Mr. Putin and Mr. Harper

Larry Hughes

According to prime minister Harper, Russian president Putin is a “throwback” to the days of the U.S.S.R.

In many respects this is true. Like his Soviet predecessors, Mr. Putin needs to continue exporting natural gas and crude oil to European energy markets to help support the Russian economy. The completion of the Nord Stream pipeline and the proposal to build the South Stream pipeline illustrate this, since neither use Ukraine as a transit country.

Equally, Mr. Harper is a “throwback” to the Reagan administration at the height of the Cold War, wanting to block Russian energy exports to the European energy market. However, in Mr. Harper’s case it would appear to be more than ideological, by convincing the Europeans to reduce their reliance on Russian energy, Canadian crude oil and natural gas could gain access to a new market.

Published Globe and Mail - 28 July 2014