Mr. Speaker, a month ago, I stood in the House to bring attention to the anti-democratic practices currently ongoing in Russia. Twice in the last three months, election fraud has been strongly alleged in the Russian federation, once in the Duma elections on December 4 and, most recently, this past Sunday in the Russian presidential elections.
Our Minister of Foreign Affairs recently noted with concern the identification of procedural irregularities that tainted the vote in nearly one-third of the polling stations. An observer for the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe stated:
There was no real competition and abuse of government resources ensured that the ultimate winner of the election was never in doubt
As the Prime Minister of Canada has said:
...one of the human rights we treasure most is the right to freedom of expression. Without it, there can be no democracy, no free press, no freedom of enterprise...and no free exchange of ideas, the universal catalyst for human progress.
I hope all members of the House will stand with me today and urge the Russian authorities to respect the rights of their citizens to demonstrate peacefully and for both sides to refrain from the use of violence.