Jean Chretien meets with Vladimir Putin in Moscow

Chretien meets Putin in Moscow, in face of Harper isolation: report

‘Mr. Chretien was clearly not representing the government of Canada at this meeting,’ says PM’s spokesman

Chris Young/CP

Chris Young/CP

OTTAWA – The Harper government wants to know what former Liberal prime minister Jean Chretien said in his meeting Thursday with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow.

And Defence Minister Jason Kenney said he hopes Chretien used the opportunity to deliver the same message the Conservatives always send these days to the Russian leader — get out of Ukraine.

The reports by Russia’s news agency that Chretien met Putin in one of his palaces near Moscow on Thursday appeared to catch the Conservatives off-guard.

The meeting was a slap to the government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, which has moved to politically isolate the Russian leader, blaming him for the unrest in Ukraine and Russia’s annexation of Crimea last year.

“I haven’t been briefed on what happened. I’m not sure if Mr. Chretien has chosen to brief our mission in Moscow. We would be curious to know what was discussed,” Kenney said during a symposium in Ottawa on Canada’s security relations with the European Union.

“All I can tell you is that the government of Canada has taken whatever opportunity we’ve had in meeting Mr. Putin, such as Prime Minister Harper’s brief encounter with him at the margins of the G20 in Melbourne, to be very clear about our insistence that Russia get out of Ukraine.

“We would hope that Mr. Chretien would have taken — availed himself — of the opportunity to convey the same message.”

Harper has avoided direct contact with Putin, save for a brief and memorable handshake at the G20 summit in Australia last year, at which he tersely told the Russian leader to “get out” of Ukraine.

Harper’s spokesman Stephen Lecce said the government wants to know what Chretien told Putin.

“Mr. Chretien was clearly not representing the government of Canada at this meeting,” Lecce said in an email. “Our government’s position on the Putin regime is clear.”

A spokesman for Chretien did not respond to a request for comment.

In the TASS news agency report, Putin is seen smiling at Chretien, with the two men seated in gold-and-white arm chairs in an ornate room.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was quoted as saying the two “discussed the painful points of current international situation.”

“It’s well known they have friendly relations or I’d even say relations of partnership,” he continued.

Unlike his fellow G7 leaders, Harper has chosen not to engage Putin over the crisis in Ukraine and has used some strong language to personally blame the Russian leader for it.

The Russians have also hit back at Canada, most recently when its embassy in Ottawa said it is both “counterproductive and deplorable” for the government to deploy 200 Canadian Forces soldiers to Ukraine as trainers to improve the combat skills of troops there.

Ukraine’s visiting foreign minister, Pavlo Klimkin, called it a joke that Russia characterized Canadian’s military mission that way.

The Canadian Forces trainers will bring Ukraine’s soldiers and national guard up to a higher standard so they can better repel Russian aggressors, Klimkin told a news conference in Ottawa.

Canada’s move can hardly be considered provocative, given that Russia has already compromised Ukraine’s border by sending in mercenaries and heavy weaponry, he added.

Kenney has said the Canadian troops will be 1,300 kilometres away from Ukraine’s restive eastern regions.

Klimkin was in Ottawa to meet Foreign Affairs Minister Rob Nicholson, who announced seven new projects worth $14 million to strengthen human rights, improve access to justice and give support to civil society in Ukraine.


Chretien meets Putin in Moscow, in face of Harper isolation: report

  1. Tsk….it looks so unattractive to see all those Con noses pressed against the glass like that.

    See guys…real leaders discuss things. They don’t have tantrums and hide in closets.

    • Well said, thank you.

  2. Well the guy is old. Maybe he forgot he retired.

  3. Where’s the pic of Putin handing him the big cheque, like the golfers used to get? I’m sure he got a Putin golf ball, mind you.

  4. Ah, good ol’ JC.

    ‘Minds me of when our government had international ol’ whatcha me call ’ems.

    • “whatcha me call ‘ems” = moral flexibility?

  5. Last I looked, I thought this guy was a private citizen. I hope, if he is doing anything, it’s for the good of world peace. You never know, JC may be able to get where many other world leaders can’t get, unplugged and open dialogued with Putin, something this government knows nothing about, unless, it gets them votes. JC is known for world diplomacy, maybe Harper could take a few tips from him.

    • What world diplomacy has JC ever been known for? He was doing this for “world peace” only if one considers “world peace” to correlated to the balance of his bank account. Wonder if he’ll follow the lead of his fellow prime ministerial countryman and not bother reporting it to CRA?

  6. If John McCain can travel around and be with his terrorist buddies, and if Tony Blair has the rights to be a spokesperson for the Serbian government rather then being in jail for war crimes.

    Chretien has every right has a citizen to do whatever he prefers. As for the PM’s spokesman comment about that Chretien was clearly not representing the government of Canada at this meeting in Russia.

    Harper has done such fine job by making and turning Canada into a War Mongering country whats more his economic action plan is a complete failure i fail to see how has Harper represented Canada over these past few years.

    I just hope the HST tax can be repelled.

    Not to mention Harper has done a fine job in Libya to. By leaving it complete Chaos.

    • I agree with your comments. Mr. Chretien made a very vise decision not to join USA in invading and destroying Iraq in 2003. He save many Canadian soldier lives and billions of taxpayers dollars for an illegal war.
      Under him we had a very good standing in the UN and the Security Council and also we were honest and in partial broker on Israeli and Palestinian conflict. Harper should learn a few things from the “old wise man”, it is never too late.

  7. Harper’s Cabal being one-dimensional as defined by crypto-fascist definition; struggle with shades of Kool-aid.
    P.E.T. environment legatarians like Jean Chrétien live the multilingual reality, which annoys the plastic embodiment of our current dictator.
    On the Fuhrer’s political children? I knew that he had a wife & children, but I naturally assumed that they came with the House. ..(it is impossible to imagine him as anatomically correct. At least Vlad takes his shirt off ;)