Feds try to prevent disclosure of ‘sensitive’ details in turbine court case


The federal government is moving to shield “sensitive or potentially injurious information” from disclosure during a court challenge of its decision to return a turbine repaired in Montreal to a Russian energy giant.

In an application to the Federal Court, the attorney general seeks confirmation that certain information flagged by the Justice Department must not be disclosed in the turbine legal proceedings.

In early July, Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly issued a permit to Siemens Energy Canada authorizing it to service turbines used by Russian state-owned gas company Gazprom, despite sanctions against Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine.

Ukraine has criticized the Canadian government for agreeing to a request from Germany to exempt Siemens from the sanctions so it could return a turbine for use in the Nord Stream 1 pipeline that supplies natural gas to Germany.

The turbine had been under repairs at Siemens’ Montreal facility, the only location in the world capable of maintaining the equipment.

It was delivered to Germany and was supposed to go to Russia from there, but Russian authorities have so far refused to accept it.

The Ukrainian World Congress and Daniel Bilak, a Canadian who lives in Ukraine, have applied for judicial review of the permit decision.

On Aug. 3, a Justice Department lawyer provided notice to the attorney general under the Canada Evidence Act that she believes some of the information to be filed in the court proceeding involves sensitive information.

Although redacted records have been disclosed, the government says some information should be kept under wraps, as revealing it would harm Canada’s international relations.

Canada’s permit also allows Siemens to import, repair and return five other turbines used in Nord Stream 1, according to their maintenance schedule, and is valid until the end of 2024.