On Friday, NDP Foreign Affairs critic Paul Dewar took reporter questions in the House of Commons foyer. He ended up talking about John Baird’s recent trip to the Ukraine, to support the pro-European movement that has faced a harsh crackdown at the hands of the pro-Russian government.
Here’s what he told reporters:
I was interested to see that – I don’t often think of John as someone who is going to be out there in the streets protesting. I think that we all want to see in Ukraine is that we see some civil dialogue, that we see, you know, the governments look to what is about half the population at least or more, who would like to see some sort of relationship with the European Union, be it economic and political or both. So you know, minister Baird, as the minister of Foreign Affairs, has to keep that in mind. He’s our top diplomat and what we want to see him do is trying to bridge the divide between groups and play a role of facilitation to deal with what is a great divide in the Ukraine.
So you know, I’m not sure if he was aware of what he was – his activities were – the effect of his activities and what he was doing, but I think it’s important to be careful of what you’re doing when you’re in other countries. Joining the protest signals that you’re, you know, on one side. We’re supportive of the Ukrainian people, making sure that the government is going to be pushed to reconcile the differences and I think that’s the tones and that’s the actions that should be taken by our government. That’s the statement that we’ve put out. Mr. Baird has a different way of doing things.