‘I hope this is not one of Peter’s games’


Suffice it to say, Paul Dewar has some questions.

The transcript of his scrum after QP yesterday.

Question: What did you make of MacKay’s (inaudible) to be a top gun comments today telling the Russians the back off and…?

Paul Dewar: Well you know, I, all I can say is I hope this is not one of Peter’s games.  If, if Mr. MacKay is trying to ramp up the rhetoric to either, you know, promote himself to, you know, get another position in NATO and not doing what he should be doing, and leaving the whole business of diplomacy to the Foreign Affairs Minister.  And by the way, right now what we need to see in, in the Arctic is, is cooperation and putting out wedge issues and planting this kind of rhetoric on, in the, in the, you know, atmosphere of what is some very, very serious issues in the Arctic is not helpful. 

Question: So do you think he’s taking advantage and those kind of comments can damage Canada-Russia relations?

Paul Dewar: Absolutely.  I mean when he (inaudible) a comment like this, and where is the context for this?  What is the process, by the way, of Canada-Russian relations?  Is this the way he looks at building bridges?  Right now we have an opportunity when it comes to the Arctic to build bridges and what it seems Mr. MacKay is he’s playing, you know, a little bit of Russian Roulette here.  And if he’s going to continue that, then he has to explain to, I guess his colleague, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, what the plan is because when you start doing this kind of thing, what it means is it can come back and haunt you.  So why is the Minister of Defence putting out these comments when it’s clearly something that should be dealt with by our Foreign Affairs Minister. 

Question: Why do you think he, why do you think he brought it up?

Paul Dewar: I have no idea what Mr. MacKay was thinking.  I think Mr. Harper needs to, you know, question what his Minister of Defence is actually doing.  And by, what is the plan here?  What is the engagement with, with Russia?  And you know, I know in Washington, they’re looking at multilateralism again, thank goodness.  I don’t know, is he looking to get behind the defence mechanism in the North?  Are we going to be seeing that raise its head again?  And is he planting the seeds for that?  I don’t know.  And Mr. MacKay is the one who has to explain himself.  But again, I would turn to Mr. Cannon and say what do you have to say regarding your colleague’s comments and have you talked to the Russians about this issue?  This is very serious diplomatic, a very serious diplomatic issue.  And I guess I just question why is the Minister of Defence out there planting this rhetoric.

Question: Well the fact is this goes on all the time.  This is not unusual.

Paul Dewar: Well the question is why is Mr. MacKay stating these things now?  And where is the, the cooperation here that we need to see between polar countries?  Look, we know that we’re working with the Russians, with the Government of Norway, with the Americans on what’s going on in the North.  So to all of a sudden pause at this and out of nowhere, with no real reason states this.  So I think what we’re trying to do, Peter might be doing here is trying to go back to the 50’s and play a little cold war.  Well I’m sorry, but you know what?  If he wants to play a game of risk in his basement, that’s up to him, but it has no place in terms of diplomacy. 

Question: Before we get all worked up, would you like to hear more details on exactly what happened? 

Paul Dewar: Well yeah, and I’d like

Question: (inaudible) how close it came, what (inaudible)?

Paul Dewar: Well, absolutely.  So why, why is he just planting this out there and why is he making these comments?  And let’s, as I said, where’s Mr. Cannon on this issue, you know.  I think this is very serious.  And as I said, Mr. Harper should be asking his Minister of Defence where he’s going with this.  I mean, what’s the context of this. And I guess that is something that will have to come out in the next couple of days, as was mentioned.  These kinds of things happen all the time.  The question is why is he raising it now?  And as I said, if he wants to have a little game of cold war, do it in his basement, and you know, don’t do it on the world stage.

Question: Do you have any idea why he’s doing it?

Paul Dewar: I have no idea.  I’ve suggested that maybe this is a game that Peter’s playing for his own advancement, for perhaps a job with NATO.  He has to explain that, not me. 

Question: But do you think it’s important for Canada to defend its sovereignty (inaudible)?

Paul Dewar: Clearly.  I mean that’s, you know, to defend your sovereignty means that you are engaged, it’s called constructive engagement, it means diplomacy, it means you have actually shared responsibilities for places like the North.  News flash to Mr. MacKay, we actually are working with all polar countries.  We have (inaudible), which is a legal agreement about who owns the North and how it’s going to be organized and sovereignty over the North.  Those are the things that are already going on.  I don’t think it helps at all to build those bridges when you come out with comments like this.  And as I stated before, this is the role for the Foreign Affairs Minister.  This is not the role for the Defence Minister.  And I think Mr. Harper has to actually have his Minister account for this.


