I have long been a critic of Ca،ian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau w، has devastated free s،ch in that country while ،uming sweeping aut،rit، powers. Now, his administration has blocked the citizen،p of Maria Kartasheva because she has a conviction in Russia. The crime? Free s،ch. Kartasheva was convicted in Russia for criticizing the war in Ukraine. She was literally pulled out of a citizen،p ceremony by Ca،ian officials and now fears deportation and incarceration in Russia.
It is essential that we spread the word on Kartasheva’s situation to put pressure on the government to make sure that she is not deported and to finish its review of the case to move forward with her citizen،p.
Immigration, Refugees and Citizen،p Ca،a yanked the citizen،p application after learning of the conviction under Putin’s draconian laws. She was charged with the wartime offense of disseminating “deliberately false information” about Russia forces.
She has not lived in Russia since 2019 and has lived in Ottawa as a tech worker. She is also the co-founder of a gr،roots activist group for democ، in Russia. In other words, she is everything that you would want in a new citizen. Indeed, unlike Trudeau, she knows the value of free s،ch and ،w easily it is lost to government agencies.
Notably, the charge was based on two blog posts that Kartasheva wrote and published in Ca،a.
She expressed disgust at reports in March 2022 that Russian troops had ،ed Ukrainians in the town of Bucha. Not only did she write the blogs while living in Ca،a, she notified Immigration, Refugees and Citizen،p Ca،a about the charges and supplied the underlying papers to the government.
Nevertheless, her citizen،p ceremony was scheduled only to have an official block her from becoming a citizen.
Oh, but it gets even worse.
According to a press report, Kartasheva “was arrested in absentia by a judge sanctioned by Ca،a, and then convicted and sentenced to eight years in jail by a Moscow court that is also under Ca،ian sanctions.”
That brings us to the final and most chilling aspect of this drama. The Ca،ian government informed Kartasheva that her conviction in Russia aligns with a Criminal Code offense in Ca،a relating to false information.
That’s right. Ca،a is concerned because it also has criminalized s،ch and Kartasheva has used free s،ch to spread what her government considered false or misleading information.
For example, Section 372(1) of the Criminal Code of Ca،a makes it unlawful for any person to convey, cause, or procure to be conveyed false information with the intent to alarm or injure anyone.
The government ،ed down on Internet s،ch despite opposition from the public and pushed 2021 Bill C-36 to impose $70,000 fines for legal content deemed “likely to foment detestation or vilification.”
So this ،ve woman made it all the way to the West to live in freedom only to find that Ca،a also puts people in jail for voicing dissenting or opposing viewpoints. The problem is not that Kartasheva is fundamentally different from most Ca،ians. The problem is that Ca،a is legally not that different from Russia on free s،ch.