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Dancella Boyi
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Dancella Boyi
2022-09-20 11:34
The vote is on the motion by Mr. Lewis.
Would you like me to reread it?
Dancella Boyi
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Dancella Boyi
2022-09-20 11:35
It is as follows:
That, pursuant to the motion adopted by the committee on June 6, 2022, to undertake a study of the Potential Impacts of the ArriveCan Application on Certain Canadian Sectors, the committee undertake three additional meetings under the study; that the Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development, the Minister of Tourism, and the Minister of Transport each be invited to appear as of September 27, 2022, and subject to their availability; that, if possible, the meetings with the ministers be televised; that additional witnesses be selected from lists provided by the parties; and that the committee report back to the House of Commons.
(Motion as amended agreed to: yeas 11; nays 0)
Ihor Michalchyshyn
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Ihor Michalchyshyn
2022-09-07 13:19
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I will be providing opening remarks and then we'll be happy to move to questions. On behalf of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, it's a pleasure to be here and to have had the invitation to appear before you today. Alexandra Chyczij, our president, spoke with you several weeks ago. We're here to continue to share the views of the Congress.
I hope that members of the committee had a good summer. We've been in touch with many of you and appreciate the work you've been doing over the summer.
Since it's September 7, I want to wish you a happy Ukrainian Canadian Heritage Day. Ukrainian Canadians have been here in Canada for 130 years. It's a day that's recognized in several provinces, and we're working to recognize it nationally. I wanted to note that for the record.
On today's topic, on June 15, the UCC wrote to foreign minister Joly, expressing our concern that the Canadian government was considering waiving the sanctions. On July 6, we wrote to Prime Minister Trudeau. We said about this turbine matter that it would be “a test of the resolve of the Government of Canada to maintain sanctions and to continue to isolate Russia.” Our feeling was that any waiver of Canadian sanctions would be viewed as “a capitulation to Russian blackmail [demands] and energy terrorism,” serving to “embolden the Russian terrorist state, with far-reaching and negative consequences not only for Ukraine or the European Union, but for Canadian security as well.”
Unfortunately, the Canadian government neither heard nor heeded our concerns, which were shared by the Ukrainian government, and the waiver was granted.
We see that the Russian government has predictably been very emboldened in demanding further concessions. Despite Canada’s and Germany’s capitulation to the Russian demands, Russia has, in fact, shut off the Nord Stream 1 pipeline entirely. No gas is currently flowing. There's a continuing escalation of stories about the reasons the Russian gas supply isn't working this particular week, or that particular week.
Kremlin spokesperson Peskov said on September 5 that Russian gas supplies will not resume until western sanctions are lifted, using the false pretext that sanctions are preventing the servicing of Russian pipelines. This, of course, is not factual, but that is not the point. The Kremlin lies brazenly and as a matter of regular policy. What matters, as we've said many times, is that the turbine issue here has never been about the turbines. It was about the sanctions.
Now, Canada and Germany continue to have a choice: whether to continue to play this game with Russian blackmail demands or simply to cancel the sanctions exemption and show Russia that we will not be intimidated in the face of its threats.
We understand that the Russian regime responds to strength. The UCC believes it's past time for Canada and their allies to show this strength in the face of increasing Russian aggression and pressure.
We call on the committee to do the following. First, urge the Government of Canada to revoke the permits issued on July 9, 2022, by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, which allow for the repair and transport of six Siemens Nord Stream 1 turbines over a period of two years to the Russian state gas monopoly, Gazprom.
Second, support the designation of the Russian Federation as a state sponsor of terrorism.
Third, support the expulsion from Canada of the ambassador of the Russian Federation and the Russian diplomatic mission.
Fourth, support the suspension of the issuing of travel visas by Canada to all citizens of the Russian Federation.
Finally, and most importantly, we believe the tide of Russia’s genocidal war against Ukraine is being turned on the battlefield by the Ukrainian people's heroic defence of their country. We know that the Government of Canada can continue to play a leadership role in ensuring that the Ukrainian people have the equipment, weapons and means with which to finish the fight and ensure the victory of freedom over tyranny.
There was $500 million allocated in budget 2022 for military and security support to Ukraine. Those funds have been spent and exhausted, so we urge this committee to support us in reviewing the ways that Canada can substantially increase its military assistance to Ukraine going forward.
We look forward to your questions and to discussing Canada’s support for Ukraine. I would also note that the committee may wish to consider in the future a working visit to Ukraine, as we've seen legislatures from many countries visit Kyiv and Ukraine to talk to their Ukrainian counterparts and get a sense of the matters on the ground.
With that, I will close my remarks. We're open to questions.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Orest Zakydalsky
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Orest Zakydalsky
2022-09-07 13:24
I don't have opening remarks. We're more than ready and we welcome any questions from the members of the committee.
Ihor Michalchyshyn
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Ihor Michalchyshyn
2022-09-07 13:25
I can answer what we know publicly.
We know that the Prime Minister, Minister Joly and Minister Freeland were in Kyiv on May 8 for a ceremony to open the embassy. We know that Ambassador Galadza is in Kyiv and working. The media coverage that we've seen notes that services at the embassy are still suspended due to the security situation, and that people have been directed to other locations across Ukraine or Europe for visa assistance. That's what we're aware of.
Ihor Michalchyshyn
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Ihor Michalchyshyn
2022-09-07 13:26
I'll let my colleague respond to that one.
Orest Zakydalsky
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Orest Zakydalsky
2022-09-07 13:26
I'm not sure why the government hasn't responded to those calls. We've seen several countries in Europe expel numerous Russian diplomats. We've not seen Canada expel any Russian diplomats since February.
Added to that, there was a fairly disturbing incident about a month ago, which was reported publicly. In Ottawa, at the embassy, people got out of what appeared to be a Russian diplomatic car and vandalized a blue and yellow painted bike that was placed outside the embassy, on public property. The bike was spray-painted and destroyed by what appeared to be people who emerged from a car that was later seen on the property of the Russian embassy.
There has not been any response to this that I have knowledge of. It is our position that the Russian embassy is a security threat to Canadians and that our government should be forceful in responding to that threat.
Orest Zakydalsky
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Orest Zakydalsky
2022-09-07 13:28
That's fair to say, yes.
Ihor Michalchyshyn
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Ihor Michalchyshyn
2022-09-07 13:29
The UCC isn't part of the court filings process, so this is new information for me.
As you mentioned, we've certainly seen a number of attempts to explain this, which we think is a poor decision. We keep offering our views on the opportunity to correct the situation. During the German chancellor's visit, we thought there was an ideal opportunity for both countries, with Ukrainian support, to make amends and bring some clarity to the situation.
