MP Bezan tables bill to rename the Special Economic Measures Act

March 10, 2023

Ottawa, ON – James Bezan, Member of Parliament for Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman, released the following statement after tabling Bill C-324, An Act to Amend the Special Economic Measures Act [SEMA]:

“I am pleased to table my private member’s bill to rename the Special Economic Measures Act (1992) to Sergei Magnitsky Global Sanctions Act, and standardize the nomenclature of Canada’s sanctions regime.

“In 2017, Parliament voted unanimously in favour of the Sergei Magnitsky Law put forward by Senator Raynell Andreychuk and myself to hold gross human rights violators and corrupt foreign officials to account.

“Unfortunately, the Sergei Magnitsky Law has not been used to sanction a single individual or entity since 2018, while SEMA has been used extensively since the 2014 annexation of Crimea and the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine. Russian nationals and entities now dominate the SEMA sanctions lists.

“The use of Sergei Magnitsky’s name delivers a strong political message against Putin’s corrupt and brutal dictatorship in Russia. It is synonymous on the world stage for standing up for human rights, good governance, and peace and security. 

“If the Liberal government believes SEMA is better equipped to handle these sanctions rather than the current Sergei Magnitsky Law, then they will vote in favour of Bill C-324 supporting this name change. 

“Let’s ensure we are consistent with our allies and that we say we have sanctioned these individuals and entities using Sergei Magnitsky sanctions to honor Sergei Magnitsky and his legacy of standing up for human rights, the rule of law, democracy and standing against corruption at every opportunity.”


For more information:
Megan Lane, Communications Assistant
Office of James Bezan, MP


  • Sergei Magnitsky, a Moscow lawyer who uncovered the largest tax fraud in Russian history, was detained without trial, tortured and consequently died in a Moscow prison on November 16, 2009.
  • No thorough, independent, and objective investigation has been conducted by Russian authorities into the detention, torture and death of Sergei Magnitsky, nor have the individuals responsible been brought to justice.
  • In an unprecedented posthumous trial, Sergei Magnitsky was convicted in Russia for the very fraud he uncovered. This is blatant a violation of the principles of fundamental justice and the rule of law.
  • Legislation and motions adopted by legislative assemblies in the United States, the European Parliament, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Italy, Poland and Canada have condemned the mistreatment of Sergei Magnitsky as “a violation of the principles of fundamental justice and the rule of law” and led to sanctions against any foreign nationals responsible for violations of internationally recognized human rights in a foreign country when authorities in that country are unable or unwilling to conduct a thorough, independent and objective investigation of the violations.

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