German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has begun a three-day trip to Canada as part of Germany’s effort to become less dependent on Russian gas and mineral supplies. During a news conference Monday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mr. Scholz defended Canada’s decision to allow turbines – used in delivering natural gas from Russia to Germany – to be returned to a Russian state-controlled company, despite sanctions against Russia over the war in Ukraine.
Mr. Trudeau said Europe and Germany will continue to be reliant on Russian oil and gas imports for another year or two, but Russia is not sending enough to Europe, so the return of the turbine means that Russia cannot use that as an excuse. “We will not allow [Vladimir Putin] to continue to use energy policy as a weapon of war,” he said.
Mr. Scholz said Germany is working to gain independence from Russian imports as quickly as possible, including by building new ports and pipelines to import LNG, and are allowing coal plants to produce electricity again.
“[We must] make sure that we become a climate neutral economy – that we develop our economy in a way that by the middle of the century, we can be CO2 neutral in our industries. And part of this means that we use hydrogen as an important resource in the future,” he said. (Mr. Trudeau and Mr. Scholz are expected to sign an agreement to jointly explore the production of hydrogen fuel in Canada for export to Germany during this trip, The Globe has reported.)
During the news conference, Mr. Trudeau also said he’s not sure there is a strong business case for exporting natural gas directly from the East Coast or Quebec to Germany. Globe and Mail reporters Steven Chase and Claudia Scholz have that story here.
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TRANSPORT MINISTER DEFENDS GOVERNMENT RESPONSE – Transport Minister Omar Alghabra defended the federal government’s actions in trying to contain the chaos that has plagued Toronto Pearson International Airport, telling a parliamentary committee on Friday that COVID-19 was largely to blame for months of travel disruptions. The Minister also said that the ArriveCAN app was not responsible for delays. Story here.
CONSIDERATIONS OF POLITICIANS’ TRAVEL – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canadian parliamentarians who are considering a trip to Taiwan should reflect on the “consequences” of such a visit. “We will ensure that the parliamentarians making the decision to travel, or not, will be done with all the reflections of the consequences and the impacts of it,” said Mr. Trudeau during a news conference in Quebec’s Îles-de-la-Madeleine region last week. Story here.
RCMP OFFICIAL LEARNED OF KILLER’S REPLICA CAR IN THE NEWS – The former RCMP commanding officer in Nova Scotia has told the inquiry into the April 2020 mass shooting that she first saw the killer’s replica police cruiser in a news report before she went to work on the second day of the rampage. Story by The Canadian Press here.
SURROGACY IN UKRAINE DEBATED – While fertility clinics and surrogacy agencies in Ukraine paused their work at the onset of the invasion, many are now eager to welcome clients even as the war continues. The Russian invasion has devastated Ukraine’s economy and women need employment opportunities. Surrogate mothers told The Globe they simply need the money. Story here.
CONCERNS OVER SUPPORT FOR UKRAINIAN REFUGEES – As the war reaches the six-month mark on Aug. 24, the refugee crisis has changed dramatically and much of the early support has vanished. The number of Ukrainians leaving their country has fallen sharply and there’s no longer a global sense of urgency. But aid workers say the situation could change quickly if fighting intensifies or if Ukraine faces a brutal winter. Story here.
THE GLOBE INVESTIGATES GAS WELL SAFTY – In the wake of an explosion in Ontario in 2020, pressure on the province to act has intensified, including calls to map risky wells and seal them properly – and to encourage residents living near wells to install hydrocarbon gas detectors. Story here.
NEWFOUNDLAND BETTING ON WIND AND HYDROGEN – The relentless winds that buffet the coasts of Newfoundland and Labrador have caught the attention of renewable-power developers who want to harness them and use the clean electricity to produce hydrogen, with Germany as a potential customer. Story here.
THIS AND THAT
The House of Commons is not sitting again until Sept. 19. The Senate is to resume sitting on Sept. 20.
The 65th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference is under way in Halifax, and will continue until Friday. Governor-General Mary Simon and Speaker of the House Anthony Rota will deliver opening remarks on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. ADT.
