Siemens Canada tells MPs it never lobbied Ottawa for sanctions waiver on Russian turbine

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A prime official with Siemens Canada defended the power firm’s dealing with of sanctions involving restore work on generators belonging to the Russian Nord Stream 1 pipeline earlier than a parliamentary committee on Monday.

Arne Wohlschlegel, Siemens Canada’s managing director, testified that the moment Canada imposed sanctions on Gazprom, the Russian pure fuel supplier, it instantly halted work on the multi-million-dollar turbine compressor, saved the unit at its Montreal facility and knowledgeable the RCMP.

Wohlschlegel described the German authorities’s warning that the non-functioning turbine represented a risk to power safety in Europe as “a rare humanitarian circumstance.” 

And whereas Wohlschlegel acknowledged that the Canadian subsidiary warned the Global Affairs division concerning the “seriousness of the scenario,” he denied lobbying Ottawa for the controversial sanctions waiver the Liberal authorities ultimately delivered final summer time.

“These had been unprecedented world occasions,” he informed the House of Commons international affairs committee. “But ultimately, we’re engineers and never diplomats.”

That sanctions waiver prompted a raging response from Ukraine, which accused Canada and Germany of caving in to Moscow’s power blackmail. Natural fuel exports are a serious supply of funds fuelling Russia’s warfare machine.

“We weren’t ready to steadiness the scenario, the geopolitical scenario, between [the] Canadian sanctions regime and the power safety of Europe,” Wohlschlegel stated.

The firm, he stated, merely utilized for the sanctions waiver in order that authorities officers may make that call. 

The Commons committee has held a sequence of hearings on the query of whether or not Canada ought to have made that exception to the sanctions. Critics have argued the waiver weakened worldwide resolve to oppose Russia and set a precedent that different nations, confronted with comparable threats, may observe.

New Democrat MP Heather McPherson stated she fails to know why the federal authorities hasn’t dropped the exemption.

“Russia has no intention of utilizing this turbine and in reality the weaponization of power is a part of Putin’s plan for this unlawful warfare,” she stated.

‘This is just not our determination to make’

Wohlschlegel refused to get drawn into the controversy, or to say whether or not the Canadian authorities ought to now revoke the waiver.

“This is just not our determination to make,” he stated. “So we’re actually wanting on the authorities to instruct us.”

Wohlschlegel stated there are 5 extra generators related to the upkeep contract, initially signed in 2012.

Conservative MP Michael Chong stated there is not any query the export permits related to these models must be cancelled.

“You utilized for the allow,” Chong stated. “That was your determination to use for the allow. So, presumably, you’ve got a place if the Government of Canada had been to revoke the allow for the remaining 5.”

No work is being finished on these models, stated Wohlschlegel, and they’re in authorized limbo as a result of Russia has refused to grant the permits for their import.

Wohlschlegel additionally testified that the contract with Gazprom stays “on maintain” and has not been cancelled by Siemens U.Okay., which signed the unique settlement a decade in the past.

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