Polish Leader Reveals Harper’s Secret Canadian Military Trip

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Poland’s Prime Minister announced a visit by her Canadian counterpart to a warship in the Baltic Sea -- a visit Canada had kept secret on security grounds.

Ewa Kopacz spoke alongside Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper Tuesday in Warsaw and revealed Harper would visit a Canadian military vessel the next day on the Polish coast.

“The Prime Minister is going to Gdansk tomorrow where he’ll be visiting the Canadian frigate participating in military exercises with over 200 soldiers participating,” Kopacz said in a joint appearance.

The Canadian government had been keeping the visit under wraps. The frigate, HMCS Fredericton, is taking part in a North Atlantic Treaty Organization mission launched in the region last year in response to Russian action in Ukraine. Harper and Kopacz didn’t take questions.

Lieutenant Commander Alain Blondin, a spokesman for Canada’s Navy, said in an e-mailed statement Kopacz’s remarks didn’t disclose details of the ship’s movement and therefore “did not in any way pose a risk to our sailors.”

Canadian Defense Minister Jason Kenney, who is traveling with Harper, later brushed off questions about Kopacz’s statement and what, if any, security risks it would pose.

“I’m not going to discuss what exactly we might be doing in the next 24 hours, except to say that obviously the Prime Minister will be visiting one of our frigates,” Kenney said. “That’s one sign of Canada’s meaningful contribution to reassuring our European allies of Canada’s solidarity.”

Kenney also said he signed a statement of intent with his Polish counterpart toward the creation of a Defense Cooperation Agreement “that would formalize what are growing defense ties between the two countries.”

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