‘I hope this is not one of Peter’s games’

  1. I don’t know, is he looking to get behind the defence mechanism in the North?

    Did Dewar mean “missile defence mechanism”?

  2. Well, MacKay has just officially deep-sixed his candidacy for NATO, assuming that was ever serious. A loose cannon running NATO? Get real, no one would ever accept that.

    • Not o worry Jack. They were only planning to put one of those bearskin helmuts, and give him a little sentry go box outside Nato HQ anyway – no bullets in his rifle, of course.
      Hang on that’s Buck house. Maybe he could be trusted to walk the corgis?

      • Nice idea, kc, but I fear the other corgis would resent him.

        • I coud see how feeding time might get to be a bitch!

        • He’d start calling them “Belinda” and then he’d have to hold another passive-aggressive interview in a potato patch at his parents’ house.

  3. “it seems Mr. MacKay is he’s playing, you know, a little bit of Russian Roulette here”

    Is there some sort of recent NDP strategy to employ bad metaphors? First the “bed and tricks” of a few days ago, and now this. Maybe it’s all a consequence of that “kitchen table” brilliance from the last campaign.

  4. Peter MacKay, NATO Secretary General?

    Really? What’s next?

    Belinda Stronach for President of the World Bank?

    • Stockwell Day, Secretary General. UN.

  5. I’ve always wondered if any of the still-operational Russian ICBM sites have Ottawa as a target. I know that during the Cold War at least some Canadian cities were targeted.

    • I thought that the standard nowadays was not to have missiles targeted at cities by default, for safety reasons.

      That said, I’d guess it’s a moot point anyway, as I’m pretty sure that in 2009, re-tasking an ICBM is probably about as difficult and time-consuming as forwarding an email.

    • I’d say if one of the goals was to undermine Canadian moral, then probably not!

  6. All this talk about MacKay’s ambitions miss the point. The Wall Street Journal nailed it in their editorial yesterday – an editorial devoted to praising Harper for his war on terror and his “Reaganesque” comments on Russia.

    There is a vacuum in conservative leadership in North America and on the world stage, and Mr. Harper is stepping into it.

    If anyone is angling for a new job, it is Harper.

    • “Reaganesque”

      Well, he’s mismanaging the economy, spreading instability in Central Asia, and chest-thumping about the Russians. He’s also been a supporter of that Reagan fantasy known as “missile defence.”

      So, the parallels are pretty close.

      Given Reagan’s full record, if I were living in Latin America, I’d be very worried about Harper’s recent moves to focus Canadian foreign policy on this hemisphere.

      • Yes, a lot in common. But was Reagan a lying scumbag who liked to imply that other people lied?

        Notice that at the end of the interview, the WSJ interprets Harper’s comments and smile as evidence that Obama told Harper something in private that would mean that Obama is lying to the public. Sure thing. Does this remind anyone of the NAFTA fiasco during the election?

        Does the PM think Mr. Obama will become part of the problem? His conversations with the president, Mr. Harper says, have “convinced me that he and his administration get how dangerous protectionism truly is.”

        But then there is Mr. Obama’s opposition to the Colombia free-trade deal. Has Mr. Harper spoken to the president about that matter? Yes. “I’m not going to tell you that the president said anything different than what he said publicly,” says Mr. Harper, smiling. We’ll take that as a sign of hope.

        • Excellent Point.

    • Sisyphus
      Good story. If the govt can’t even see where its self interest is and seize an opportunity to be consistent and brag about it, then what the hell are they doing in power, other than playing keep-away. Kinda confirms what we all know anyway, that Obama’s just another life preserver for these guys and no soul mate. Certainly makes me think about the role of opposiion in parliament. Right now all progressive Canadians should be dippers or bloq heads even; since the libs can’t or wont ask the tough questions of this govt because their interests and Canadian’s aren’t exactly as indivisable as they sometimes like to pretend. This is such a good argument for breaking the choke hold parties have on individual MPs.

  7. A conservative trying to blow up a minor event without thought for the long-term consequences? That’s *totally* never happened before!

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