Canadian PM says that Putin is 'supporting the thugs' in Syria

Posted Jun 16, 2013 by Marcus Hondro
On the eve of the G8 summit in N. Ireland, the prime minister of Canada, Stephen Harper, spoke bluntly about the situation in Syria. He said Canada would not arm rebels but he understood why others were and he took a shot at Vladimir Putin.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper talks on the phone from his home office at 24 Sussex Drive
Prime Minister Stephen Harper talks on the phone from his home office at 24 Sussex Drive
Jill Thompson
“OK, let’s be blunt. We in the West have a very different perspective on this situation," Harper told reporters in Dublin. "Mr. Putin and his government are supporting the thugs of the Assad regime for their own reasons that I do not think are justifiable, and Mr. Putin knows my view on that. But we will not, unless there’s a big shift of position on his part, we’re not going to get a common position with him at the G8.”
Harper also said that it was more a "G7 plus one" and that he does not expect Russia and her president to stop supporting Assad. There is proof, the prime minister believes, that Assad and his army have used chemical weapons and he said he understands why the United States, Britain and France may move to arm the rebels.
“We are not in Canada, at the present time, we are not contemplating arming the opposition in Syria," he said. "I understand, fully understand, why our allies would do that, particularly given recent actions by Russia, Iran and others."
Russia and Iran are sending arms to the Hezbollah-backed Syrian government. Britain and France have not fully committed to sending arms to the rebels but U.S. President Barack Obama has reportedly signed off on shipping weapons to them. There is pressure on Canada to join in that effort but Harper has spoken in the past of being fearful the weapons could fall into the hands of "extremist elements."
"Our aid at the present time," Harper said. "Will continue to be humanitarian aid."