Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is defending Canada’s decision to grant a Canadian company an exemption from federal sanctions, allowing it to return turbines from a Russian pipeline that supplies natural gas to Germany.
The prime minister told reporters on Wednesday that although it was a “very difficult decision,” Russia is trying to “weaponize energy in order to create division among allies” and that Canada’s decision has taken to help Germany in the short term. as it and other European countries strive to reduce their dependence on Russian oil and gas.
‘Canada has been one of the strongest countries in the world alongside Ukraine,’ PM says, pledging continued support, including sanctions and billions of dollars in military and humanitarian aid offered to date.
The turbines, which are part of the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, were sent to Siemens Canada in Montreal for repair, but after the federal government imposed sanctions on Russian state energy company Gazprom, the company did not been authorized to return the equipment.
Canada has faced pressure from Russia and Germany to return the turbines to Germany, fearing the risk of further energy instability. The energy giant said it needed the turbines to continue supplying Germany, having already drastically reduced gas flow through the pipeline.
“Countries in Europe, especially Germany, have also massively stepped up their support for Ukraine, and we must remain united, especially in the face of Russia’s attempts to militarize energy policy, to divide us among ourselves.” , said Trudeau. “And that’s exactly why we made this difficult decision, to be there for our allies, to ensure that in Europe – not just governments, but people – remain steadfast and generous in their support for the Ukraine.”
The controversial decision – although supported by the United States and the EU – was strongly condemned by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy as well as by federal opposition parties. And, he now faces a legal challenge.
On Tuesday evening, the Ukrainian World Congress announced that it had filed a notice of application for judicial review of the decision in Federal Court, arguing that the granting of the permit “was not reasonable, transparent or duly authorized”.
“Over the past few days, the Ukrainian World Congress and the Ukrainian Canadian Congress have implored the Government of Canada to revoke the waiver…To date, our efforts have been unsuccessful and we have had no choice but to file legal action. “, Congress said in a statement.
Whereas initially invoiced by the Minister of Natural Resources Jonathan Wilkinson as a “time-limited and revocable permit”, the agreement allows the relocation of six turbines which his office says are “following a regular maintenance schedule” that can be followed in the future, with the possibility for the revocable permit at any time.
Backing Canada’s decision to return the turbines, the European Commission says that by doing so, “one of the excuses used by Russia to reduce gas flows has been removed.”
“The Commission continues to work closely with its international partners, including Canada and the United States, to ensure Europe’s energy security for the coming winter,” the Commission said.