Russia sanctions US over Quebec

MOSCOW (Rooters agency) – President Vladimir Putin today announced the imposition of sanctions against several dozen US executives and shareholders of major corporations that are conducting business in Canada and/or Quebec.

The sanctioned individuals will not be eligible for visas to Russia, will not be able to book passage on Russian airlines or ships, and will have any bank accounts they hold in Russia frozen immediately.

The French-speaking minority of Canada, which is a big majority in Quebec, has long sought autonomy or even independence in order to overcome its domination by the Anglophone majority in the Canadian federation. But the Quebec nationalist movement has generally been ignored or, when it resorted to extremist tactics, suppressed.

At a press conference announcing the sanctions, President Putin pointed out that the suppression of Quebec sovereignty by the Canadian government had long depended on support from the United States. He said that the United States has been meddling militarily in Canada for more than two centuries, a reference to unsuccessful invasions in 1812-13.

In 1967, when US ally France broke ranks and expressed support for the rights of Quebec, the US and all its other allies unanimously supported the Canadian government position. Indeed, a few years later, even a US enemy, the Soviet Union, sought to reduce mutual tensions by vocally condemning Quebec nationalists.

It remains to be seen whether the Russian sanctions will force any modification in US support for Canada’s trampling on Quebec national rights. Asked why no US government officials were sanctioned, President Putin replied, “We’re going after the businesses. They’re the ones who really run things. I should know.”

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