May 052015

In follow-up to:  2015-04-24   Former PM Jean Chrétien to meet with Vladimir Putin in Moscow :

By Jesse Winter

Former prime minister Jean Chrétien.

Former prime minister Jean Chrétien.   CP


Justin Trudeau is keeping mum about former prime minister Jean Chrétien’s recent visit to Moscow.

First, Trudeau’s spokesman, Cameron Ahmad, said the leader won’t comment on whether he was given a heads up or not that Chretien was planning to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Second, he also wouldn’t say whether Trudeau supports the former Liberal chieftain reaching out to Putin.

Chrétien met with Putin on Thursday in Moscow in his role as co-chair of the InterAction Council, a group of former world leaders who advocate for global peace and security, economic revitalization and universal ethical standards.

According to an InterAction Council press release, Chrétien and Putin were to talk about the state of relations between Russia and the West – currently pretty frosty.

The Canadian government in particular has been taking pains to shun Putin politically. Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his government have used decidedly strong language condemning Putin and urging Russia to “get out of Ukraine.”

The government recently announced a two-year mission that will see Canadian soldiers training Ukrainian fighters as they face Russian-backed separatists in a shaky ceasefire in the country’s east. That brings the Canadian support for Ukraine to more than $400 million.

Harper’s spokesman, Stephen Lecce, says the government wants to know what Chrétien told Putin. “Mr. Chretien was clearly not representing the Government of Canada at this meeting. Our Government’s position on the Putin regime is clear,” he said.

A spokesperson for Chrétien did not return a call for comment. It’s expected that Chrétien will report the details of his conversation with Putin when the InterAction Council meets in Wales this June.


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