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OTTAWA — Newly released documents show that Ottawa considered the impact on Canadian jobs and global inflation in its decision to return a turbine being repaired in Montreal to a Russian energy giant.

The “memorandum for action” prepared by Global Affairs recommended Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly grant a permit exempting Siemens Canada from sanctions against Russia and allow it to return the equipment for use in a pipeline carrying gas to Germany.

The document, submitted in Federal Court in response to a challenge of the turbine decision filed by the Ukrainian World Congress, notes that Siemens’ specialist Montreal facility employs over 400 highly skilled employees.

In a heavily redacted section, the memo warns of potential job losses or the closure of the facility, although the scenario that would cause that outcome has been removed as it contains “commercially sensitive information.”

The document also cautions that not returning the turbine could ultimately weaken support for the Western allies’ strong stance on Russia and that returning the equipment would allow Canada to “manage the narrative.”

It says without the turbine, Russia could maintain the narrative that Western sanctions are limiting the pipeline’s ability to operate, and this would likely further increase world energy prices and global inflation.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 12, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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