‚Called the wrong bluff‘: Ministers criticized for Canada’s Russian turbine return during tense hearing

‚Called the wrong bluff‘: Ministers criticized for Canada’s Russian turbine return during tense hearing

Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly was challenged Thursday on her assertion the federal government making the decision to grant a two-year exemption to federal sanctions, allowing a Canadian company to return repaired turbines from a Russian-German natural gas pipeline, was done to „call Putin’s bluff.“

„Russia has weaponized energy by cutting the flows of gas to Europe. We hoped to leverage Canada’s role in the maintenance of Nord Stream 1 turbines to do just that,“ Joly said Thursday during her testimony as part of parliamentary hearings on Canada’s decision to return Russian-owned pipeline parts.

The foreign affairs minister said ahead of Canada making the decision, both she and Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson discussed the matter with Germany and Ukraine, encouraged discussion between the two countries, and sought to find alternatives including an ultimately deemed unviable route for the gas to flow through Ukraine.

„Knowing that turbines were being repaired in Canada, the German Chancellor reached out to us directly pleading for us to call Putin’s bluff,“ Joly said, going on to make an effort to tout Canada’s efforts to support Ukraine to date, from highlighting the range of sanctions imposed on the various tranches of military, financial and humanitarian aid.

‚Called the wrong bluff‘: Ministers criticized for Canada’s Russian turbine return during tense hearing

However, opposition MPs were quick to question this rationale, peppering the minister with questions over why this idea of calling �Putin’s bluff� has only recently been circulated, and why Canada didn’t consider it would be predictable that Russia would continue to use energy as a weapon regardless of what happened with the turbines.

„This whole decision was based on the idea that there is any trust, any belief that Putin would in fact continue to provide gas to Germany… He lies. We know Putin lies… Why call the bluff as you say, when realistically, he’s already told us, he’s already told the world what he intends?“ asked NDP MP and foreign affairs critic Heather McPherson. „We already knew the bluff was there. So now what we’ve done is we’ve weakened our sanctions regime, we’ve weakened Canada’s stand standing with Ukraine, and yet we haven’t actually helped get gas to Germany.“


Wilkinson testified alongside Joly at Thursday’s meeting of the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, speaking to the events that unfolded in the lead up to the decision, including the consideration that Canada’s sanctions regime was meant to directly punish Russia, not indirectly jeopardize European economies.

„The trap that Putin was trying to set by weaponizing the Nord Stream pipeline was obvious. Don’t return the turbines such that https://besthookupwebsites.org/sugar-daddies-usa/ia/cleveland/ Canada and the West are likely to be blamed for reducing the gas flow to Europe and risking dividing the alliance, or return the turbine and risk a perceived weakening in the alliances‘ resolve regarding sanctions,“ Wilkinson said.

During a heated exchange in which Conservative MP and ethics critic James Bezan suggested Putin was „playing chess“ while the Government of Canada was „playing checkers“ and was „outplayed,“ Wilkinson denied Canada was effectively enabling Gazprom to put more money into Russia’s „war machine.“

„I think Mr. Bezan you actually misunderstand a lot of the things that were going on,“ Wilkinson said, asking what the Conservatives would have done differently. „It’s very easy to make those kinds of comments.“

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

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.