Harper warns Germany about Russia

Prime Minister Stephen Harper warned Germans about Russia on Wednesday, reminding them of the danger posed by a leader with a Cold War mentality who has brazenly seized territory from a neighbour.

MUNICH, Germany — Prime Minister Stephen Harper warned Germans about Russia on Wednesday, reminding them of the danger posed by a leader with a Cold War mentality who has brazenly seized territory from a neighbour.

“As unfortunate as it sounds, it’s increasingly apparent to me that the Cold War has never left Vladimir Putin’s mind; I think he still thinks in those terms,” Harper said during a question-and-answer session with the Bavarian Business Association in southern Germany.

“We simply, as a world, cannot afford the risk of Europe going back to being a continent where people seize territory, where they make claims on neighbouring countries, where the bigger military powers are prepared to invade their neighbours or carve off pieces.”

On the eve of his meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Harper suggested Germans know this better than anyone.

“This is a world we cannot go back to — I know the feeling about that in Germany particularly. We cannot go back to this. It represents an enormous long-term threat to peace and security.”

The prime minister met German business leaders to extol Canada’s economic virtues, but even in a corporate setting, the ominous events of eastern Europe were a key topic of discussion.

Harper was asked about the G7’s effective removal of Russia from the G8 earlier this week and what it would mean for the global economy.

Some European nations, including Germany, have been hesitant to level strong economic sanctions against Russia given their close ties to Moscow and the fragility of their economies following the 2008 global economic meltdown.

But in recent weeks, Merkel has been open to much tougher sanctions. She was reportedly infuriated by the false assurances Putin gave her about having no designs on Crimea.

Harper is slated to meet Merkel in Berlin on Thursday. The two leaders are the most senior in the G7 and have a close relationship.

Russia formally annexed the strategic Black Sea peninsula last week, shortly after Ukraine’s government was overthrown following months of pro-Western protests in Kyiv. The uprising has resulted in the biggest crisis in eastern Europe since the Cold War era.

Harper’s events in Germany on Wednesday focused on promoting Canada to the European powerhouse. The two countries did nearly $19 billion in trade last year.

The prime minister was asked about the energy sector at Wednesday’s business event. He expressed skepticism that Germany would be able to meet its goal of phasing out fossil fuels and nuclear while having a scant supply of hydro power.

“I do not know an economy in the world that does not rely heavily on at least one of those, so this is a brave new world you’re attempting; we wish you well with that,” he said to seemingly nervous laughter from the crowd.

He said it would be very challenging for Germany not to rely on some combination of fossil fuels, nuclear and hydro, but said Canada was ready to help.

“What I tell audiences at home and abroad: Whatever the energy mix of the future is, Canada will be a major producer,” Harper said, adding the country’s current challenge is its overwhelming dependence on the Canadian and American markets.

“We’re looking for ways to take that business, obviously, global.”

Just Posted

Ella Stoner, five, is ready to cut off her hair and donate it to A Child’s Voice Foundation. (Photo by Lauren Stoner Photography)
Central Alberta girl to donate her ‘princess hair’ to A Child’s Voice Foundation

A five-year-old girl from Rimbey has never had a haircut before. Now,… Continue reading

Asymptomatic testing will now be available for "priority groups" who are most likely to spread the COVID-19 virus to vulnerable or at-risk populations. File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS
Alberta adds 1,195 new COVID-19 cases Saturday

Red Deer has dropped to 760 active cases

Lacombe-Ponoka MLA Ron Orr
Central Alberta MLAs comment on UCP members kicked out of caucus

A pair of central Alberta MLAs have commented on the two United… Continue reading

Contributed photo
Johanna Hannaford: Central Alberta designer offers inclusive clothing

By Stephanie Rhodes Local designer Johanna Hannaford’s inclusive clothing creations are smashing… Continue reading

Red life-ring with splash
Started from the bottom: How a family business started and grew in central Alberta

By Carina Moran We started our business in the basement of our… Continue reading

Vancouver Canucks' Zack MacEwen (71), Travis Boyd (72) and Jimmy Vesey (24) celebrate a goal against the Edmonton Oilers during third period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, May 15, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Big third period lifts Vancouver Canucks to 4-1 victory over Edmonton Oilers

Canucks 4 Oilers 1 EDMONTON — Matthew Highmore scored twice in the… Continue reading

A vial of the Medicago vaccine sits on a surface. CARe Clinic, located in Red Deer, has been selected to participate in the third phase of vaccine study. (Photo courtesy www.medicago.com)
Canada’s vaccine rollout operation won’t miss a beat with new military leader: expert

DARTMOUTH — The sudden departure of the senior military officer in charge… Continue reading

Quebec Premier Francois Legault speaks during a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic, Tuesday, September 29, 2020 at the legislature in Quebec City. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot
Quebec premier argues province has power to amend constitution in letter to Trudeau

MONTREAL — Quebec Premier François Legault has written a letter to Prime… Continue reading

A demonstrator stands in front of riot police officers during a banned protest in support of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, in Paris, Saturday, May, 15, 2021. Marches in support of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip were being held Saturday in a dozen French cities, but the focus was on Paris where riot police countered organizers who said they would defy a ban on the protest, ordered on the grounds that it risked turning violent. (AP Photo/Rafael Yaghobzadeh)
Police fire tear gas on banned Palestinian march in Paris

PARIS (AP) — French riot police fired tear gas and used water… Continue reading

Photo by The Associated Press
NYC Pride parade bans police; Gay officers ‘disheartened’

NEW YORK (AP) — Organizers of New York City’s Pride events said… Continue reading

Welcoming cowboy boots at the historic and colourful Last Chance Saloon in the ghost town of Wayne near Drumheller, Alta., on Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019. The bar and hotel are up for sale. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘It was a going concern’: Remaining bar and hotel in Alberta coal ghost town for sale

WAYNE, Alta. — Built during the First World War, it survived the… Continue reading

A letter from a bottle that washed up in New Brunswick in 2017 is shown in an undated handout photo. A team of researchers from Université du Québec à Rimouski are trying to solve the mystery of whether a letter in a bottle that washed up in New Brunswick in 2017 was indeed from a young victim of Titanic shipwreck or simply a hoax. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, N. Beaudry, UQAR *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Real or hoax? Quebec scholars probe mystery letter allegedly from Titanic passenger

MONTREAL — Researchers from Université du Québec à Rimouski are trying to… Continue reading

Minister of Transport Marc Garneau takes part in a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2019. Advocates, experts and opposition MPs say correspondence showing close communication between the federal Transport Department and the Canadian Transportation Agency regarding passenger refunds throws into question the independence of the CTA, an arm’s-length body. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Emails reveal close communication between government, transport regulator on refunds

OTTAWA — Advocates, experts and opposition MPs say correspondence showing close communication… Continue reading

Most Read