Australian PM Tony Abbott backs Harper's harsh words for Putin
Abbott will meet with Harper in Ottawa today to discuss upcoming austerity measures in Australia
Prime Minister Stephen Harper is getting support from an ally over tough comments he's made about Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott says it was perfectly appropriate for Harper to call Putin an "extreme nationalist" and an "imperialist."
Abbott arrived in Ottawa yesterday and will be meeting with Harper later today before heading to Washington.
He says Russia's takeover of Ukraine's Crimea region is an affront to international stability, and that no country has a right to bully another country just because it can.
Harper made his pointed comments yesterday in an interview with Global News' The West Block.
He said Putin believes he has the right and the ability to invade another country.
Harper said it's not at the level of what he called "Hitler-esque proportions," but he warned that Russia's actions are threatening global peace and security.
Abbott says he hopes to get a few tips from Canada on financial management when he sits down with Harper in Ottawa today, and that Harper has been a beacon to centre-right parties around the world and he calls him "an exemplar of a contemporary, centre-right prime minister."
Australia is embarking on a series of austerity measures to try to balance its budget and Abbott says he hopes to learn from Harper's experience in whittling down Canada's deficit.
Harper has said Canada is on the verge of balancing its books and Abbott calls it a significant achievement in the face of a $55 billion deficit in the wake of the 2008 economic crisis.
Abbott is to meet Gov. Gen. David Johnston and take part in a round table discussion with business leaders from Canada and Australia before meeting with Harper on Parliament Hill.