Madam Speaker, in late August I introduced the leader of the democratic opposition and former deputy prime minister of Russia, Mr. Boris Nemtsov, at the Black Ribbon Day Conference at the University of Toronto's Munk Centre, hosted by the Central and Eastern European Council of Canada.
The following day Mr. Nemtsov and more than 100 democracy activists were arrested. Some were imprisoned using Soviet-style laws for participating in unsanctioned meetings.
Prime Minister Putin openly threatened the activists and established a new tenet of Putinism, stating, “You will be beaten on your skull with a truncheon. And that's that”.
Commenting on the west's silence, Russia's leading broadcast journalist, the exiled Evgeny Kiselev, lamented that the west “has traded the Russian democratic opposition for oil and gas”.
The Russian people are fighting for their constitutional rights of free assembly and of free media.
Will the Conservative government publicly and unequivocally condemn Mr. Putin's slide toward authoritarianism and his campaign of arrests of human and democratic rights activists in Russia?