In early July, Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly gave Siemens Energy Canada permission to service the turbines used by Gazprom. (Photo: The Canadian Press)
Ottawa – The federal government is taking steps to prevent the disclosure of “sensitive or potentially harmful information” during a legal challenge to its decision to hand over a repaired Montreal turbine to a Russian energy giant.
In a motion in federal court, the Attorney General is seeking certification that certain information reported by the Justice Department will not be disclosed in the court proceedings relating to these turbines.
In early July, Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly gave Siemens Energy Canada permission to service turbines belonging to the Russian state-owned company Gazprom, despite sanctions against Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine.
Ukraine has criticized the Canadian government for agreeing to a request by Germany to exempt Siemens from sanctions so it can return an early turbine for use in the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, which supplies natural gas to Germany.
The turbine was repaired at the Siemens plant in Montreal, the only place in the world where this device can be serviced.
It was delivered to Germany and was then supposed to be sent back to Russia, but the Russian authorities have so far refused to accept it.
The World Congress of Ukraine and Daniel Bilak, a Canadian living in Ukraine, filed a motion for judicial review of the permitting decision.
On August 3, a Department of Justice attorney advised the Attorney General under the Canada Evidence Act that she believed some of the information to be provided in the court proceeding was sensitive information.
Although redacted documents have been released, the government says some information should be kept classified because releasing that information would harm Canada’s international relations.
The Canadian permit also allows Siemens to import, repair and return five additional turbines used in the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, depending on the maintenance schedule. This temporary permit is valid until the end of 2024.
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