Canada’s Foreign minister Maxime Bernier on Wednesday November 14 announced sweeping sanctions against Burma and its totalitarian rulers, saying “there is no more room for compromise with this odious regime.” He also said he would encourage Canada’s allies to follow suit with their own punitive measures to pressure Burma’s military junta to halt its repression of its political opposition.
“The regime in Burma is abhorrent to Canadian values (and) we are going to impose the toughest sanctions in the world,” Bernier said in a policy speech. “The repression in Burma has grown worse in the past weeks. People are being arrested, tortured and killed. Peaceful demonstrations by unarmed Buddhist monks were met with bullets,” he said. “The headlines are just the tip of the iceberg.”
In September, Burma’s security forces violently repressed peaceful protests by the country’s Buddhist monks, leading to at least 13 deaths and thousands of arrests. Since then, the country’s leaders have refused to bow to mounting international pressure to allow democratic reforms and respect human rights.
The Canadian sanctions include a ban on Canadian investment, trade and transfer of technical data to Burma. Bilateral trade is estimated to be less than 8.5 million dollars annually, down from 47 million dollars in 2002, said officials.
As well, the assets of Burmese nationals in Canada connected to Burma’s government leaders would be frozen immediately, and Burma-registered ships or aircraft would be prohibited from docking or landing in Canada.