Emilie Bergeron, The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson says the decision to send a turbine back to Europe to supply Russian natural gas was in response to a threat of rifts among allies with whom Canada is imposing sanctions on Moscow.
Appearing before the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development on Thursday, he argued that this risk is of particular concern to the United States.
“They expressed their concerns around divisions that could have undermined support for Ukraine, which would not be in anyone’s interest,” he said alongside Foreign Minister Mélanie. Pretty.
The latter reiterated that Canada’s decision was the best to expose the “bluff” of Vladimir Putin’s regime. She argued that Ottawa’s allies such as Germany, the European Union as well as the United States were on board.
“We were unanimous in the approach to take, that is to say to ensure that no justification, no pretext can be given to President Putin, she said. This very idea of using energy as a way to blackmail Europe was an approach (which we wanted to respond to) in common with our allies.”
Ministers Joly and Wilkinson said the issue of the “bluff” had been discussed with Canada’s allies from the start, when Conservative MP Marty Morantz lamented a change in rhetoric from the Trudeau government.
“That’s not what you said in early July, when you made the decision,” said the MP, adding that Ottawa had rather justified itself by talking about protecting Germany’s economy, which depends on Russian gas.
New Democrat MP Heather McPherson added that it was useless to demonstrate Russia’s “bluff”. “We already knew the bluff was there and now what we have done is we have weakened our sanctions regime.”
Bloc member Stéphane Bergeron also deplored the dismissal of the turbine. “The only person who had to literally screw up seeing the situation was Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin,” he said.
Members of the parliamentary committee are examining Ottawa’s controversial decision to allow the return to Europe of a turbine used in the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline, operated by Russian energy giant Gazprom.
The Canadian government has granted Siemens Energy an exemption from sanctions against Russia for sending a turbine to Germany after it underwent repairs in Montreal. The Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline supplies Germany with Russian natural gas. In all, Siemens Energy has obtained a permit to import, repair and return up to six turbines for Gazprom.
Minister Joly avoided saying whether Ottawa was considering revoking the exemption granted for the turbines that have not yet been sent, when questioned about it by Ms. McPherson.
Members of the Foreign Affairs Committee will also hear from other witnesses throughout the afternoon.
Ukraine’s ambassador to Canada, Yulia Kovaliv, intends to ask the Canadian government to revoke its decision to allow the delivery of turbines to Europe.
The government of Ukraine has previously accused Canada of setting a dangerous precedent, arguing that the exemptions undermine sanctions imposed on Russia in response to its invasion of Ukraine.
On Wednesday, Minister Joly and her German counterpart Annalena Baerbock, who were in Montreal, both insisted that the return of the turbines used in the Russian pipeline was necessary. But they added that the fact that the turbine remained in Germany after Canada authorized its return to Europe and Russia has since cut Germany’s natural gas supply to 20% reveals the president’s level of dishonesty. Russian Vladimir Putin.
Russia had cited the late return of the equipment as the reason for the reduction in the flow of natural gas through the gas pipeline that connects Germany to Russia.
German Ambassador to Canada Sabine Sparwasser is also due to appear before committee members, alongside European Union (EU) Ambassador to Canada Melita Gabrié.
– With information from Marie Woolf