The documents you've reported on have not been reported publicly. I've never heard any situation of Siemens responding that it would be going out of business if it didn't have this particular contract. It is a large multinational company with many processes under way, I'm sure. I'll let the documents speak for themselves, obviously, in court, in terms of how the government is responding.
Ihor Michalchyshyn
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Ihor Michalchyshyn
2022-09-07 13:31
Obviously I haven't seen those documents. Siemens has not met with us. Siemens has a lot of interests in Russia and other places, and I'm sure it's trying to understand the government's approach on those interests.
Orest Zakydalsky
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Orest Zakydalsky
2022-09-07 13:32
That is a decision that we hope the President will review and take another look at.
In the U.S. Congress there is wide support for this designation. A Senate resolution passed unanimously. We all know our friends down south; the U.S. Senate doesn't pass anything unanimously, but this passed unanimously. This was a resolution introduced by Senator Graham and Senator Blumenthal, calling on the administration to in fact designate Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism.
We also know that the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Ms. Pelosi, is a strong supporter of this position. She is, of course, from the President's party. We hope that both the Senate and the House will encourage the President to revisit that decision. We certainly look to you to encourage American legislators in your interactions with the U.S. administration, and to encourage us together to list Russia. In the U.S. it's called a “state sponsor”; here it's called a “state supporter” of terrorism, but the designation means the same thing.
Certainly this designation is long overdue. The shooting down of flight MH17 was in July of 2014, and certainly a country that shoots down civilian airliners is engaging in terrorism.
Orest Zakydalsky
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Orest Zakydalsky
2022-09-07 13:35
I don't know what Russia would have done if we hadn't waived the sanctions. I presume that had we not waived the sanctions on Russia, Russia still would not be delivering gas to Germany, so we're at the same place we were, except that we've waived sanctions on Russia. We've gained nothing, but lost sanctions that we had on Russia.
I think that's the problem. By undertaking this capitulation, we have done nothing except placate Russia. Obviously, as we can see, the return is further Russian obstinance and further Russian pressure, which is what we said would happen when the government took this decision and why we tried to convince the government not to take it.
Orest Zakydalsky
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Orest Zakydalsky
2022-09-07 13:37
They can make up whatever they want. If the point is to take away arguments from the Russian disinformation war, then I don't want to know where that ends, because they're just going to make more stuff up.
Orest Zakydalsky
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Orest Zakydalsky
2022-09-07 13:37
I honestly don't really understand the reasoning.
Ihor Michalchyshyn
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Ihor Michalchyshyn
2022-09-07 13:39
I have to say I agree with what you said in your question, that it is unclear several weeks or months later why there would be no revocation of this waiver. The Russian weaponization of energy has become emboldened—more dramatic, I would say, day by day—despite the efforts of the Germans to go along with the various conditions and demands and deadlines that were being imposed initially, such as the turbine and other matters.
I agree with you that it is not clear why we would continue to allow this waiver to be extended. It allows two more years of Gazprom making profits, which we know ultimately fuel the Russian ability to fund the war against Ukraine, a war that we all hope will be wrapped up with a Ukrainian victory in the near future as opposed to being financed and fuelled, literally, for years to come.
Orest Zakydalsky
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Orest Zakydalsky
2022-09-07 13:43
To clarify, the pipeline that goes through Ukraine is not owned by Gazprom. It's owned by the Ukrainian government and the Ukrainian transit systems. That is one of the advantages of it: The ability to manipulate it the way Gazprom manipulates Nord Stream 1 is not quite as apparent. Now, Russia can, of course, shut gas on and off at the border as it pleases.
Orest Zakydalsky
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Orest Zakydalsky
2022-09-07 13:44
My understanding—and I will check on this and get back to you—is that that pipeline is also not delivering gas, as part of Peskov's statement.
I have to check on that. I don't know what the state of it is today. I don't want to say something that's not accurate. I will find that and email your office after this meeting.
Ihor Michalchyshyn
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Ihor Michalchyshyn
2022-09-07 13:47
Thank you for your warm remarks.
I'll pass along our best to the UCC-Alberta Provincial Council. It is working incredibly hard to support the Ukrainian refugees who have arrived in the province.
As you said, we believe it's a precedent we've seen, particularly on some sectors. For example, in terms of the tariffs on fertilizer there has been a lot of impact on the pricing of fertilizer due to the Canadian tariffs; obviously with an impact on the agricultural producers in Canada. We've seen public pressure on the government to move on these tariffs, to reduce them and to exempt them. That's the most public example we can give you of where we've been urging the government to remain strong and consistent on this issue.
We don't think it's helpful. We actually think it's the goal of the Russian Federation to poke holes in both Canadian sanctions policy and, generally, western sanctions policy. They understand that consistency and coordination are critical.
I don't think they particularly care what they poke holes into. The more they can poke holes in the sanctions regimes, find differences between jurisdictions and build inconsistencies between our governments that are largely on the same page on this issue.... We believe that is their overall goal. It is part of their goal of disinformation to say that the west is inconsistent and incoherent in applying this kind of pressure.
Orest, do you have anything to add to that point?
Orest Zakydalsky
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Orest Zakydalsky
2022-09-07 13:49
No. I think you've covered it.
Ihor Michalchyshyn
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Ihor Michalchyshyn
2022-09-07 13:49
I think it's become the most high-profile international issue that involves NATO allies and Ukrainian allies and has continued to propel itself forward now for several months without resolution. It has caused the kind of discussion in Canadian parliaments, other parliaments and the media that requires tough questions and tough answers.
As has been pointed out, I can't give you clear answers on the Canadian government's position. You've heard from the German government's representative about its position, which we certainly have questions about as well.
This example can be wrapped up, as you said, with a review of this waiver, with a review of the facts and the situation on the ground, and with an undertaking to work with the Government of Ukraine as it had pledged through its ambassador and its government in its previous and initial reaction to the suspension.
We believe there continue to be many better options than the current situation. We are surprised by the entrenchment of the positions and the reluctance to listen to alternatives.
Ihor Michalchyshyn
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Ihor Michalchyshyn
2022-09-07 13:52
As our president said several weeks ago and as we're saying today, we don't think that meeting Russian deadlines, which we would call bending to Russian blackmail, to cancel these sanctions and to enact exemptions as per the desire of the Russian Federation would be a wise move. We support Canada working as a strong Ukrainian partner, as is Germany and as are many countries that are meeting to decide their future support, but we can't overlook this. This has become a major international matter. It is part of the Russian disinformation flow, as has been said. They continue to find an oil leak a week to find reasons they are not going to provide more energy to Europe, so we respectfully call on the government to reconsider.
