Harper Advises Businessmen to Avoid Doing Business in Russia

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has openly warned Canadian companies and investors involved in business with Russia of a possible blowback as he got ready to attend an emergency meeting where world leaders are anticipated to decide on suspending the Russians from the G8 and cancelling a summit in Sochi.

According to Mr. Harper’s statement to a Dutch-Canadian business forum, The Hague, on Monday morning, he mentioned that “we will not shape our foreign policy to commercial interests and when it becomes a global security crisis like the Ukraine-Russia situation. Business people have to be aware there may be risks to them and the government will take those risks because at those points in time the government’s foreign and security policy priorities become paramount.” Harper is headed to the emergency G7 meeting later on Monday, called by U.S. President Barack Obama, where leading industrial powers are anticipated to take a serious and effective step against Russia for its annexation of Crimea.

Mr. Harper admitted that he doesn’t like jeopardizing trade links but explained that Canada’s national interest in cases such as Crimea outweigh commercial concerns. He elucidated that “we don’t like seeing disruption to investment or to markets or to trade but the fact of the matter is when you are looking at it from the standpoint of a greater national interest … when you have something like a military occupation of a country by another – this is not something we can subordinate to economic interests.”  He added that “these have very serious long-term implications for all of us.”

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