Canada standing up for its allies: Nicholson
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier greets his Canadian counterpart Rob Nicholson (R) at Luebeck City Hall, April 14, 2015. G7 foreign ministers will hold a two-day meeting in Luebeck to discuss issues such as Ukraine, the Middle East and Ebola. (REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch)
Foreign Affairs Minister Rob Nicholson has had some busy days.
But Tuesday was one for the books.
Canada will send 200 troops to Ukraine to train military personnel involved in that country’s ongoing conflict with Russia.
Canadian fighter jets have just come off missions in which they protected the skies over former Soviet Bloc countries Latvia, Lithuania and Romania and are now dropping bombs on ISIS targets in Iraq and Syria.
And now Russia, seemingly out of nowhere, has indicated it will sell missiles to Iran.
Needless to say, there’s quite a lot on the agenda for Canada’s foreign affairs minister as he meets with his G7 counterparts in Germany.
In an interview from Lubeck, he told the Toronto Sun that Canada will not shy away from criticizing Russia’s recent behaviour.
“It is disappointing, to say the least,” Nicholson said.
He was commenting about the fighting in Eastern Ukraine, the takeover of Crimea and news that the Kremlin announced this year that Russia will provide S-300 air defence missiles to Iran, of all places.
“The timing is very bad,” said Nicholson. “All of our allies here agree on that.”
Why Russia would stoke that fire at a time when there is so much conflict in neighbouring Iraq and Syria, he said, “is a good question where there is no clear answer.”
When G7 leaders meet in the months ahead, Nicholson said Canada will protest Russian President Vladimir Putin’s aggressive actions.
“Whether it’s in five weeks, or 50 years, Canada will never accept the Russian aggression in Ukraine,” he said. “Prime Minister (Stephen) Harper has been very clear on that.”
Nicholson said he will be delivering that message at this important meeting of foreign affairs ministers.
“We must stand up for our allies,” he said.
So, whether it’s sending over CF-18s to patrol the skies, supporting our allies in the war on ISIL or supplying 200 troops in Ukraine to help train troops, Nicholson said Canada will play a role.
“We are doing the right thing,” he said. “We are standing up for what is right.”