Orest Zakydalsky
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Orest Zakydalsky
2022-09-07 13:54
I would say, first of all, that Nord Stream 2 was completed. Many people said at the time that its completion would make a larger Russian invasion of Ukraine far more likely, which is what transpired. Weeks after the completion of Nord Stream 2, the full-out invasion was launched. Thankfully, the German government has, for now, cancelled the certification of the pipeline.
Through the last decade or more, a lot of voices in Europe and in North America were making it quite clear to European partners that the policy they were pursuing was not conducive to European security. Nord Stream 2 was strongly opposed by the American government, but it decided to let Germany pursue this policy despite American misgivings. The result is what we see now.
Thankfully, after the full-out Russian invasion of Ukraine, a lot of European countries are revisiting the wisdom of their policy and are changing. It is no comfort to the Ukrainian people or to us that this happened after a Russian invasion in which tens of thousands of people have already been killed and thousands more will be killed.
Ihor Michalchyshyn
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Ihor Michalchyshyn
2022-09-07 13:58
We know that tomorrow about 40 countries that support Ukraine with defensive weapons are meeting to review what they can do to support Ukraine. As I think was mentioned at the previous meeting, it's quite clear that within Europe there are differences of opinion on this issue. The EU members that border Russia—the Baltic states and the central and eastern European states—have views and an understanding, given their history and experience of dependency on Russia, that I think are quite different from those of Germany and some of the other countries that have this reliance on Russian gas. Obviously the unity of Ukrainian allies is important, which is why the Ukrainian government took the unprecedented step of making a statement in this case, speaking to both Germany and Canada as allies of its war effort and in its humanitarian appeals as well. We definitely believe that this unity must continue. That's why we think the path back to this unity of purpose and unity of messaging and actions is to review this decision.
Ihor Michalchyshyn
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Ihor Michalchyshyn
2022-09-07 14:00
Again, as far as we know at this point, the exemption, as you know and as we know, is for these six turbines for two years, which is actually far broader than the initial story about one particular turbine. That has continued to evolve, and I think with the attention of this committee and with the attention of the public, we have not yet seen any other changes to any other sanctions policies.
Orest Zakydalsky
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Orest Zakydalsky
2022-09-07 14:03
Very quickly—
Orest Zakydalsky
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Orest Zakydalsky
2022-09-07 14:03
Very quickly, with regard to your earlier question about the pipeline, the Ukrainian pipeline is working at the same 40% capacity that it was.
With regard to your question about Minister Joly and Minister Wilkinson's reasoning, we respectfully disagree.
With regard to your question about the supply of weapons to Ukraine, we have just written to Minister Anand, calling for the government to make another substantial announcement of weapons deliveries, following up on the announcement in budget 2022.
We look forward to a response from the department of defence and from the Canadian government on further deliveries of weapons.
Ihor Michalchyshyn
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Ihor Michalchyshyn
2022-09-07 14:07
Thank you.
As you've heard in the President's statements and the ambassador's statement—I don't need to repeat those—we believe that the path forward is going to involve more direct co-operation between Canada, Germany and Ukraine to find a solution that everybody is pleased with and comfortable with. Ukraine has counted on Canada as a key ally in the last 30 years of building this democracy, and particularly now at this moment of greatest need with the Russian invasion, but it isn't a great moment. It isn't a great moment to have allies arguing with each other about this.
We do know that the Ukrainian people have the support of Canada and the Canadian people and we look forward to moving past this conversation and moving past this specific topic to return to a strong sanctions regime and to focus on the future in which there is more discussion of what Canada can do next.
Orest Zakydalsky
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Orest Zakydalsky
2022-09-07 14:10
I will answer quickly.
A week or more ago we wrote again to Minister Joly to make the point that now is the time to cancel this waiver. We have not yet heard back from the office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs. We will follow up. Should we hear something, we will of course be happy to share that.
Ihor Michalchyshyn
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Ihor Michalchyshyn
2022-09-07 14:11
We are, definitely. We continue to reach out to her office and we look for public statements and have been open to hearing any developments from their perspective.
Ihor Michalchyshyn
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Ihor Michalchyshyn
2022-09-07 14:12
We're not privy to the discussions of the committee in terms of travel, but we certainly encouraged our parliamentarians and government officials to travel to Ukraine at the safest and earliest opportunity.
Orest Zakydalsky
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Orest Zakydalsky
2022-09-07 14:14
Germany is providing weapons to Ukraine. It is providing them at a pace that is not the pace we would like to see. Any of your engagements with your German counterparts in the Bundestag that would get them to put pressure on the German government to speed up these deliveries would be most welcomed by us.
Ihor Michalchyshyn
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Ihor Michalchyshyn
2022-09-07 14:15
From an immediate civilian survival perspective, we have, through our humanitarian appeal, begun to talk about winterization. We know that there are substantial funds that the Government of Canada has yet to spend. I believe there is about $75 million that could be spent on winterization, which means everything from providing heating to basic repairs for people in all of these devastated villages that we've seen on our screens, where roofs, doors and windows are gone and people are left cooking over, basically, campfire stoves. Civilian winterization is essential to enable people to survive.
As we said, the next steps on military and security support mean identifying, together with our allies, whether Canada has more light armoured vehicles or missiles or communications systems that would be effective for the Ukrainian army so that it can continue its offensive and be victorious in this war in the shortest time.
Balkan Devlen
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Balkan Devlen
2022-09-07 14:23
Thank you very much for this opportunity to contribute to the committee's deliberations.
My comments are aimed at shedding light on what I see as the central question in the debate about the gas turbines today: Should Canada revoke the permit allowing the maintenance of the now-infamous gas turbines? The answer to this question is a resounding yes.
Doing otherwise—continuing with the sanctions exemption—does not advance Canada’s interests, does not help our European allies with their energy problems, and continues to provide the Russian dictator Vladimir Putin with opportunities for blackmail and leverage against the west.
Let me briefly elaborate in the five minutes that I have.
It is clear to all that the technical issues have nothing to do with Russia’s decision to first reduce and then completely shut down gas flows to Europe via Nord Stream 1. Russia’s actions over the years, and particularly in the last few months, made this very clear. There is no need to again go over the familiar terrain that has been covered in the deliberations of this committee. It's a political decision aimed at blackmailing and forcing Europe to ease or break the sanctions imposed on Russia as a result of its brutal and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.
Kremlin spokesperson Peskov said as much with great clarity on Monday, and Putin repeated the same thing today in his remarks. This fact is clearly recognized by the German and European public, as polling consistently indicates. It would be giving too little credit to the European public’s political sophistication to argue that they will buy into Russian excuses and blame Canada for the difficulties.
