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Last week, Russia’s Ambassador to Canada issued a travel advisory to fellow Russians, warning them that Canada is a “dangerous,” racism-filled hellscape that is best avoided.
“Canada today is a very dangerous country for Russian citizens,” Oleg Stepanov told the Russian state news agency RIA Novosti on Friday.
He added that Russians are frequently the target of racism on Canadian streets. “I would not recommend it for tourism, education or business,” he said.
The comments add to the official Russian government travel advisory for Canada, which warns of roving street gangs and a “rather harsh climate.” The latter warning being particularly strange given that much of Russia, on balance, is actually colder than Canada.
Stepanov’s comments come as Russo-Canadian relations plunge to a low not seen since the Cold War. In addition to levying crushing sanctions against Russian businesses and individuals, Ottawa has now spent more than a billion dollars sending arms to Ukraine for the explicit purpose of destroying Russian forces.
And it’s not the first time that a geopolitical enemy of Canada has retaliated with an unflattering travel advisory for the Great White North.
In 2019, after Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou was arrested in Vancouver on an international warrant – an incident that prompted the retaliatory Chinese detention of Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor – the Beijing government issued a travel advisory warning that Canada was now arbitrarily detaining foreign nationals. Chinese travellers were told to “fully evaluate risks” before considering passage to Canada.
Even among Canada’s friends, however, the country can still come off badly in official travel warnings.
“Terrorists are likely to try to carry out attacks in Canada,” reads the official U.K. guidelines on travel to Canada. “Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places visited by foreigners.”
British citizens are also warned that “severe snow storms are a regular occurrence during winter.”
The Australian government tells travellers to Canada to steer clear of “dangerous wildlife” and to exercise caution on ski hills. “Winter sports can be dangerous, even fatal” says Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
France, in its Canadian travel advisory, takes special care to warns its citizens of the dangers of snowmobiling. “Given the high number of snowmobile accidents, including several fatal incidents each year, extreme vigilance should be exercised when using them,” says the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Whatever Russia may be saying about travel to Canada, it’s still much more lenient that Canada’s own travel advisory for Russia, which urges Canadians to avoid the country entirely. Those already within Russia’s borders, meanwhile, are advised to flee the country “while commercial means are still available.”
Canada’s warning is based on Russia’s ongoing mass-conscription of citizens for its war against Ukraine. Any Canadian holding Russian citizenship could conceivably get caught in the dragnet, and are thus advised to “maintain a low profile” and “refrain from discussing political developments.”
Refugee says Canada deporting him so Russia can force him to fight against Ukraine
Canadian plan to confiscate Russian assets could upend global economy, says Moscow think tank
IN OTHER NEWS
The newest Liberal scandal just dropped! This one surrounds Liberal MP Greg Fergus, who wrote a letter to the CRTC asking them to make a small TV channel known as Natyf mandatory for Quebec cable subscribers. MPs aren’t allowed to influence CRTC decision, particularly when such a decision will result in a guaranteed windfall of cash for the channel in question. What’s more, according to ethics commissioner Mario Dion, Fergus should have known this was wrong, given that he’s a veteran MP and parliamentary secretary to the prime minister.
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