Canada’s PM Harper is very active regarding Ukrainian crisis and wanna go tough on Putin

Why? Read few comments.

Questions:

1. Why is Canadian PM Stephen Harper so active regarding Ukraine and Russia? He clearly takes a hard line.

2. Would you say this will also lead to kicking Russia out of G8?

Answers:

Kyle MatthewsSenior Deputy Director, Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies, Concordia University

1. Canada Prime Minister Stephen Harper is very active regarding Ukraine and Russia for several reasons. First, and perhaps the most important, is that Canada is home to over one million people who claim Ukrainian heritage. Canada’s Ukrainian diaspora is very active politically and with a Canadian federal election coming up in 2015, Harper is no doubt interested in showing that his government cares about their homeland. Second, Harper is no friend of authoritarian governments, like Russia controlled by Putin, that disregard individual rights and also has a history of spying on Canada. A Canadian naval officer was recently found guilty of providing intelligence to Russian authorities. Putin’s steadfast support of Assad in Syria also has impact on official Canadian policy towards Russia. Also, Harper sees Russian actions in the Arctic as being against Canada’s national interests in the long run.

2. I have no doubt that Canada will take a strong stand within the G8 in calling for Russia’s eviction.Harper knows Putin is an authoritarian dictator who persecutes his political opposition within Russia and pays lip service to international law (take over of Crimea, 2008 invasion of Georgia).

Piotr Dutkiewicz, Professor and Director, Centre for Governance and Public Management, Carleton University

1. At least for three reasons. First – this government is driven by its believe in “right and wrong” , it has almost black and white picture of the world where good shall be supported and evil conquered; so Russia – according to Harper is doing very wrong things in Ukraine and thus shall be punished by Canada and international community; Secondly Canada will have soon (2015) a federal elections and in 2011, there were an estimated 1,209,085 persons of full or partial Ukrainian origin residing in Canada (mainly Canadian-born citizens) making them Canada’s ninth largest ethnic group; these voters are crucial to crumbling conservative constituency; Ukrainians are very well organized in Canada and form a formidable pressure group – so Harper’s tactic is to have strong support from the Ukrainian community; Thirdly Canada has not too much too lose as economic relations with Russia are quite small.

2. Most probably that will be a Canadian position. International governance is ineffective and removing Russia from G-8 will diminish a possibility to talk to Kremlin on key global issues; it will lead to the increase role of China in G-8 and push Russia to what she really does best – bilateral relations. Thus strong rhetoric by some governments (including Canada) is not very wise and might be –in a long run – counterproductive.

Joan DeBardeleben, Professor and Director, Centre for European Studies, Carleton University

1. I believe that the part of the reason for Prime Minister Harper’s strong position on this issue relates to the size and political importance of the Ukrainian community in Canada. In the 2006 census about 1.2 million people indicated Ukrainian origins. This group is quite active, and therefore politically important, especially in some regions of Canada. Ukraine is one of the few post-communist countries where Canada maintains an active development aid program, so engagement with Ukraine is well established. You can see the list of programs here.

In addition, this may be seen by the government as an issue where Canada can gain visibility both domestically and internationally as showing leadership in the Western alliance.

2. I think it is quite likely that Russian inclusion in the G8 will be suspended for now , and that the body will operate as the G7, as it did before Russia was added. Whether this will become a longer term situation may depend on future Russian actions or responses.

John Ibbitson, Senior Fellow, Centre for International Governance Innovation

1. There are 1.2 million Ukrainians in Canada. Many of them are in Western Canada, which is the political base of the Conservative Party. So Harper is reinforcing his base by taking a particularly tough line on Ukraine.

But he also is very blunt in support of Israel, and has been harshly critical of China. (Though he backed off once he realized it was damaging trade). In general, this Conservative government takes a strong line on human rights, in contrast with its Liberal predecessors, who favoured playing an honest-broker role.

2. Harper will push hard to have Russia expelled from the G8. Back in July 2013, he said it wasn’t the G8, it was the “G7 plus one.” And on a personal level, he quite dislikes Putin.

Jacques Lévesque, Professor Emeritus, Department of Political Science, Universite du Quebec a Montreal

1. The Ukrainian diaspora in Canada is numerically important and influential. The number of Canadians of Ukrainian ascent is around 300,000 persons. Statistically, in proportion to the total population of Canada (34 million people) the Ukrainian diaspora is much more important here than in the United States. It is concentrated in Western Canada where is the strongest electoral basis of the Conservative Party of Stephen Harper.

2. Harper will certainly press for Russia’s expulsion of Russia from the G8. But his voice will not be decisive. The decisive actors in this respect will be Germany and the US.

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3 Responses

  1. If you are not indifferent to the fate of Ukraine that is occupied by Russian troops at the moment, please click our site: http://www.vedavat.com.ua/donation.html

    If you are not indifferent to the fate of Ukraine, please, pay your attention to our message.
    Russian troops are intend to occupy all the territory of Ukraine.
    The Crimea territory is already occupied.
    Ukrainian people are in a depressed mood.
    Russia oriented separatists on the Ukrainian streets are calling for destabilization of the Ukrainian territorial integrity.
    Ukrainian people are taking up arms. All this is happening in the immediate vicinity of the borders of the European Union.
    People of Ukraine are frightened by the possible war and imminent financial and political crisis.
    The corrupted government left the country ant took all the budgetary funds
    of Ukraine with them.
    If the situation continues, here we can have a civil war.
    The people of Ukraine calls for United States and European Union help.
    We understand that USA and the European Union can’t give the considerable financial help to every citizen of multimillion Ukraine.
    People of Ukraine psychologically financially oppressed by the military crisis are to redirect their attention to the Spiritual Path.
    So we build the Temple of the Vedic heritage of the Grandsires in the city of Zaporozhye, Ukraine, the native land of Zaporozhian Cossacks, well-known historically as fighters for freedom of Ukrainians.
    Unfortunately, we did not have enough funds to organize the Temple construction at the moment.
    To all people of Earth who are not indifferent to the problems of Ukraine and Europe, we offer to make a helpful donation for the Temple of the Vedic heritage of the Grandsires construction.

    We welcome any help.
    The names of all patrons will be written on the altar of the Temple of the Vedic heritage of the Grandsires.

  2. Ukraine was created by bolsheviks. It never existed in history.
    In a way, we may say it is consequence of bolshevism in Russia.
    Borders of Ukrainian socialist republic were administrative borders inside Ussr created by Stalin in order to divide and control Russian population of Russian empire and to prevent large scale resistance to communists rule.
    Essentially these are historically Russian territories.
    Nobody seriously can justify if Stalin draw borders inside Russia it automatically created “Ukrainians” from yesterdays Russians.

    Same goes for Crimea. Results of referendum there unequivocally proved that despite 20 years of policies of forced assimilation against Russians they didn’t accept the fact that were forcibly split from russia by bolsheviks.
    I guess the idea is – don’t trust to everything that is pushed inti you brain here. Do you own research and you will find the truth by yourself

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