Canada considered jobs and inflation in decision to return Russian turbines: document

Global Affairs Canada considered Canadian jobs and its impact on global inflation in its decision to return a turbine under repair in Montreal to a Russian energy giant, newly released documents show. I’m here.

A “memorandum of action” prepared by Global Affairs gives Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Jolie permission to exempt Siemens Canada from sanctions against Russia and return equipment for use on pipelines carrying gas to Germany recommended to allow it.

The government has submitted the memo and the permit itself to the Federal Court in response to a legal challenge to Turbine’s decision filed by the Ukrainian World Congress.

Jolie ticked a box agreeing to the recommendation and signed her name. She declined an interview request on her Friday issue.

The memo says the dedicated Siemens facility in Montreal working on the turbine employs more than 400 “highly skilled” employees and is the only facility in the world certified to maintain the equipment. says.

In a heavily redacted section, the memo warns of potential job losses or facility closures, but the scenarios that could cause that outcome have been removed as they contain “commercially sensitive information.” It has been.

The document also notes that not returning the turbines could ultimately undermine Western allies’ support for a strong stance on Russia, and that returning the equipment would allow Canada to “manage the narrative.” I warn you.

Without turbines, Russia could blame Western sanctions for limiting the operational capacity of the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, which would likely lead to further increases in global energy prices and global inflation, he said. increase.

“Russia appears to be using the situation to blame Western sanctions on energy insecurity, even though it maintains the ability to supply much-needed natural gas to Europe,” the document said. there is

“To allow Russia to maintain this narrative risks broader implications for support for Ukraine.”

The memorandum recommends that the Canadian government introduce an exception to the sanctions regime against Russia to return the turbines and import, repair and return the other five turbines according to their maintenance schedules.

That would stop the Kremlin from blaming sanctions for troubles in Europe and undermining support for Ukraine, it said.

“Decreased energy supplies are likely to create further difficulties for European citizens in the form of inflation, lack of heating, etc., and could undermine support for the strong stance of Western allies against Russia,” it said.

“Without the refurbished engines and Siemens Canada’s continued service, Russia can maintain its claim that Western sanctions are limiting Nord Stream 1’s operational capabilities.”

Russian energy giant Gazprom said it had “already throttled the flow of gas through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, citing technical failures in existing engines and delays in the return of engines from Canada.” says.

The Ukrainian World Congress and Ukrainian Canadian Daniel Virac filed for judicial review of the decision to return the turbines, which was opposed by the Ukrainian government.

Monique Gillesen, a lawyer for Lenzner Slagt, who represents Congress and Virac, said the Global Affairs documents support their claim that the claim that Russia needs turbines is a ruse. .

“The memorandum acknowledges that Russia is blaming Western sanctions for energy insecurity, even as it maintains the ability to supply Europe with much-needed natural gas,” she said. rice field.

“In that regard, the memorandum supports the petition’s allegations that Russia’s claim that it needs turbines is a dishonest ploy to circumvent Canadian sanctions.”

Canada was supposed to send the turbines to Germany and from there to Russia, but Russian authorities have so far refused to take them back.

Siemens did not respond to a request for comment prior to publication.

Orest Zakidarsky, a senior policy adviser to the Ukrainian-Canadian parliament, said he advised the Canadian government not to allow the turbines to be released because it would “show a weakness” that Russia would exploit.

“Of course they will benefit even more if we agree to one of their demands,” he said.

He said the permit should be revoked.

Marie Wolfe

canadian press