ontario news watch

Russia says relations ‘on the verge of being severed’ as Ottawa seizes cargo plane

OTTAWA — Moscow is warning that relations with Canada are “on the verge of being severed” after the Trudeau government moved to forfeit a massive Russian cargo plane.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visited Ukraine on the weekend, where he announced that Canada officially seized an airplane that had been sitting on the tarmac at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport since February 2022.

Russia’s foreign ministry said in an English-language statement posted Tuesday that Moscow is prepared to retaliate and the decision “will entail the most serious repercussions for Russian-Canadian relations.”

Canada is the first G7 country to enact a law that allows Ottawa to not just seize assets held by sanctioned people, but to forfeit the money and have it diverted to victims of a sanctioned regime.

Trudeau said Ottawa plans to begin the process to forfeit the plane and use the funds to support Ukraine, which could be the government’s first use of that law. 

A Senate report last month warned that the legislation could put Canadian companies abroad at risk, and could undermine the rule of law if the provisions aren’t enforced through due process.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 14, 2023.

Dylan Robertson, The Canadian Press

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