Brazilian President says what thinks of Canada
Brazil is furious at Canada because our electronic spy agency listened in on the Brazilian Mines and Energy Ministry. It even spied on the minister himself.
President Dilma Rousseff said that "it’s time for the United States and its allies put an end to this espionage once and for all."
So why should she single out the United States and not mention Canada when it’s Canada that did the spying?
It’s her way of intimating that Canada was spying on behalf of the United States. Otherwise, why would she name the United States and leave out Canada?
The Brazilian government called in Canadian ambassador Amal Khokhar and gave him a dressing down. He reported back to Foreign Affairs headquarters in Ottawa.
At first Prime Minister Stephen Harper rejected Brazilian spy accusations, but he had to change his tune when Brazil threatened to reveal embarrassing spy details for Canada.
For instance, the Brazilians made public the name of Harper’s industrial espionage program. It’s «Olympia» and they hinted at making public links between Canada and «Petrobas. »
That’s when Harper decided it was best to “apologize” to the Brazilians. He did it from Bali where he was attending a conference.
But Harper being Harper, all he said was "I am very concerned about the information."
Concern? Is that the best he could do by way of an apology? Especially after Canada was caught spying on the Brazilian Minister of Mines and Energy himself.
Friendly countries aren’t supposed to spy on each other or their cabinet ministers. But they do it all the time, except that when they are caught, they apologize profusely and say they are sorry and that it won’t happen again.
Harper’s “half-apology” sounded more like what he gets away with when he’s caught in the House of Commons.
Nor did Harper ever promise that it won’t happen again, or that those behind the electronic spying will be severely punished. After all, when a country orders spying on the cabinet minister of a friendly foreign power, the orders to do it come from fairly high up.
It’s not some kid from the mail room at Imperial Oil in Calgary who gives those orders on his own.
The spying on the Brazilian cabinet minister indicates the orders came from the highest levels in Ottawa, and that it might even have come at the request of the United States as Brazilian Dilma Rousseff president is suggesting.
Spying on friends is tricky business. Friendship with Brazil is important to Canada. Canadian investment in mining in Brazil is more than $ 2 billion, or 19 % of total mining investments in that country.
Brazil also has huge mining investments in Canada. It’s time to move fast on the issue, before we have to pay the price.