Prime Minister Stephen
Harper on Ukraine
Right Honourable Prime
Minister of Canada Stephen Harper participated in a question and answer session
at the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada Convention at the Toronto
on Monday March 3, 2014.
The following is an exclusive interview conducted by Jurij Klufas, executive
producer, KONTAKT TV with the Right Hon. Stephen Harper, the Prime Minister of
Canada, discussing the crisis in Ukraine.
Klufas: Mr. Prime Minister, we have a global situation here, the world
community was not able to do anything in relation to Russia as far as Iran was
concerned, then came Syria, the world didn’t take up your call in relation to
standing up to Russia.
Now we have Ukraine.
Mr. Putin has, no surprise, not taken any consideration of the political and
diplomatic harshness that has come. Is there anyway that Canada
has an opportunity to influence NATO as far as military or economic help?
Stephen Harper: “First of all, I think it’s important that
we put this in context. I don’t think what happened over the weekend can be
compared with Russia’s
support for a bad regime in Syria or Iran. We are now talking
about President Putin’s own actions; his own actions as president of Russia in invading sovereign
territory that is clearly not his. This is on a whole different scale and
frankly, this is really a through back to a another kind of era, invading a
territory, claiming that just because there are ethnic minorities- that’s the
kind of thing we saw before the second world war and this is without precedent
in the modern era. And so this obviously requires a specific kind of
condemnation. I would say this: First of all, without going into specifics,
obviously we’re working very closely with all our G7 partners and I think that
there is a pretty strong consensus over not just diplomatic measures but over
looking at a whole range of diplomatic and economic measures that can be taken.
And what I will say and I believe will be the feeling of our G7 partners is
that these are not merely short term measures. This is going to be in my
judgment a serious breach between Russia and our Western
friends, until this is repaired and this could be a very long time. This is not
just going to be condemnation this weekend. This is going to be, should Mr.
Putin continue on this path, should he not see fit to respect the territorial
integrity of Ukraine,
as I said I think this will be a matter of bad relations and series of
diplomatic and economic actions that are going to go on for some long time, until he withdraws.”
Jurij Klufas: Mr. Prime
Minister, you spoke earlier with the Prime Minister of Ukraine, Mr. Yatseniuk.
What was discussed in that conversation?
Stephen Harper: “Well look, the primary reason for my
conversation was just to convey to the Prime Minister of Ukraine that at this
difficult time, he can be assured that the Canadian population, Canada and I’m not just
referring to our Ukrainian Canadian community, but Canadians stand absolutely
We are behind Ukraine
with friendship, in support of Ukraine’s independence, of
its territorial integrity, and of its Euro Atlantic aspirations. And these are
things that are not going to change. Obviously, that government has enormous
challenges in front of it, not just the challenges Mr. Putin is presenting but
financial challenges, governance challenges in terms of new elections and Canada certainly will be
standing ready and working with the new Ukrainian authorities to assist with
what is going to be a very difficult transition process. Look, I’ve said this
before, not withstanding the sadness of what has occurred in the last three
days, we have really tremendous admiration for the Ukrainian people standing up
virtually unarmed against an attempt to take the country back to the past, back
to a Soviet past, against the will of the people. We are very impressed that
Ukrainians stood up to that, as I said, stood up to brutality with virtually no
arms to fight back with and have come this far. We know that the Ukrainian
people are in this for the long term and we are in this for the long term with
Jurij Klufas: Mr. Prime
Minister, have you had the opportunity to discuss, either with the President of the United
States or with other EU member about
some kind of joint action or action that’s sort of coordinated in relation to
all of this?
Stephen Harper: I’ve been speaking with other G7 leaders
over the past couple of weeks and I spoke with President Obama on Saturday. And
as you know, the G7, Canada the United States, the major European powers, and
Japan- we have now all put out statements indicating that we are all ceasing
our preparations for the G8 in Sochi and working at coordinating our other
actions. Look, I think that under President Putin, Russia has been moving
farther and farther away from the democratic ideals of an advanced economy in
so many ways. And I think this is obviously a new level, but I think we are all
sending a pretty clear signal, as I said
today, that should Russia
not change its behavior its expulsion from the G8 will become inevitable. And
as I say, look, Russia
will still have some friends but in many ways Russia will find itself
treated as an outlaw state by much of the world.
(Transcribed from an audio interview by Walter
R. to L.: Right
Honourable Prime Minister Stephen Harper and executive producer Kontakt TV