MP Cotler says being banned from Russia is 'a badge of honour'

Mount Royal Liberal MP Irwin Cotler — who's been banned from entering Russia in retaliation for Canadian sanctions over Ukraine — says he doesn't have a problem with it.

"I see it more as a badge of honour than anything else," Cotler told CJAD news. "I have no intention of visiting Siberia. I have no investments in Russia."

Cotler was among 13 Canadian lawmakers and officials who were hit with an entry ban. Among some of the others, House of Commons speaker Andrew Scheer, government House speaker Peter van Loabn, three other Conservative MPs, another Liberal MP Chrystia Freeland, NDP MP Paul Dewar, and Paul Grod, the president of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress.

Cotler was arrested and expelled from the Soviet Union in 1979 while advocating on behalf of political prisoners. He was then accusesd of consorting with "criminals", including Soviet human rights dissident Andrei Sakharov.

"I stand in solidarity with the Russian people and those who fight for human rights and democracy," he says. "Their day will come and Putin and his regime will no longer be in power."

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