How ironic would it be if the ultimate result of Russia’s entire effort to help Donald Trump get elected and thereby lift the sanctions levied against them by President Obama was to put Trump into a position where he would be subject to those same sanctions from another country?
That’s a very real possibility since the United States is certainly not the only country to have passed sanctions on Russia related to the government-ordered murder of a whistleblower. Nor is America the only nation to have increased those penalties after Russia’s illegal and ongoing invasion and occupation of the Crimean Peninsula in Ukraine.
In fact, Canada’s law, the Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act, is actually known as the Sergei Magnitsky Law — like our Magnitsky Act, and similar laws in the EU, the UK, the Netherlands, Poland, and Italy — and mirrors many of the exact prohibitions and principles as those corollary laws.
After Donald Trump unilaterally levied tariffs on Canadian products previously protected under the North American Free Trade Agreement, Canada was in quite a predicament: They can’t abide the tariffs, which hurt both Canadians and Americans, but there isn’t much they can do in the way of retaliatory actions — the economy of Canada is less than a tenth the size of America’s. They also don’t want to hurt American citizens, who Canada recognizes actually voted overwhelmingly for someone besides Trump.
Instead, a member of Canada’s Parliament named Erin Weir of Regina-Lewvan, Saskatchewan came up with another idea: Why not slap Donald Trump with the same sanctions outlined in a law that fits his actions perfectly? To Canada, the MOST “corrupt foreign official” they’ve come across in a generation is the guy leading the country to their south.
Watch him pitch the idea of sanctioning Trump directly during a Question Period following Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s statement that Trump’s “national security” rationale for steel and aluminum tariffs was “insulting”:
After offering his suggestion, MP Weir went on to say,
I can see how it would be seen as a radical measure, but we are confronted with a radical reality from the Trump administration. Sanctions targeting the U.S. president are certainly not something that most Canadians would want to have to contemplate, but I fear President Trump has put us in that position.”
For her part, the Canadian Foreign Minister — a position not unlike our Secretary of State — didn’t reject the idea at all. FM Chrystia Freeland said:
We are now in a consultation period, and we welcome ideas from all Canadians on what should and what should not be in our retaliations.”
It would be irony indeed if the corruption that drew Trump into a trade-off with Russia to get rid of their sanctions resulted in those sanctions being turned against him instead.
Featured image via screen capture