Premier John Horgan considers it a “badge of honour” that he’s among 61 Canadians banned indefinitely from entering Russia.
The new sanctions released by the Russian Foreign Ministry bar Horgan, several other Canadian premiers, mayors, media executives and journalists from entering Russia, which is facing crippling economic sanctions from Canada and other NATO countries for its invasion of Ukraine.
“If the Russians don’t want me to visit, I have no plans to go,” Horgan quipped at a news conference Thursday. Being named in the ban was a badge of honour, he said, “not for myself but for British Columbians.”
“The fact that we were able to catch the attention of a brutal dictator in the middle of an illegal invasion of their neighbour tells me that British Columbians stood up immediately and said we are going to boycott Russian products, we are going to stand up and open our hearts and our homes to the Ukrainian people,” Horgan said.
In February, the B.C. government liquor stores announced they would pull Russian vodka and other Russian liquor from store shelves in support of Ukraine.
Horgan also expressed sympathy for the Ukrainian priest and his family who were burned out of their home Wednesday in an arson being investigated by Victoria police.
Yuriy Vyshnevskyy and his family narrowly escaped their home — next to the Ukrainian Catholic Church of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker — early Wednesday morning.
“I just can’t imagine how I would have responded if my family was burned out of their home,” Horgan said. “We don’t know yet as the investigation unfolds whether it was a hate crime or directed at people’s faith, people’s ethnicity. We don’t know. What we do know is that all British Columbians stand with the Vyshnevskyy family today.”
Vyshnevskyy’s wife was pulled off a window ledge and their three daughters jumped out of a second-storey window to escape the blaze. The priest said his wife heard someone pouring gasoline through the mail slot into the home and set it on fire.
— With files from the Times Colonist