conducted around the world, to name names of the people committing those abuses."

P.E.I. Senator Percy Downe says he found he was banned from entering Russia about a year ago when trying to travel there for a meeting. (CBC)

Downe said that now the bill has become law, the number of Canadians banned from entering Russia will probably grow as Canada begins its own list of people "found guilty of corruption or human rights abuses."

"When we start naming some of President Putin's people and his cronies to the list, they'll probably retaliate name for name, that seems to be their method," Downe said.

"But it's a small price to pay for what is a very important piece of legislation."

With files from Brittany Spencer

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