HomeUSARussian turbine hearing: ministers defend granting permitsOUS News

Russian turbine hearing: ministers defend granting permitsOUS News

Ottawa –

Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Jolie was challenged on Thursday over her claim that the federal government was deciding to waive federal sanctions for two years, allowing a Canadian company to repair turbines from a Russian-German natural gas pipeline. The “call” was made to allow the return. Putin’s hoax.”

“Russia arms energy by cutting gas flow to Europe. We hope to take advantage of Canada’s role in the maintenance of Nord Stream 1 turbines,” Jolie told a parliamentary hearing on Canada’s decision on Thursday. As said during his testimony. Russian-owned plumbing parts.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs said that before Canada’s decision was made, both he and Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson discussed the matter with Germany and Ukraine, encouraging discussions between the two countries, and allowing for gas to be ultimately deemed. Demanded to find an alternative with a suitable route. flow through Ukraine.

“Knowing that the turbines were being repaired in Canada, the German chancellor reached out to us directly and pleaded for Putin’s bluff,” Jolie said, from highlighting the border to supporting Ukraine to this day. Tried to avoid Canada’s efforts. Regarding sanctions imposed on various phases of military, financial and humanitarian aid.

However, opposition lawmakers were quick to question the rationale, prompting the minister to question why the idea of ​​calling it a “Putin hoax” has been circulated recently, and why Canada did not anticipate it. that Russia will continue to use energy. regardless of what happened to turbines as a weapon.

“This whole decision was based on the idea that there is a belief, there is a belief that Putin will indeed continue to provide gas to Germany … told us, he has already told the world what he intends?” asked NDP MP and foreign affairs critic Heather McPherson. “We already knew there was hoax. So what we’ve done now is we’ve weakened our sanctions regime, we’ve weakened Canada’s stance with Ukraine, and yet we’ve actually gasped Germany.” Didn’t help deliver.”

Canada out: Conservatives

Wilkinson testified with Jolie at Thursday’s meeting of the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, speaking about the events that led up to the decision, including the idea that Canada’s sanctions regime would directly punish Russia. rather than indirectly jeopardizing European economies.

“Putin was trying to weaponize the Nord Stream pipeline and set it up, it was clear. Do not return turbines such as those blamed for reducing gas flow to Canada and the West to Europe and splitting the alliance or returning There is a risk of a perceived dilution in the Coalition’s resolution with respect to turbines and sanctions,” Wilkinson said.

During a heated exchange in which Conservative MP and ethics critic James Bezon suggested Putin was “playing chess” while the Canadian government was “playing checkers” and “outplaying”, Wilkinson denied that Canada Effectively enabling Gazprom to invest more money in Russia. war machine.”

“I think Mr Belan, you really misunderstood a lot of things that were going on,” Wilkinson said, asking what the Conservatives might have done differently. “It’s very easy to make comments like this.”

Committee members voted in July to launch a special summer study into the federal government’s decision to circumvent Canada’s sanctions, expressing a desire by those involved in the decision to provide information on how it was made, and What are its implications and implications.

‘Called the Wrong Bluff’: UCC chief

Marathon committee hearings continued after ministers’ testimony, in which Ukrainian Canadian Congress President Alexandra Chikij explained her organization’s opposition to Canada’s decision to lawmakers, suggesting that Russia benefited from granting the permit. Will continue to try to exploit the relationship. energy sector.

“I think it’s always been about sanctions, not pipelines or turbines. And we’ve allowed ourselves, Canada to allow itself to be party to the blackmail, which resulted in those sanctions.” Exemption has been granted,” she told the committee.

Chekiz questioned whether the federal government has done – as it claims – made every effort to avoid lifting the sanctions on Gazprom, and whether the permits were issued in view of Russia’s continuing shutdown of energy supplies. There is no justification for keeping it.

“It is quite clear that Russia attempted the Nord Stream 1 debacle to test the resolve of Germany, Canada and our allies on sanctions. And we have failed that test. Germany and Canada did not understand that the test What was it. It’s about sanctions, unity over sanctions, not just on Nord Stream 1 … So when Chancellor Scholz says he made a hoax, he made a false hoax.”

His organization, working with the Ukrainian World Congress, has sought to challenge the decision in the Federal Court, arguing that granting the permit was “not fair, transparent or properly authorized.”

Ambassadors express differing opinions

Canada’s decision to allow the return of these turbines has received mixed reviews internationally. While it has been supported by allies such as the US and the European Union, it has been strongly condemned by Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky,

Moving on to differing views on the issue, lawmakers also heard testimony from Ukraine’s ambassador to Canada, Yulia Kovaliev, Germany’s ambassador to Canada, Sabine Sparwasser, and the European Union’s ambassador to Canada, Melita Gebrik.