Therefore, it is clear that Canada’s decision to continue to provide an exemption for the gas turbines will have no role in determining whether Russia will resume gas flows to Europe or not, nor will revoking the permit lead to a backlash against Canada from the Europeans.
What it does, however, is provide an ongoing point of leverage for the Kremlin to create friction and discord between allies and enable the Kremlin to develop a narrative of western weakness and disunity by pointing out the carve-outs within the sanctions regime.
In other words, the Kremlin turns to other countries and says, “Look: Canada, Germany and other western powers immediately violate their own sanctions regime and carve out exemptions when their domestic interests are threatened. Why would you go along with this and pay the price when they are not interested in doing the same?” Putin is basically repeating the same line today in his talk.
Continuing with the exemption also does not help our European allies with their energy needs. What would help is to get Canadian LNG to them, as they have been asking for publicly and very clearly. Not only has Chancellor Scholz voiced his desire for more Canadian LNG, but other allies, such as Poland and Latvia, have been calling for more Canadian gas to Europe for a while. Clearing the obstacles in front of this real and tangible support for Canada’s allies is urgently needed. That is what a good ally would do.
Lastly, it is important to keep in mind the broader geopolitical context in which this issue needs to be considered. The strategic goal for Canada must be Ukrainian victory in this war. Supporting Ukraine is not charity but enlightened self-interest. What is at stake for Canada is not only the security and prosperity of our European allies but also the future of the rules-based international order that has benefited Canada and Canadians immensely. The country—Russia—that launched this brutal attack on that international order is not far to the east of us; it is an immediate neighbour to the north in the Arctic. Policies that provide leverage and opportunity for Russia are not in the interests of Canada.
To recapitulate, whatever the initial merits of the decision to provide an exemption, there are no strategic, political or economic reasons now to continue to provide Russia with potential leverage for the next two years. It neither advances Canada's interests nor alleviates our allies' suffering. The permit should be revoked and Canada should look for ways to get its LNG to European markets as fast as it can.
Thank you very much for this opportunity to talk to you today.
Marcus Kolga
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Marcus Kolga
2022-09-07 14:28
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I am simply Mr. Marcus Kolga, not Dr. Marcus Kolga.
Thanks to you and the members of the committee for this opportunity to appear before you today.
Over the past months, Russia has threatened to starve vulnerable nations around the world by blockading millions of tonnes of Ukrainian grain while shelling and bombing critical Ukrainian agricultural infrastructure to induce a global grain shortage. At the same time, Russia has falsely blamed western and Canadian sanctions for causing this food crisis, despite the fact that our sanctions do not affect any Ukrainian agricultural infrastructure or the transport of grain and food to those nations that rely on it.
Russia's weaponization of hunger is matched in cruelty by its use of energy to freeze Russia's neighbours. Many Europeans experienced this first-hand when Russia cut all gas supplies transiting Ukraine in January of 2009. Canadians only recently became aware of Putin's energy warfare after Global Affairs granted Gazprom a sanctions exemption to permit the repair in Canada of turbines that compress gas exported from Russia through the Nord Stream pipeline to Europe.
However, the Kremlin's use of energy as a point of geopolitical leverage did not emerge out of a vacuum. The former vice-president of Gazprombank, Igor Volobuev, told a Polish newspaper in May how he was instructed by Gazprom executives to develop anti-Ukrainian narratives in 2005 when Ukraine's political trajectory shifted toward Europe. He also created anti-Georgian narratives in 2008 when Russia invaded South Ossetia and Abkhazia. According to Volobuev, all decisions within Gazprom are made inside the Russian presidential administration.
If Canada's decision to grant Gazprom a sanctions waiver was intended to call Putin's bluff, that mission has been accomplished. It is now clear that our sanctions did not impair Gazprom's ability to pump gas through the Nord Stream pipeline. As we've heard from previous witnesses today, they never did.
Underscoring the false nature of Russia's accusations, a recent report published by the BBC exposed massive gas flares at Gazprom's Portovaya compression station near the Russian starting point of the Nord Stream pipeline. Flaring is a process by which gas producers burn off large quantities of gas for sustained periods of time. According to that report, $10 million worth of gas is being burned off by Gazprom each day. That is gas that would otherwise be pumped through Nord Stream to Germany and Europe or through existing pipelines that transit Ukraine and Poland.
Indeed, as other witnesses have pointed out, the Kremlin has now explicitly stated that gas will only start flowing through Nord Stream once Canadian and western sanctions have been lifted. This is blackmail.
Vladimir Putin's intent is to weaponize gas in order to erode western support for Ukraine and undermine Canadian and allied democracies by blaming us for rising inflation and energy costs through disinformation. This is happening right now. This morning, in fact, in Vladivostok, Vladimir Putin doubled down on his accusations about western sanctions and even claimed, “we did not start anything in terms of military actions; we are trying to end it.” At the same time, Putin made it very clear that the polarization of the democratic world that his regime is actively contributing to will greatly benefit Russia.
We're currently witnessing Russian state media and proauthoritarian groups promoting these exact narratives. Protests that were organized by Kremlin-aligned Communists and populist neo-fascists in Europe this past weekend will be exploited by Russian propagandists to build on them and destabilize western democracies. We cannot rule out that these false narratives will not inspire similar protests among Canadian far-right and far-left extremist groups.
In Putin's own words, the sole beneficiary of this polarization is his regime. Now that Putin's bluff has been called, the sanctions waiver issued by Global Affairs should be revoked and the integrity of Canada's sanctions regime should be restored. Sanctions work when they are applied, sustained and enforced.
Finally, Canada should prioritize the development of infrastructure to export Canadian gas to Europe, as many of our allies have asked us to do. Canadian small nuclear reactor technology can also help our allies take control of their own supply of electricity. In fact, Estonia recently signed an agreement to do just that. Canada can provide a mutually beneficial contribution to European energy security that will lead to greater overall European stability if we only commit to it.
Thank you, Mr. Chair. I look forward to your questions.
Benjamin Schmitt
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Benjamin Schmitt
2022-09-07 14:33
Hello and bonjour, Chair Ehsassi, Vice-Chair Bergeron and distinguished members of the Canadian Parliament. Thank you and merci for the opportunity to speak today about supporting Europe’s energy security.
My name is Benjamin L. Schmitt. I'm an astrophysics researcher at Harvard.
I'm a former European energy security adviser from the U.S. Department of State. Currently, I’m a research associate at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute, a senior fellow at the Center for European Policy Analysis, and a Rethinking Diplomacy fellow at Duke University.
We meet today nearly seven months after Moscow unleashed its horrific campaign of chaos in Ukraine, but let’s be clear: Just as Putin’s military aggression against Ukraine didn’t start with its February large-scale invasion, the Kremlin’s wider hybrid aggression against global democracies, including weaponized energy, is nothing new either.
