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Why Canada is ready to have dialog with Russia

02.02.2016

A subtle shift in the attitude of the Canadian government towards Russia has been announced by Minister of Foreign Affairs Stéphane Dion. On Wednesday, January 27, Dion announced to the House of Commons in Ottawa that he would visit Ukraine in the coming days. Under opposition party haranguing, he restated views expressed to journalists one day earlier that it was time for a shift in relations with Russia, specifically that at minimum, his government will reopen communication with Russian counterparts. Dion’s comments followed those of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow on Tuesday said Russia “was stunned by the absence of pragmatism” by the previous government of Stephen Harper in its policy concerning Russia and the conflict in Ukraine. This was the same press conference where Lavrov made clear that Russia will not negotiate with any country about Crimea’s future status. Canada has played a leading, provocative role in the military threats by the NATO military alliance against Russia during the past two years. It has encouraged and joined the economic and political sanctions of its fellow imperialist countries against the Russian economy and politicians and businessmen. Canada has been a leading voice describing the 2014 referendum vote of the Crimean people as a Russian “annexation”. It condemns Russia for assisting the people of eastern Ukraine in resisting the military onslaught against them begun in April 2014 by the right-wing government that came to power in a coup in February 2014. Canada, along with the United States and Britain, has soldiers and police on Ukrainian soil in ‘training missions’ whose ultimate goal is not disclosed but which gravely threaten and destabilize the entire border region between Russia and eastern Europe. Canada also participates in the ongoing NATO military exercises on land and sea in eastern and western Europe whose goal is to send Russia the message: ‘obey our diktats, or else’. Foreign Minister Dion cited Arctic cooperation as an area where Canada has lost out during the past two years of Anti-Russia policy. Indeed, Canadians don’t know the half of what Dion was referring to. It turns out that scientific as well as economic cooperation among the eight countries that border the Arctic region has been stellar for decades and, fortunately, has not suffered much from the NATO-led folly and confrontations of the past two years. Canadians, for one, will be utterly in the dark over the record of Arctic cooperation because the chosen angle of reportage of this subject in mainstream media in Canada is, surprise!, that Russia is a threat to Canada’s interests and ambitions in the region. Justin Trudeau recently promised to push back “the bully that is Vladimir Putin”. Unfortunately, the more accurate picture would have Trudeau sitting on a battered snowmobile, craning his neck to see Putin standing far above him on the bridge of a nuclear-powered icebreaker. Where is Canadian policy headed? That’s tough to answer because first of all, policy will ultimately be decided by Washington, upon which time Canada will sign up. The question to be answered in this regard, then, is where U.S. policy is headed. Secondly, as Dion has signalled, there will be no change in Canada’s support to the right-wing regime in power in Kyiv. Too many years of coddling and support to Ukraine’s ultra-nationalists have passed. The three large parties in Parliament are unanimous on the matter. Too many lead voices in the anti-Russia bandwagon in Canada. 2016 promises to be a year of many surprises and, if we’re lucky, some reversal of the crazed descent into war. Then the real work of salvaging our planet and futures may begin
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