Liberal MP Irwin Cotler mocks Putin's blacklist

Mark Dunn, Senior National Reporter

, Last Updated: 12:06 AM ET

OTTAWA — The last time human rights activist Irwin Cotler visited Moscow he says he was poisoned.

He didn't say how nor could his staff.

So when he and 12 other Canadian officials and legislators were deemed outlaws by the Russian regime Monday, Cotler could barely contain his glee at being declared persona non grata.

"I wear my exclusion from Russia as a badge of honour and am proud to be in such distinguished company," the Liberal MP said about the blacklist that includes MPs, the Speaker of the Commons, Privy Council staff, a senator and the head of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress.

All are barred entry into Russia.

"I have no intention of visiting Siberia...I have no desire to visit Moscow and be poisoned as happened on my last trip," Cotler said.

The baker's dozen were targeted in a tit-for-tat response to sanctions Canada imposed on Russians last week.

Cotler is an old hand at poking the Russian bear.

He was expelled from the Soviet Union in 1979 while advocating against the treatment of political prisoners.

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said the Russians misfired.

"None of the people listed today are threatening the territorial integrity or sovereignty of the Russian Federation," he said Monday from The Hague, where G7 leaders were wrestling with the next steps to isolate Russia after the takeover of Crimea.

"I think it also says we've certainly got the attention of those in the Kremlin."

Liberal MP Ralph Goodale said the Russian measures shouldn't be taken lightly.

"The sanctions are intended to be deeply insulting, they are intended to punish, intimidate and interfere with the functioning of the House of Commons and the ability of members of Parliament to do their jobs," he said.

Mark.Dunn@sunmedia.ca

Twitter:MarkDunnSun

Canadians banned from entering Russia:

* Liberal MPs Irwin Cotler and Chrystia Freeland

* NDP MP Paul Dewar

* Conservative MPs Dean Allison, Ted Opitz and James Bezan

* Commons Speaker Andrew Scheer

* House leader Peter Van Loan

* Foreign affairs adviser Christine Hogan

* Deputy secretary to the cabinet Jean-Francois Tremblay

* Sen. Raynell Andreychuck

* Paul Grod, head of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress

* Wayne G. Wouters, clerk of the Privy Council


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