With this in mind, we can look back on three critical lessons.
First, energy and critical infrastructure proposals advanced by Putin’s authoritarian regime are not just commercial deals.
Nord Stream is more than just a commercial deal.
Second, sanctions have been an effective tool to slow and stop Kremlin malign energy activities over the years.
Third, technology export controls remain vital to throttle the Kremlin’s ability to acquire systems and components needed to both wage and fund its horrific war.
Given the total state control of authoritarian nations like Russia, nearly every sector of society can be weaponized to advance geopolitical aims, from cyberspace to supply chains to space assets and, of course, energy for political blackmail. Knowing this, undermining sanctions unity on the Nord Stream 1 turbines simply to “call Putin’s bluff” is only justifiable in a world where Russia hasn’t been weaponizing energy for years—but it has. For context, we can look at Putin’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline.
Nord Stream 2 was a long-running geostrategic anchor that Germany openly clung to as Russia created a gas crisis last year. In 2021 the Kremlin intentionally limited natural gas volumes destined for European storages, most of which were owned by Gazprom. Despite this reality, Berlin convinced the United States government to waive its own mandatory bipartisan sanctions aimed at stopping Nord Stream 2, with Berlin agreeing to seek EU sanctions in the case that Russia took further steps to weaponize its energy resources. Even though Putin did just that, Berlin failed to seek those sanctions, emboldening Putin’s confidence that energy pressure could limit the latitude of foreign policy responses to Russia's horrific war against Ukraine.
Thankfully, Washington finally sanctioned Nord Stream 2 AG and its corporate officers just hours before Putin's large-scale invasion began, ending the project for good, hopefully. But distressingly, even with this fresh lesson in mind, history seems to be repeating itself here in Canada.
For months, Gazprom has cut flows to at least a dozen EU member states, including via its Nord Stream 1 pipeline, and since mid-June has cut by 60%, 80% and now 100%. Multiple technical assessments from German ministries and officials stated that Russia’s explanation for these cuts—supposed technical issues that could only be solved by receiving stranded Siemens turbines near Montreal—were nothing more than pretext for another political energy cut.
That’s why it’s so baffling that Berlin simultaneously pressured Ottawa to undermine its own technology sanctions against Russia. Even if Gazprom’s dubious technical justifications had merit—and they do not have merit—the Kremlin could easily restore gas deliveries to Europe right now via other routes where it's limiting flows. That it refuses to do so speaks volumes about Putin's malign intent.
Berlin pressuring Ottawa to undermine sanctions unity through the turbine waiver sets a worrying precedent from which the Kremlin will learn a troubling lesson—that weaponizing energy dependence can be effective at breaking western consensus on the very technology export controls that are curbing Russia’s military potential and economic engine.
Russia’s refusal this summer to take custody of the first of the turbines transferred to Germany raises questions about Ottawa’s subsequent decision to stand by its waiver after the visit of German Chancellor Scholz in late August, when news reports say that it authorized the transfer of five additional Siemens turbines.
To cap off the saga, this week Kremlin spokesperson Peskov stated out loud what the world knew for months, that the turbine story was a cover for energy weaponization, declaring that the cuts will continue until sanctions are dropped, and that “Other reasons that would cause problems with the pumping [simply] don’t exist.”
In closing, I will leave you with three very brief recommendations.
One, Canada should reverse the turbine sanctions waiver as soon as possible, backed by political endorsements from Germany and the United States.
Two, Canada should expand sanctions on the Putin regime and increase LNG export capacity, incentivizing exports to European partners and allies.
Three, Canada should pass legislation to curb Kremlin strategic corruption in western democracies, just like what I proposed to U.S. Congress, called the “stop helping America’s malign enemies, SHAME, act”.
In our dire struggle against Russia's criminal onslaught against Ukraine, Putin and his authoritarian cronies need to see a wall of strength from democracies unwilling to waiver in their resolve to hold the Kremlin to account. Then there will be only one nation forced to change its foreign policy in order to avoid “Ukraine fatigue”, and that would be Putin's Russia.
Thank you for your attention.
I look forward to your questions today.
Benjamin Schmitt
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Benjamin Schmitt
2022-09-07 14:41
I think Canada can play a major role here. Obviously increasing the amount of export infrastructure on Canada's Atlantic coast is incredibly important as well as using the St. Lawrence Seaway to the greatest extent possible potentially to bring LNG through the Great Lakes. Again, I defer to Canadian experts on the various routes, but it can be done.
With that in mind, we also have to look at the extent to which Canada and other western allies can help the EU take a war-time level of effort to build out the energy import infrastructure as quickly as possible to increase the bandwidth of LNG that can be brought in to displace Russian natural gas.
Of course, we want to move to renewables as quickly as possible and of course we need to address the climate crisis but in a war-time contingency we need a one-for-one swap with these volumes.
Benjamin Schmitt
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Benjamin Schmitt
2022-09-07 14:44
Like a lot of the G7 members that are producers, including the United States and others, Canada needs to make sure that global democracies are making our energy resources available to Europe as quickly as possible.
I do want to point out on the German side that they're doing a number of things. Two floating storage and regasification units in Brunsbuettel and Wilhelmshaven, Germany are being built, but there also is a need to build out floating storage and regasification units, or floating LNG import terminals, at locations that are strategic and have existing infrastructure. There's been some talk in the media about potential companies that are thinking about this at Lubmin, Germany, but Lubmin is the point of contact where Nord Stream 2 comes onshore. In June the economic ministry in Berlin came out and said that they were considering a plan to expropriate the Nord Stream 2 pipelines in German waters, physically cut and sever them away from the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which is currently unused due to U.S. sanctions, and attach them to floating storage and regasification units to bring non-Russian LNG through those systems and through the Lubmin gas hub and the EUGAL pipeline onshore.
This would basically be a war-time level of effort and speed to leverage existing infrastructure. That still hasn't happened yet. We need more signals from Berlin that that's going to happen. That's got to happen infrastructure-wise on both sides of the Atlantic, and we need to do it awfully quickly.
Marcus Kolga
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Marcus Kolga
2022-09-07 14:46
There certainly is demand in the Baltic states, and there has been, for quite some time, for the export of Canadian energy. As I mentioned in my opening remarks, Canada and Estonia have just recently signed an agreement to develop a program to build small-scale nuclear reactors in Estonia to wean that country off Russian electrical supplies. Lithuania, about three or four years ago, built an offshore LNG terminal, and officials in all three Baltic states have clearly stated that they would welcome Canadian gas in those countries.
