KELOWA — A former Canadian ambassador to Russia says a cyberattack on Canada by Russia is not likely and will stay that way as long as the two countries keep talking.
John Sloan was Canadian ambassador to Russia between 2010 and 2013. He now lives in the Okanagan.
Sloan said cyber hacking other nations is not unique to Russia.
“This is not just a Russia issue. This is a Russia, China, Nigeria, North Korea, international corporation issue. I don’t think we’re (Canada) a big target. We’re a small fish compared to the United States but I do think we have to take whatever steps are necessary to ensure our own cyber security,” said Sloan.
Canada’s relationship with Russia has been a rocky one in recent years. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has made it clear that Canada is not happy with Russia’s occupation of eastern Ukraine, but Sloan said that despite their differences of opinion, Canada and Russia must keep the lines of communication open, otherwise nothing will be achieved.
“We won’t get them to move by insulting them,” said Sloan.
Sloan suspects what is really motivating Russia is ego. He says Russia is playing hardball with the Western world in an effort to rebuild its superpower status.
“There’s a strain in Russian history of an element of paranoia, of encirclement. And I think that strain is still very much there today. One has to see it from the Russian perspective. I think Syria is an excellent example where we tried to exclude Russia from the peace process in the beginning. It contributes to this sense of paranoia, this sense of encirclement.”
Sloan said what Canada and Russia should be focusing their efforts on the Arctic.
“The fact is Canada and Russia have 75 per cent of the Arctic coastline. I think there’s a huge challenge for both countries dealing with indigenous peoples, dealing with development, dealing with pollution — I believe we need to work together on protecting the Arctic,” said Sloan.