Stephen Harper said Vladimir Putin's exclusion from the Group of Seven is no big loss because Russia under the former KGB officer has little in common with the West and operates an economy which is basically a collection of "oligarchs and criminal syndicates."
He was answering critics who note that Mr. Putin is nevertheless key to resolving a number of key issues for G7 leaders including the tattered ceasefire in Ukraine, the crisis in Syria and nuclear negotiations with Iran.
The Canadian Prime Minister, who's made a practice of harshly criticizing Mr. Putin over his aggression in Ukraine, continued his trash talking of the Russian President in an interview with CNBC that ran Monday.
"We are having a discussion on the shared interests of the Western democratic world. Mr. Putin, who is in no way part of that, has no place at the table and I don't believe there's any leader who would defend Mr. Putin having a place," Mr. Harper told the U.S. cable network.
CNBC noted that the Prime Minister's comments come as Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and German Chancellor Angela Merkel attempt to engage with the Russian leader in the hope of brokering a peace deal with Ukraine.
Mr. Harper called Ms. Merkel's efforts "quite useful" but said there's little utility to inviting Mr. Putin to the G7 meetings – this year's summit is in the Bavarian Alps – because his vision for Russia is at odds with the interests of the G7.
"Mr. Putin runs an entirely different system ... he runs an economy that is dominated by oligarchs and criminal syndicates, it is not at all like our economy, it doesn't share our interests, it doesn't share our values and so I think we need to have discussions where we can really rally the shared interests of the Western democratic world," he told CNBC.
The G7 group of wealthy industrialized nations kicked out Russia last year over Mr. Putin's invasion of Ukraine and annexation of Crimea.
Mr. Harper, who has predicted that Russia would never be invited back to the Group of Seven club until Mr. Putin is gone, said he brought little to the meetings."His presence in the past quite frankly was undermining the coherence and effectiveness of this organization and I don't think there is much appetite to have him back. Certainly Canada and I know others would strongly oppose him ever returning."