There are opportunities for Canada to begin exporting gas quickly. There was previously a question about the timelines to build some of this infrastructure. In the United States, there is technology available right now to build offshore export LNG terminals off the coast of Canada. These could be built within 12 months, and we could start exporting LNG to the Baltic states and other European countries quite quickly.
There are other trade opportunities, of course, in the IT sector. Estonia is a leader in developing e-government technologies and such. They've recently set up shop here in Canada, and I think that Canada could greatly benefit from working with Estonia to develop our own technologies here.
So there are plenty of opportunities, and the fact that Canada has established and has announced that it will establish full embassies in all three Baltic states is certainly a positive sign.
Balkan Devlen
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Balkan Devlen
2022-09-07 14:49
Effectively speaking, Belarus is a de facto colony of Russia right now under Lukashenko's rule. It has been and it continues to be a staging ground for Russian forces. During the first phase of the war, they did invade from Belarus as well. They continue to carry out missile strikes from Belarus. The Russian planes and air force continue to attack Ukraine through Belarus, and Belarusian ammunition-deposed missiles and artillery shells, etc. are being basically transported and used by Russia in this war.
Perhaps the only silver lining is that, partly because of the resistance of the Belarusian people, Lukashenko could not enter the war in full force on the side of Russia knowing that there is huge resistance, a significant resistance, to such a clear, open intervention, but that does not necessarily mean that it will not happen in the future. Particularly if the Ukrainian counteroffensive in the south goes well, Russia might end up using the available strategic resources, particularly long-range missiles and others, in Belarus to threaten and attack Kyiv more, not necessarily with ground troops but with missiles and artillery shells and the air force. That might bring Belarus in to fight more, but we have to treat this and assume that Belarus, under Lukashenko, continues to pose a threat to European peace and stability.
Balkan Devlen
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Balkan Devlen
2022-09-07 14:51
I'm happy to jump in.
This will be a long war. I think one of the biggest threats today is to resist the attempts by Russia to freeze the existing status quo when and if the Ukrainian counteroffensive is successful and Russia tries to freeze the current battle lines instead of withdrawing. I see that as one of the biggest threats in the next three to six months.
Benjamin Schmitt
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Benjamin Schmitt
2022-09-07 14:52
I'll say just one line. One of the biggest threats outside of Ukraine and outside of the conflict directly is losing western support, which we absolutely can't do. We have to make sure that western support is maintained so that Ukraine is supported with all of the weapons and all of the sanctions that are needed to make sure that the Putin regime cannot succeed in Ukraine.
As we're going into this energy crisis—it's been a crisis for almost two years now—we absolutely need to make sure that Putin cannot weaponize energy in order to diminish western resolve to defeat the Russian Federation, and we need to make sure that Ukraine is victorious.
Marcus Kolga
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Marcus Kolga
2022-09-07 14:54
I completely agree that we have the worst of both worlds. We've arrived at a lose-lose situation.
The fact that we have compromised on these sanctions opens the door to other allies doing the same. They can justify that action by pointing to our decision to provide that exemption to Gazprom. That is problematic.
Publicly, our NATO allies are going to be supportive of any decision that we take. We worked with the Germans on this issue. Privately—certainly among our eastern European NATO allies and in the Baltic states, Poland and beyond—our decision raised eyebrows. This decision also raised eyebrows among Russian opposition leaders. They all understand that what Putin is very much hoping for is a return to business as usual. The erosion of sanctions, as he clearly mentioned today in Vladivostok, is one of his primary goals at the moment.
I think that Canada still has an opportunity to correct that decision by cancelling that permit to Gazprom and rebuilding confidence in our sanctions regime. That's vital today to maintain that cohesion among our allies, but also to maintain trust in our own defence policy, foreign policy and sanctions policy.
Benjamin Schmitt
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Benjamin Schmitt
2022-09-07 14:56
That's an incredibly prescient question. It's something we'll have to monitor over the next several weeks and months.
The bottom line is it's one thing to have storage—you absolutely need to have this storage built up as high as possible before the winter—but there also have to be latent LNG imports or natural gas flows backing that up throughout the winter. It's not just “fill it up to 100% and then you're good for the winter”; you really need to have additional flows of that resource going on.
That means if you can't increase the flows very much because Russia is actively cutting off gas flows, you also have to do a lot for energy efficiency. That's exactly what the German government and German people are doing right now. It will have to continue and it will have to continue across Europe. Partners and allies need to supply as many energy resources to Europe as possible, especially in the next few months, to make sure that they get through the winter.
Benjamin Schmitt
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Benjamin Schmitt
2022-09-07 14:58
No, they're not. The bottom line is we have to have policies that are based on science and technology that undergird our decision-making. Simply to set up this scenario in which we're pushing back on disinformation to call someone's bluff...the fact of the matter is that the German government several times pointed out that this was not backed up by technical reality—the Bundesnetzagentur, the Wirtschaftsministerium, etc. Siemens just this week said about this purported oil leak that “such leaks do not normally affect the operation of a turbine and can be sealed on site. It is a routine procedure within the scope of maintenance work.... In the past...the occurrence of this type of leak has not led to a shutdown of operations.
The bottom line is we need to turn back these waivers to restore sanctions unity because Putin will enact as much as possible energy weaponization to open up where he's really being hurt right now, which is in technology-calibrated sanctions that are undermining his ability to get systems that can drive his economy, energy technologies and things of this nature, and also dual-use weapons technologies—things like semiconductors. There have been any number of reports of Ukrainian military personnel opening up captured Russian military equipment and, lo and behold, inside are commercial semiconductor products that are stripped out of products like washing machines and dishwashers and things like this. That means our technology sanctions are working. That's why we can't allow energy weaponization to push back on this technology-calibrated sanctions approach. That's why, as global democracies, we collectively have to have foreign policy that is driven by technical reality.
Marcus Kolga
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Marcus Kolga
2022-09-07 15:02
I think there's a lot that Canada could be doing to make our own sanctions regime more effective.
First and foremost is working with our allies to harmonize our policies and legislation with the United States, the EU and the U.K. We should be stepping up the enforcement of our sanctions policy. To date, since the start of the war, the RCMP has seized $122.3 million worth of Russian assets. We know for a fact that Russian oligarchs have billions of dollars of assets hidden well in plain sight in this country. We need to be doing a heck of a lot more. If we intend to use our sanctions policy as a consequence and a cost for these foreign regimes, we need to make sure we're using that legislation properly.
During the past six months, the Canadian government enacted new legislation and an amendment to the Special Economic Measures Act that would also allow our government to repurpose some of those assets that have been frozen. We need to start using that legislation. We need to start repurposing some of those billions of dollars that are hidden in this country. We could use some of those funds to help support Ukraine in its struggle to push Russia back past the February 24 border, to reclaim Crimea and to rebuild the country.
