The Liberal government is facing criticism for exempting six turbines from a Russian gas pipeline from sanctions.
Opposition MPs summoned Liberal government ministers on Friday to justify, at a special meeting of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development Committee of the House of Commons, Canada's controversial decision to return repaired parts of a Russian gas pipeline to Germany.
The Liberal government is under heavy criticism from Ukraine for exempting six Siemens Energy turbines, repaired in Montreal, from the economic sanctions it imposed on Russia in following its invasion of Ukraine.
In response to the committee's request, the government did not hesitate to confirm that the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mélanie Joly, and the Minister of Natural Resources, Jonathan Wilkinson, would be happy to answer questions about this case.
Ontario Liberal MP Robert Oliphant assures that there is complete willingness and no hesitation on the part of ministers to answer questions from the committee and explain this decision.
< p class="e-p">The Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development voted unanimously to call Ministers Joly and Wilkinson to appear at the latest July 22, subject to availability.
This same committee also wishes to hear from representatives of the Congress of Ukrainian Canadians as well as the ambassadors of Ukraine, Germany and the European Union.
Tory politicians who sit on that committee have also called for Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland to attend and alleged that the Liberals were trying to prevent her from testifying because she would disagree with the decision.
This attempt by elected Conservatives to add Ms. Freeland's name to the list of witnesses called was rejected by a majority. However, committee members will have other opportunities to add names to the list of witnesses.< p class="sc-v64krj-0 knjbxw">Conservative lawmakers who sit on the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development demanded the presence of Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland, alleging that the Liberals were trying to prevent her from testifying because she would disagree with the decision of the federal government.
Ms Freeland is in Indonesia for a meeting of G20 finance ministers and was unavailable to comment on the news at this time.
This whole matter stems from the decision by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to allow the delivery of the turbines in order, he justified, to support Canada's European allies who are facing energy crises as Russia restricts access to its oil supply and in gas.
Last month, Russia's state-owned energy company Gazprom cut gas deliveries from its Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline, which connects northeast Germany, by 60%, citing technical problems with the turbines. p>
Recently, Russian gas accounted for around 35% of Germany's total supply.
For its part, the Ukrainian government says Canada's decision sets a dangerous precedent at a time when the international community needs to show resolve and firmness in the face of Russian threats and its invasion of Ukraine.
In fact, the Ukrainian World Congress on Tuesday filed a notice of motion in Federal Court for a review of Ottawa's decision, arguing that Gazprom's demand for its turbines constitutes a dishonest scheme.
We cannot provide a terrorist state with the tools it needs to finance the murder of tens of thousands of innocent people, argues the Ukrainian World Congress.
By contrast, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz welcomed the move, saying his country's energy supply allows it to continue supporting Ukraine with humanitarian, financial and military aid. /p>
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz welcomed Canada's decision.
In the United States, the State Department also supported the Canadian decision saying that it comes to strengthen Europe's energy security and resilience in addition to countering Russian efforts to using its energy resources as a weapon.
In spite of everything, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky condemned Canada's choice, calling it absolutely unacceptable.< /p>
In her motion to launch the committee's analysis of this issue, NDP MP and Foreign Affairs Critic Heather McPherson said she was appalled by the government's decision, which she says makes unnecessary sanctions.
Tory colleague Garnett Genuis called the move a slap in the face of the Ukrainian people, saying he believes it defies logic and constitutes a gesture of conciliation and compromise towards a violent aggressor.
A spokesperson for the German Embassy in Ottawa told The Canadian Press that the sanctions imposed by his country and the European Union do not specifically cover turbines.
< p class="e-p">According to the German interpretation, if the Canadian text of law had been written in the same way as in Germany, no exemption would have been necessary for the x27;turbine shipping.
Each state writes its sanctions differently, and the Canadian text was more specific than that of other states, says researcher Rachel Ziemba of the Center for a New American Security.
Neither Gazprom nor the Nord Stream 1 pipeline are subject to blanket sanctions from Canada, she said. This position is consistent with Germany's interpretation that Canadian sanctions would not apply to this shipment of parts had they not been drafted in such detail.
The delivery of equipment parts to Russia for a new energy project, however, would have been much more complex, admits the expert.
Still, even in a scenario where the shipment is exempt from sanctions, any dealings involving Russia or Russian companies are subject to intense political debate, Ms. Ziemba noted.
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