Cabinet is firmly opposed to Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, but has yet to squeeze a dollar in Russian assets despite imposing sanctions for more than 20 months.
On May 17, 2022, the RCMP claimed to have “effectively froze” $135.7 million in assets, but they did not elaborate, reported Blacklock’s Reporter.
According to an Inquiry Of Ministry tabled by Conservative MP Garnett Genuis in the Commons, the federal government has yet to expropriate Russian assets for funds.
He asked, “With regard to the Special Economic Measures Regulations and pursuing the forfeiture of assets of sanctioned Russians, how many have had their assets seized?”
A Parliamentary report acknowledged the only Russian property in Canadian custody is a cargo plane owned by Volga-Dnepr Airlines.
According to Blacklock’s Reporter, the company abandoned the plane in Toronto after cabinet issued a February 27, 2022 order banning Russian aircraft from Canadian airspace.
“The seized aircraft has been grounded at Pearson International Airport in Toronto since February 2022,” said the Inquiry. “Further steps towards potential forfeiture of this asset will be taken in due course.”
The lone Russian asset remains under evaluation by federal inspectors as they continue to assess its condition.
Cabinet last year announced the freezing of millions in Russian cash in Canada under Special Economic Measures Regulations.
On Friday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced additional sanctions on 63 Russian individuals and entities, bringing the total number of sanctioned persons and businesses to more than 2,700.
“We’ll continue to increase pressure on the Russian regime,” he posted to X.
Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly last December 19 announced Canada would expropriate $26 million from a company operated by a Russian oligarch, Granite Capital Holdings Ltd., reported Blacklock’s Reporter.
“This is the first time Canada is using its new authorities that allowed the government to pursue the seizure of assets,” she said, adding that work is “currently underway” to see its forfeiture.
However, the Inquiry notes that nothing has been done since the announcement nearly one year ago.
On Friday, Joly and Trudeau announced $650 million in additional military and mental health funding for Ukraine, which includes the costs for an undisclosed number of armoured vehicles, $34 million in development assistance including mental health support, and $8.3 million in additional peace and security efforts.
Canada, home to the most prominent Ukrainian diaspora besides Russia, includes 1.4 million Canadians of Ukrainian Heritage, including Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland.
"We will be there until Ukraine wins the war," she told reporters in April.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky credited Trudeau for his unwavering financial support of Ukraine and standing "very, very strongly against Russia."
Since February 2022, financial aid backstopped by taxpayers exceeds $9.5 billion, including north of $2 billion in military assistance. That total includes a $2.4 billion loan the federal government gave Ukraine after tabling Budget 2023 on March 28.
According to the feds, Canada has given Ukraine the highest per-capita direct financial support of any G7 country.
"History will judge us on how we defended democratic values. Ukraine is at the spear of this great challenge of the 21st century," said Trudeau.
"I have a lot of words, warm words and thanks to say from Ukrainians to you, to your beautiful country," Zelensky told the prime minister.