We could also be introducing a measure of transparency to the entire process of how those sanctions are imposed, who they're being imposed on and what sorts of assets these targeted individuals have. There should be some accountability through regular reporting.
I would also suggest that this committee be given the power to nominate candidates for our sanctions list. You are experts in Parliament. You've heard from experts and you know who these human rights abusers are, those who threaten the stability of western democracies even in their own countries. You know who these people are. Giving this committee more power to designate individuals and entities for our sanctions list is also important.
One of the most important things that you could do is have that review of our sanctions legislation as you've proposed. I and, I think, a lot of other human rights activists in Canada and elsewhere would very much support this as, I'm sure, Vladimir Kara-Murza would.
Marcus Kolga
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Marcus Kolga
2022-09-07 15:05
Certainly. There are several thousand political prisoners in Russia today since the war began. In the first few months of the war, thousands of Russians took to the streets to protest this war. They were all brutally arrested. The entire Russian opposition, the ones who remained in Russia, have been detained. That includes Vladimir Kara-Murza, Ilya Yashin and others. They are likely going to be in prison, as you mentioned, for 10 years or possibly more.
We should be looking at those individuals and those Russian officials who ordered their arrest from the Kremlin, all the way down to those officials who were involved in putting them into jail. We should be looking at all of those individuals and placing sanctions on them.
There's a lot more that we can do with our Magnitsky legislation which, of course, targets specific human rights abusers in regimes like those in Russia.
Marcus Kolga
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Marcus Kolga
2022-09-07 15:08
That's a very good question. I saw that same report.
According to that report, by August 9 the RCMP had initially reported that $289-million worth of Russian assets had been frozen. They then revised that number to $122.3 million. I'm not sure what would account for that sort of drop. It could be the shares in stocks. Certainly, there's one rather large steel company that is owned by a prominent Putin-linked oligarch and that has found itself in quite a bit of hot water since the war started. It's entirely possible that the value of that company, because of the sanctions, because of the war, has dropped. It could be that other assets may have fallen in value because of that war as well. It could be because of that.
I'm not sure how to account for that.
Balkan Devlen
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Balkan Devlen
2022-09-07 15:10
Philosophers call that a moral hazard. That is, it creates conditions under which your actions with a narrow definition of interest led further down to unintended consequences that actually harm both your own interests and others'. As I said in my opening remarks, once you start carving out exemptions for domestic political reasons, everyone else starts asking the same, and therefore you create a Swiss cheese of sanctions. Everyone starts jumping from one part to another. It thus undermines the sanctions.
Sanctions work in the long term when they are united and they are consistently applied. You're not going to be accused of hypocrisy when you're asking other countries in, say, the global south to sanction or to join the sanctions against Russia at the same time that you're providing carve-outs for your domestic political or economic interests.
So it significantly undermines credibility as well as the sanctions regime.
Benjamin Schmitt
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Benjamin Schmitt
2022-09-07 15:12
Thanks so much. That's an excellent question.
The bottom line is that Russia has been weaponizing energy for many years. This has a wide definition. First of all, there are the overt gas cuts that we can see have happened dozens of times over the years. I can supply the committee with a list of every one that I am aware of, but I know it's long, with at least 20 or 30 of these sorts of instances.
This doesn't necessarily mirror military conflicts that the Russian Federation has been in, because the Russian Federation under Vladimir Putin has been in a hybrid war at the same time during many of the conflicts you mentioned, at least since the mid-2000s through now, with the west, and has been using energy in one way or another to either create market uncertainty and energy insecurity by actual energy cuts or by doing what I'm really concerned about as well, which is using energy as a means of strategic corruption, to enact energy deals and things like this and then allow for elite capture around this.
We saw this in 2005-06 when former German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder stepped out of office. At the end of his tenure in office, he was supporting Nord Stream 1 and was basically pushing that project forward. He stepped down and was chairman of Nord Stream AG. We saw this go on with Nord Stream 2 and things around Nord Stream 2. Former Austrian economy minister Hans Jörg Schelling became Nord Stream AG's senior adviser after stepping out of office. Former Austrian foreign minister Karin Kneissl stepped out of office. Of course, she was famously covered in the press for having Putin at her wedding and dancing with Putin at her wedding. She stepped out of office after supporting Nord Stream 2 and other pro-Russian policies while in office, and was appointed a board member of Russian state-owned oil company Rosneft. Former French prime minister François Fillon was nominated to not one but two Russian state-owned oil and gas trading companies.
So this really is a concern, and this is what I'm constantly calling for in the United States, which is to start this norm-setting process. The United States should pass an act called the “stop helping America's maligned enemies, SHAME, act”. When small-case shame doesn't work, you need large-case shame. It doesn't have to be called that here in Canada, but Canada can join in this effort. There should be a Magnitsky-level anti-elite capture and anti-strategic corruption effort legislatively throughout global democracies to make sure that former officials cannot leave the public trust and then work for authoritarian state-owned enterprises.
It shouldn't be controversial. This is something that this Parliament can do today, if it would like to, or at least put out a statement saying that it's the sense of Parliament that this sort of practice can no longer happen, because it's still legal in too many jurisdictions.
Benjamin Schmitt
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Benjamin Schmitt
2022-09-07 15:15
Marcus Kolga
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Marcus Kolga
2022-09-07 15:16
That information war would have simply continued. Now that we have returned that turbine, we see it continue. The Russian government has continuously made excuses to reduce the flow of gas through Nord Stream 1. Now that it's stopped that flow completely, it has continuously blamed various different types of paperwork and insufficient repairs. It is continuing to blame Canadian sanctions, not just for.... Again, it's energy warfare right now, but even for the food crisis it is causing, it is continuing to blame us.
So I'm not sure that maintaining those sanctions would have made the information warfare any more intense, or whether it's reduced it. I think Vladimir Putin will continue using disinformation to spread lies and create conspiracies in order to undermine our geopolitical position, and use the same issues that I mentioned in my opening remarks to try to destabilize and polarize Canadian society and societies in other western democracies.
Marcus Kolga
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Marcus Kolga
2022-09-07 15:18
Well, yes, I think it demonstrates that Vladimir Putin is very much in a bit of a panic mode about the sanctions. Dr. Schmitt mentioned earlier that Russia is no longer able to repair any of its military equipment. It's using parts from household appliances to patch up various different weapons. There have been reports that Aeroflot is cannibalizing its own aircraft for parts in order to carry out repairs.