On Wednesday, Jens Stoltenberg, Secretary-General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), will arrive in Canada for a three-day trip. He will visit Edmonton; Cambridge Bay in Nunavut and Cold Lake, Alta.
Dr. Alika Lafontaine, president of the Canadian Medical Association, weighed in on conversations about privatizing parts of the health care system – conversations which are taking place in Ontario. But Dr. Lafontaine is skeptical that this is the answer. Episode here.
PRIME MINISTER'S DAY
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau held a bilateral meeting this morning with the Chancellor of Germany Olaf Scholz in Montreal, before they visited an artificial intelligence research centre. This evening, the Prime Minister will host an official dinner for the Chancellor in Toronto.
Rosemary Speirs, a former Toronto Star and Globe and Mail reporter, has died.
“Rosemary spent her life fighting inequalities, first writing about and exposing them and in the end, changing them ... During her decades as a national political journalist, Rosemary wrote passionately about issues she clearly understood,” wrote former MP Sheila Copps in a column for The Toronto Star.
Konrad Yakabuski (The Globe and Mail) on how Trudeau and Scholz need to face up to hard truths on energy security: “That dependence is the legacy of a series of policy mistakes perpetrated by Mr. Scholz’s immediate predecessors, the centre-right Angela Merkel and centre-left Gerhard Schröder, prodded by Green politicians. The Greens pushed to close Germany’s nuclear and coal-fired power plants. But with renewables unable to fill the gap, the country turned to Russian gas to produce electricity, heat homes and run factories. A ban on hydraulic fracturing – that was pushed by the Greens, too – prevented Germany from tapping its own shale gas reserves. Opposition to fracking also led Germany to reject importing liquefied natural gas from North America.”
Marcus Gee (The Globe and Mail) on the urgency of Salman Rushdie’s message about free speech: “Speech can hurt. Speech can wound. But without it, societies ossify, dogmas take hold, tyrants flourish, corruption spreads. Open debate helps us sort fact from fiction, truth from lies. Only when every belief and statement is open to pointed questioning can we work through our problems and find a way past our disputes. ... But if we want the air to remain breathable, we must defend it. That has been [Rushdie’s] consistent message since that fateful death sentence more than three decades ago. We need it now more than ever.”
John Lorinc (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on the increasing surveillance posed by ‘smart cities:’ “Concerns about smart city technologies have zeroed in on the risk of creating heavily surveilled cities in the name of urban quality-of-life benefits, such as improved mobility, reduced emissions or more efficient use of local services. “This futuristic wired urban world has a dark side,” warned Robert Muggah, a principal at Ottawa-based SecDev Group, in a 2021 essay in Foreign Policy titled ‘Smart’ Cities Are Surveilled Cities he wrote with Greg Walton. “Part of what supposedly makes cities smarter,” they continued, “is the deployment and integration of surveillance technologies such as sensors and biometric data collection systems. Electronic, infrared, thermal and lidar sensors form the basis of the smart grid, and they do everything from operating street lights to optimizing parking and traffic flow to detecting crime.””
Gail Lord (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on how to turn Canada’s ‘fallen statues’ into a public conversation about the country’s history: “Once a statue is taken down, whether by crowds or by design, what happens next isn’t clear. Storage is expensive, and once a figure ends up there, it’s unlikely to be brought back up again – removing the opportunity to have that educational conversation or use the moment to foster public engagement. “Just send them to a museum” is a common misconception in this discussion. The mission of museums is not to be the attic for the nation’s unwanted items. Other alternatives, such as the case made by sociology professor Gary Younge to stop creating any monuments featuring historical figures, could be a go-forward option, but it doesn’t address what to physically do with those that are removed.”
Peter Donolo (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on why being the Leader of the Official Opposition is the worst job in Canadian politics: “It may not be the worst job in Canada. But being the leader of the Official Opposition is certainly the worst – the most thankless, frustrating, consistently humiliating – job in Canadian politics. ... It’s no coincidence that over the past 15 years Canada has had just two prime ministers but nine leaders of the Official Opposition. The job is much more likely to mark the end of a political career than serve as a stepping stone to the prime minister’s office. Indeed, if electoral victory comes at all, it is in spite of the job, not because of it.”