Russia a G8 'outlier' for granting asylum to NSA leaker Snowden: Baird - Macleans.ca
 

Russia a G8 ‘outlier’ for granting asylum to NSA leaker Snowden: Baird


 

OTTAWA – Canada has added its voice to those criticizing Russia for granting asylum to U.S. National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden.

“This is not something that Canada would have considered to do,” Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird told The Canadian Press in an exclusive interview.

“It is an example where it does show Russia is a bit of an outlier in the G8.”

Baird’s comments were the first from the Canadian government following the Kremlin’s decision to allow Snowden to leave the transit zone in the Moscow airport where he has been living since late June.

Russian President Vladimir Putin granted Snowden asylum for one year on the condition that he stop leaking information about the U.S. The White House said it was “extremely disappointed” by the decision not to turn him over to U.S., which wants to prosecute him for espionage.

Baird’s remarks also echoed the criticism that Prime Minister Stephen Harper levelled at Putin prior to the most recent G8 summit in June in Northern Ireland.

Harper characterized the Russian leader as the outlier of the G8.

“This is G7 plus one. OK, let’s be blunt. That’s what this is, G7 plus one,” the prime minister said at the time.

Harper was referring to Putin’s continuing support for the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad, a position that the rest of the G8 does not endorse.

Putin’s apparent defiance of the U.S. in the Snowden case comes after his support of Syria has become a serious irritant in Russia’s relations with the West.

Baird declined to elaborate further on the Snowden matter.

He has blasted Russia for its controversial new anti-gay law, calling it hateful and saying it could incite violence.

Baird also revealed that Russia once again found itself standing alone in the G8 when the issue of sexual minorities was raised at the previous summit in May 2012. Russia said it wouldn’t agree to a statement that expressed support for the group.

“All G7 countries supported and that included centre-right governments in Germany, in France, in Canada, the United Kingdom,” Baird said.

The Snowden affair and Russia’s controversial law, which imposes heavy fines for spreading information about gay choices to minors, as well as banning gay pride rallies, appears to be casting a pall over next month’s G20 summit in St. Petersburg, Russia.

The White House said it was reassessing whether President Barack Obama would go through with plans for a pre-G20 tete-a-tete with Putin.

A spokeswoman for Harper says Canada does not shy away from raising human-rights issues in its dealings with Russia.


 
Filed under:

Russia a G8 ‘outlier’ for granting asylum to NSA leaker Snowden: Baird

  1. Here is roughly how that 2 stories looks from my point of view:
    1. Snowden. Guy was traveling to Cuba through Russia. While on route from Hong Kong to Moscow, his USA passport was canceled. Upon arrival in Moscow he can not board his Aeroflot plane to Havana and got stuck in transit zone. Immediately after that USA said to Russia very loud and abusive: “You must turn Snowden to us or else”. Russia has refugee program similar to the one Canada has. It can not turn applicant off without looking into details. USA instead of keeping in quite and resolving issue on diplomatic level to turn over Snowden to USA authorities started screaming and yelling all over media outlet and diplomatic channels demanding immediate surrender of Snowden to USA. Russia is the largest country in the world, 4th largest economy, it has always has its own foreign interests and influence in the world. Obviously after all these runt from USA, Russia has no other way to save its face as to provide asylum to Snowden.
    What surprise me, why Canada is getting involved in USA- Russia relations? Don’t it have its own interest?
    2. Penalties for propaganda of not traditional sexual relations: Russia is not allowing openly to promote gay sexuality among minors. It is design mainly for media businesses, and maximum responsibility is like $200 penalty for individuals and from $1,500 to $30,000 for media businesses. As you see the penalties are more symbolic. It is done that way, because the law is widely supported by Russians and arises from own Russia culture, history, mixture of religions in the country ect. There is no criminal prosecution for gay relation in Russia. There are few high ranked official in Russian government who are gay, not to mention Russian culture elite.
    What surprise me again, that our Canadian government spend time and efforts voicing issues which has nothing to do with Canada. Both Canada and Russia are rich mineral resources countries with similar geography. I think it will be more benefits to Canadians partnering with Russia on issue like Northern Seas transit, distribution of mineral resources ect. It will bring more economic benefits for Canada. We will not change Russian politics nor do we need to, but we can definitely benefit from conducting our own policy in the way of interest of Canada but not USA politics or small group of people who have a lot of free time to voice their non traditional sexuality.

  2. Baird has one again, in the inimitable words of Jacques Chirac “… missed a perfectly good opportunity to keep quiet”. While Snowden entertains the support of millions of people around the world, our government’s stance is that of diametric opposition.The disconnect between the Canadian government and its people is clearly greater now than at any point in the nations history. Today we are again confronted with Baird’s latest admonishment; further testament to a long and seemingly endless parade of indignity Canadians will continue to suffer at the actions of this incompetent buffoon. It has to stop.

  3. The G8 is one puppeteer, six puppets plus one.

  4. Fairly pathetic, talking human rights to the only ones upholding them for the poster boy of his age in that regard. Maybe Baird should say blanket surveillance states and velvet tyranny is bad for goose and gander. Or that he likes being a parrot for the G1.