Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleagues from Etobicoke Centre, Scarborough—Guildwood, Kootenay—Columbia, and Edmonton Strathcona for their interventions tonight. It is important we demonstrate that there is unanimous consent on the bill, that we are speaking with one voice against gross human rights violators, as well those corrupt foreign officials who abuse their power and authority to enrich themselves and their families.
I also thank the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development for the hard work it has done. That committee came out with the report on Sergei Magnitsky. It was an in-depth study that provided great recommendations to the Government of Canada and to Parliament in a transparent manner for all Canadians to see. I congratulate every member of the committee who worked on that report.
Although we are talking specifically about human rights violators from around the world, we cannot forget about those within Russia who are continuing to violate human rights every day. Just today, the opposition leader in Russia, Alexei Navalny, received, for the third time, another 20 days in jail because he was going to have a peaceful protest in St. Petersburg against the government, which also happened to be during Putin's birthday celebrations this weekend. The Russian government wanted to ensure he was not around to disturb the birthday celebrations for President Putin. At his arraignment this morning, Alexei Navalny said, with respect to Putin's Russia, “all autocratic regimes come to an end.” I guess all of us always consider that.
When we first started hearing about the corruption, about Sergei Magnitsky's death, and about the people who were out promoting it, Boris Nemtsov, the previous leader of the Russian opposition, came here in 2012. He described Sergueï Magnitsky's legislation as pro-Russian legislation. It was about standing up for the people of Russia. It was about standing up for human rights, for democracy, and the rule of law. That is what we are doing today. We are following through on Boris Nemtsov's best wishes that this would become reality. He was assassinated outside the Kremlin on February 27, 2015.
Many other thoughts were heard from Vladimir Kara-Murza, who is now the deputy leader of the People's Freedom Party and a coordinator of the Open Russia movement. Two assassination attempts have been made on his life, probably by the Russian regime. This highlights the difference between today's Russia versus the Soviet Union era. He said:
For all the similarities between the Soviet era and present-day Russia, there is one major difference. While members of the Soviet Politburo were silencing dissent and persecuting opponents, they did not store their money, educate their children or buy real estate in the West. Many of the current officials and Kremlin-connected oligarchs do.
It is for that very reason that Russia has been used as a catalyst for the Sergei Magnitsky law. It was the Russians who tortured Sergei Magnitsky. We all have paid tribute to him tonight. However, we cannot forget that they continue to abuse their positions of authority. The kleptocracy that surrounds Vladimir Putin, the oligarchs who support him, and that type of corruption and human rights abuse have infiltrated into regimes around the world. We are talking about Venezuela, Iran, Myanmar. We are talking about what is happening in Vietnam and what is happening against the Falun Gong in China. We need to take that role and stand up against those types of atrocities and those types of violations of human rights. We cannot allow them to use Canada as a safe haven.
I appreciate everyone's support for this. I look forward to getting this back to the Senate as quickly as possible.