OTTAWA - Industry Minister James Moore says he can offer sympathy but little help to Canadian firms affected by sanctions against Russia, saying they should have seen the situation coming.
The minister says that while he wants businesses to explore export opportunities, Canada's foreign policy cannot be held hostage to short-term business interests.
Moore says Canadian firms operating in Russia would have been naive if they did not anticipate the prospects of sanctions after the invasion and annexation of Crimea, formerly an autonomous region of the Ukraine.
Businesses have expressed concern they will be caught in the crossfire of the political dispute and some have called for a balanced approach on the part of the Harper government.
While Russia-Canada trade is relatively small, several major Canadian firms have interests in the former communist country, which is also a major export market for Canadian pork producers.