Both Sparwasser and Gabrik offered insight into the rationale for their support for Canada’s decision as a short-term necessity as Germany and other European countries work to reduce their reliance on Russian oil and gas.

“We appreciate Canada’s investment in European security and its commitment to a rules-based international order,” Gabrik said. “With the withdrawal of this part, one of the excuses Russia was using for low gas flow was removed.”

Sparwasser told the committee that while the debate about turbines is an important one, with valid arguments from both sides, it should not be forgotten that it is a debate between allies who are concerned about their overall position of not allowing Russia to win. Unite in goal. War on Ukraine.

“No decision is perfect. None was easy. It was only after much research that Germany asked Canada to relax its national sanctions regime. And the Canadian government approved it after much deliberation. Grateful for the decision,” said the German ambassador.

In contrast, Kovalev reinstated Ukraine’s position that Canada is setting a dangerous precedent and renewed Kyiv’s call to reverse the decision, arguing that Ukraine is currently unable to provide substitute gas delivery despite the attack. would be able.

“This waiver is not a one-time decision. Maintenance of all six turbines in Canada will strengthen Russia’s ability to weaponize energy and derail efforts to address climate change, and it will be done with Canada’s blessing.” ,” said Kovalev. “It is now more than clear that the additional five turbines that were allowed to be further maintained in Canada will be turned into tools of disgrace by Russia.”

Ukraine’s ambassador said, “We urge you: don’t be tempted. There was no need to waive sanctions to fall for the Putin regime.”

‘Putin has nothing left to hide’

The issue bubbled up last month when Wilkinson announced that Canada would grant a “time-limited and revocable permit” to Siemens Canada, after allowing the company to return the turbine – part of Gazprom’s Nord Stream 1 pipeline – that had to be repaired. was sent to Montreal.

After the federal government banned Russian state-owned energy company Gazprom as part of an expanded economic sanctions program in retaliation for the invasion of Ukraine, Siemens Canada was banned from sending back equipment.

As a result, Canada faced pressure from both Russia and Germany to return one of the turbines to Germany ahead of scheduled maintenance which has since proceeded. Wilkinson said on Thursday that in June, Siemens Canada applied to Global Affairs Canada with an urgent request to continue scheduled maintenance of the turbines at its facility, saying it was the only facility in the world to provide the essential service. able to do.

Gazprom claimed that the turbines are needed to continue supplying Germany, after having already significantly reduced gas flow through the pipeline. This prompted the Germans to express concern that Russia might use not having turbines as a reason to further reduce its natural gas supply, leaving Germany without sufficient reserves.

However, since the turbine is back, Russia has further curtailed gas supplies and hasn’t installed a major piece of pipeline infrastructure, it said. According to The Associated Press, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz inspected the turbine in Germany on Wednesday and said that apart from missing information from Gazprom, Russia had no problem restricting the return of the part.

“With the issue of turbine maintenance being taken off the table, Putin has nothing left to hide,” Jolie said on Thursday. When the gas flow slows down, the world now knows for sure that It was the decision of Putin and alone.”

Although this was not clarified by the Liberal government at the time of the deal’s announcement, the permit allows the movement of six turbines back and forth for routine maintenance over the next two years, with the capacity to operate. Canceled at any time. To date there has been no indication that Canada is ready to do so.

Canada strongly defended the move, saying it was a difficult decision, but it was necessary to back Russia’s efforts among Western allies, as well as to ensure that European allies “remain firm and generous in support of Ukraine”. are capable of”, “which will be more difficult to do if their economies are feeling the effects of reduced energy resources.”

Defense Minister Anita Anand said on Thursday before two of her ministerial counterparts took the hot seat that the federal government was supporting Ukraine’s “complete stop” despite the controversial move.

“I’ve been in touch [Ukraine Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov] This morning and we stand in solidarity with our counterparts in Ukraine and the Ukrainian government,” Anand said. “They believe that we stand shoulder to shoulder with Ukraine, with a full stop.”

Following the announcement of Canadian Armed Forces personnel to be deployed next week to participate in a training mission of Ukrainian troops in the UK, the Canadian Defense Minister was questioned about Canada standing with the withdrawal of these parts. While Ukraine’s requests for military aid were heeded, some Ukrainians have suggested indirectly allowing Russia to continue funding its war.

“We will continue to inflict serious costs on the Russian regime in response to Putin’s illegal and unprovoked war against Ukraine. At the same time, it is important for us to support our European friends and allies as they end their dependence on Russian gas. Work to do. Import as soon as possible,” said Anand.

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