Global Affairs Canada considered the impact on Canadian jobs and global inflation when it made the decision to return a turbine for repair in Montreal to a Russian energy giant, according to a newly released document.
The “memorandum of action” prepared by Global Affairs, recommended that Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly grant a permit exempting Siemens Canada from sanctions against Russia and allowing it to return the equipment for use in a pipeline carrying gas to Germany.
The memo and the permit itself were submitted to the Federal Court in response to a legal challenge to the turbine decision filed by the Ukrainian World Congress.
Joly ticked a box corresponding to the recommendation and signed her name. She declined a request for an interview on the issue on Friday.
The memo notes that the specialized Siemens factory in Montreal working on the turbine employs more than 400 “highly skilled” employees.
In a heavily redacted section, the memo warns of potential job losses or the closure of the facility, though the scenario that would cause that outcome has been removed because it contains “commercially sensitive information.”
The document also warns that failure to return the turbine could ultimately weaken support for the Western allies’ tough stance on Russia and that returning the equipment would allow Canada to “manage the narrative.”
He says that without the turbine, Russia could blame Western sanctions for limiting the pipeline’s ability to operate, which would likely further increase global energy prices and global inflation.
“Russia appears to be taking advantage of this situation to blame Western sanctions for energy insecurity, even as it maintains the ability to supply Europe with the natural gas it needs,” the document, released as part of the report, said. a legal proceeding.
“Allowing Russia to maintain this narrative risks having wider implications for support for Ukraine,” the memo adds.
The memorandum recommended that the Canadian government introduce an exception to its sanctions regime against Russia to allow the return of the turbine and others used in the pipeline, to prevent the Kremlin from blaming the sanctions for the difficulties in Europe and undermining support for his support for Ukraine.
“The reduction in energy supplies will likely lead to further hardship for European citizens in the form of inflation, lack of heating, etc. and could weaken support for the Western allies’ tough stance on Russia,” he said. “Without the refurbished engine and continued services from Siemens Canada, Russia can maintain the narrative that Western sanctions are creating limits on Nord Stream 1’s ability to operate.”
It says Russian energy giant Gazprom has “already curtailed gas flows through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, citing a technical malfunction of an existing engine and the delayed return of the engine from Canada.”
The Ukrainian World Congress and Daniel Bilak, a Canadian who lives in Ukraine, have sought judicial review of the decision to return the turbine, which the Ukrainian government opposes.
Monique Jilesen, a lawyer for Lenczner Slaght who represents Congress and Bilak, said the Global Affairs document supports their argument that Russia’s claim to need the turbine is a ploy.
“The memorandum acknowledges that Russia blames Western sanctions for energy insecurity even as it maintains the ability to supply Europe with the natural gas it needs,” she said. “In this regard, the memorandum supports the request’s argument that Russia’s request to need the turbine is a spurious ploy to evade Canadian sanctions.”
Siemens did not respond to a request for comment.
Orest Zakydalsky, senior policy adviser to the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, said they had advised the Canadian government not to allow the turbine to be released because it would “show a weakness” that Russia would exploit.
“Once you grant one of their requests, of course they will do more,” he said.
He said the permit should be revoked.
– Marie Woolf, The Canadian Press