Canada’s Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, stated he believes the UAE is attempting to "capitalise on Ottawa’s operations in Afghanistan to secure more landing rights for its flagship airlines" (Arabian Business, 09-Jan-2010). The Prime Minister said Canada would "pick its allies more carefully" in the future following a public disagreement with the UAE over the granting of more landing rights for the commercial services of Emirates and Etihad. After the Canadian government refused to grant more rights, the UAE shut down a Canadian military base near Dubai which was used to support Canadian military operations in Afghanistan. The Prime Minister said Canadian efforts to fight the war on terror should have been exempt from any diplomatic feud between the two countries.
Canadian Government: “I could never see [Canada] treating an ally like that. Could you imagine after 9/11 if the Americans had come to the Canadian government and said, ‘We need help on something to do with security’ [and we said] ‘Well, only if you do something on Buy America.’ I mean, give me a break … When we, as a country, offer to be part of a international mission to help protect global security, then somebody comes along and uses that to try and leverage demands on our domestic airline industry, I don’t think that’s a situation we, as a country, want to be in.” Stephen Harper, Prime Minister. Source: Arabian Business, 09-Jan-2010.