An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
IT PROBABLY NEVER CROSSED Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo MP Frank Caputo’s mind that he’d one day be the target of unfriendly action by the Russian government.
But Caputo, along with more than 300 other Canadians — mostly Parliamentarians — has been banned from Russia in retaliation for Canada’s sanctions against the regime that is committing war crimes in Ukraine.
Caputo calls it “a badge of honour.” One is tempted to ask Vladimir Putin, “is that all you’ve got?”
The sanctions war is in full force, mostly by Western countries against Russia and Russians. They include banking bans, confiscation of yachts and other property, suspension of computer sales, cutting off oil imports, closing air space and shutting down fast-food restaurants.
Those are the serious ones, the ones that hurt. Then there are the others. They’re the symbolic sanctions that do nothing to affect the war. In B.C. and other jurisdictions, for example, Russian vodka has been removed from liquor store shelves.
Never mind that Russian vodka is only a small percentage of vodka sales here, and that the vodka was already paid for.
A bit of amusement in the midst of a very serious situation is a Quebec diner’s decision to change the name of poutine. Poutine is that awful concoction of cheese- and gravy-covered French fries that, thankfully, has never made it big out here.
Since “poutine” sounds too much like “Putin,” the name has been changed to “fry cheese gravy.”
And then there’s the banning of Russian cats from competition by the International Cat Federation.
Banning cats and vodka and changing what we call fries and cheese won’t likely strike fear into Putin’s heart. But that’s OK; they allow us to vent and demonstrate our willingness to find creative ways to say “Nyet” to Putin.
Banning the Kamloops Member of Parliament and other Canadian politicians is way less original than banning the name of poutine, and is truly “a badge of honour.”
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.