A majority of Russians polled recently said that they are deeply concerned about the effect of sanctions. A recently leaked Russian cabinet document report suggests that there is deep concern about brain drain caused by the sanctions. It's been estimated by the Russian government itself that by 2025, 200,000 IT professionals will leave Russia; that there will be an 8% to 11% contraction of the Russia economy within the next 24 months; and that it will take a decade for Russia to recover its economy to pre-war levels.
So sanctions are working. Sanctions aren't the silver bullet. Like medicine, they take time to work. They need to be sustained. Carving out exceptions for various different Russian entities doesn't work. We need to sustain them in order for them to work. I think Vladimir Putin with his reaction and Dmitry Peskov's reaction demonstrate exactly that: Western sanctions, when unified, are indeed working.
Marcus Kolga
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Marcus Kolga
2022-09-07 15:21
Thank you for that very important question. You may not like this answer, but I think we need to send more weapons to the Ukrainians, certainly Harpoon missiles, to deter Russian attacks on vessels leaving Odessa with that grain, the grain that is so desperately needed in so many parts of north Africa and Asia.
Vladimir Putin stated very clearly again this morning that Ukraine is somehow reneging on its deal to export that grain and that the western sanctions are preventing grain from being exported. This is nonsense. Those shipments are being made from Odessa. We need to simply assume, quite frankly, that Vladimir Putin will renege on that deal. He may consider attacking some of those ships or causing some sort of problems. He's already attacked agricultural infrastructure in Odessa after signing that agreement.
That's one concern. As far as the nuclear blackmail is concerned, which he may very well be engaging in very soon, I think we need to insist that those International Atomic Energy Agency officials remain in Zaporizhzhia and that those numbers are increased to keep an eye on what's going on there, and demand that they have access to areas of that plant where Russia has placed its weapons system.
That's another thing that Canada could be doing immediately.
Balkan Devlen
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Balkan Devlen
2022-09-07 15:23
One of the other things that Canada can and should do as a food superpower is to make sure that Canadian agricultural products get to world markets. Given the distances and so forth, they may not necessarily go to one of the most affected regions, but they can easily replace other grain that can then go to countries in North Africa, the Middle East, Asia and elsewhere.
We need to be able to provide our farmers with the ability and the resources to rapidly and radically increase food production and get those products to world markets when we are clearly facing and will face food shortages.
Benjamin Schmitt
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Benjamin Schmitt
2022-09-07 15:24
I would say that Canada should continue to lead the charge on increasing sanctions. I will come back to energy and say that other areas that need to increase are ship-to-ship transfer technology sanctions. There is a significant amount of oil transfer that's going on several hundred miles off the coast of Portugal. That needs to end through technology sanctions on firms, which will allow that to happen.
Of course, coming back to what we're here about today, there is reversing the turbine waiver decision. I have pages of examples from officials, experts and Siemens itself, pointing out that there is no technical rationale. There wasn't before the decision was made and there certainly isn't now. I'll be submitting that to this parliamentary committee for the record.
This shows exactly that we need to have a technology-guided approach for our foreign policy decision-making, and that's why this decision needs to be reversed as quickly as possible.
Benjamin Schmitt
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Benjamin Schmitt
2022-09-07 15:26
We have to look back at the broader sanctions regime on both oil and gas. When you look at gas, in particular, one of the arguments is that, just like oil, they could just sell this elsewhere, right? Well, no. Gas is not as fungible globally as oil, at least not yet, although there is LNG, which increases its fungibility.
That's why what Mr. Kolga said is so important. Again, it's another technical driver that's showing proof of what's going on at Portovaya, which is gas flaring. A significant amount of the resource that Russia would be sending through Nord Stream 1 is instead going up and being burned. It is creating all sorts of problems, not only for the localized environment, but for the climate, especially in the Arctic region, where increasing the amount of soot that's going onto the Arctic tundra is changing the albedo of the surface of the Arctic region. It is only increasing—
Ariane Gagné-Frégeau
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Ariane Gagné-Frégeau
2022-09-07 15:38
Yes, Mr. Chair.
The vote will be on adjourning debate on the motion of Garnett Genuis.
(Motion negatived: nays 6; yeas 5)
Ariane Gagné-Frégeau
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Ariane Gagné-Frégeau
2022-09-07 15:41
Yes, of course. Mr. Bergeron can correct me because it's his amendment.
Here's what I understood: “That the committee meet in public within a few days of the adoption of this motion for a discussion of committee business related to the study of the Export of Russian Gazprom Turbines”.
The motion would therefore be amended by substituting the words “within seven days” with the words “in the days following”.
Ariane Gagné-Frégeau
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Ariane Gagné-Frégeau
2022-09-07 15:43
The vote would be on the subamendment, which reads as follows:
That the committee meet in public within 14 days following the adoption of this motion for a discussion of committee business related to the study of the export of Russian Gazprom turbines.
(Subamendment agreed to: yeas 11; nays 0)
Benjamin Schmitt
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Benjamin Schmitt
2022-09-07 15:46
Thank you, Ms. Bendayan.
I think your question is absolutely spot-on, and it's incredibly important that we maintain unity.
Obviously, as I said earlier, the success that Ukraine will need to have in order to win the war and restore full territorial integrity and sovereignty over its territory.... It's paramount that all democracies stand united against Russian aggression, both in Ukraine and in hybrid warfare, whether that aggression is in cyber-attacks, disinformation, propaganda, energy weaponization or using space assets in ways that are concerning to global security.
What we have to do is make sure that sanctions stay united. When we have these sorts of situations where, over the years, Russia has basically built energy infrastructure and used it to split allies, we have to look at where the unity was on projects like Nord Stream 2. Over the years, all of NATO's eastern flank at one point or another opposed and called for this project to be stopped. The United States—both Democrats and Republicans, both administrations and on Capital Hill—called for this project to be stopped. When I was in my role as European energy security adviser at State, I visited Ottawa in 2018. Global Affairs Canada had also come out as opposed to Nord Stream 2. The United Kingdom and France, at times, have opposed Nord Stream 2, as have a number of countries throughout the Nordic region. Basically, the only countries that supported Nord Stream 2 were Germany, Austria and, of course, Russia.
When you have examples where the European Parliament, on a nearly unanimous basis, or at least with extreme majorities, on at least three occasions called for this project to be stopped over the years.... For that to continue to go forward and for Germany to pressure the United States to suspend its sanctions and then pressure Canada to suspend its sanctions.... That's a slightly different situation, but in this case, on the Nord Stream 1 turbines, those are the sorts of actions that we need to avoid as global democracies.
We need to continue to mount as much pressure as possible on the Putin regime, so that democratic norms and sovereignty will be restored in Ukraine. It will become more resilient, going forward, in standing up to authoritarian aggression, whether it comes from Russia, China or elsewhere.
Merci.
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