Connect with us
[bsa_pro_ad_space id=12]

National

Canada, U.S. express concern at NATO over Russian pipeline into Germany

Published

on

If you like this, share it!




  • The Trudeau government and the Trump administration have found a rare patch of common ground at the NATO summit in Brussels — shared concern about a proposed Russian pipeline that would cross through the Baltic Sea into Germany.

    Canada has “significant concerns” with the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project, which would bring gas from Russia to the Baltic coast of Germany, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said Wednesday.

    She said she has discussed the issue with Ukraine, which opposes the pipeline because of the leverage it would give Russia over European countries.

    At the summit’s opening, U.S. President Donald Trump railed against what he characterized as a “massive gas deal” between Germany and Russia, calling it inappropriate. He said the deal makes Germany “captive” to and “totally controlled” by Russia, and he urged NATO leaders to take a closer look at it.

    It is unusual for Trump to express concerns about Russian behaviour. His meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Finland next week is generating widespread concern.

    Trump has dismissed the assessment of his own intelligence agencies that Russia tried to meddle in the 2016 presidential election that brought him to power. And he has affixed a “witch hunt” label to the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller into potential co-ordination between Russia and Trump’s Republican presidential campaign.

    His remarks Wednesday were a sharp departure from the previous day, when he suggested Putin would pose less of a problem for him during his current European travels than his miserly NATO allies or the European Union’s pending Brexit breakup with Britain.

    Trump arrived in Brussels lashing out at Canada and other allies for not spending enough on defence. But he quickly honed on in Germany in a terse face-to-face exchange with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.

    “Germany is totally controlled by Russia, because they will be getting from 60 to 70 per cent of their energy from Russia and a new pipeline,” Trump told Stoltenberg.

    “And you tell me if that’s appropriate, because I think it’s not, and I think it’s a very bad thing for NATO and I don’t think it should have happened,” he added. “We’re supposed to be protecting you from Russia, but why are you paying billions of dollars to Russia for energy?”

    Trump didn’t identify Nord Stream 2 by name.

    But Freeland elaborated on Canada’s concerns with the project, saying she had discussed it as recently as last week at a conference in Copenhagen on economic reforms in Ukraine.

    “When it comes to Nord Stream, Canada has significant concerns about that project,” she said. “Canada has been clear in our international conversations with many countries.”

    Freeland said she had a “good conversation” with the Danish foreign minister because the pipeline “is an issue that touches very much on Denmark.”

    Denmark, Finland and Sweden are on the long underwater pipeline route that would double the amount of Russian gas Germany receives.

    Andriy Shevchenko, Ukraine’s ambassador to Canada, said he was “very pleased” with Freeland’s statement Wednesday. He said opposing the pipeline is not only in Canada’s national security interest but its economic interest as well, because even if it lacks the capacity to ship gas to Europe, it keeps future markets open.

    Russia has a long history of cutting off access to energy as leverage over Europe and that won’t stop, he said.

    “They will use that to weaken the European Union, to divide the European allies,” Shevchenko said in an interview. “It’s not just about Ukraine.”

    Several eastern European countries oppose the pipeline, saying it would give the Kremlin greater sway over the energy needs of the entire continent.

    Freeland has been a vocal opponent of Russian meddling in the affairs of democratic countries. And she has been a steadfast defender of Ukraine, which saw its Crimean Peninsula annexed by Russia in 2014 and continues to contend with Russian-backed separatists in its eastern region.

    “We discussed it with Ukraine,” Freeland said. “So, Canada is clear with our partners about the concerns that we have with Nord Stream.”

    Freeland also went out of her way not to overstate the newfound simpatico with the Trump administration on this one issue, saying Canada has imposed sanctions on Russia “in close collaboration with our European and U.S. allies.”

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel — who grew up behind the Iron Curtain in communist East Germany — shot back at Trump.

    “I’ve experienced myself a part of Germany controlled by the Soviet Union,” she said.

    “I’m very happy today that we are united in freedom as the Federal Republic of Germany, and can thus say that we can determine our own policies and make our own decisions — and that’s very good.”

    Mike Blanchfield, The Canadian Press


    If you like this, share it!

    National

    Freeland says Khashoggi killing still open; Trump says facts may never be known

    Published

    on

    If you like this, share it!




  • OTTAWA — Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland says Canada will use the upcoming G20 summit in Argentina to push Saudi Arabia for answers in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

    Freeland says Canada considers his murder to be very much an open case, a contrast to a statement by U.S. President Donald Trump earlier today that the facts surrounding Khashoggi’s death might just never be known.

    She expects the Khashoggi case to be an issue during the talks among leaders of the world’s 20 leading economies, and says Canada will push for a transparent international investigation

    The kingdom is a member of the G20, and the Saudi-owned television station Al-Arabiya says Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the country’s defacto leader, will attend the summit.

    U.S. intelligence officials have concluded that bin Salman ordered the Oct. 2 killing of Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey.

    Trump says maybe bin Salman had knowledge of the killing, or maybe he didn’t, but regardless, Saudi Arabia remains a steadfast partner of the U.S. and has helped keep oil prices stable.

    The Canadian Press


    If you like this, share it!
    Continue Reading

    National

    Ride-hailing group says B.C. model looks a lot like expanded taxi industry

    Published

    on

    If you like this, share it!




  • VANCOUVER — A coalition of businesses and interest groups advocating for ride-hailing in British Columbia says legislation introduced yesterday will just create an expanded taxi industry, not the ride-hailing services that customers expect.

    Ian Tostenson of Ridesharing Now for BC says members are “bewildered” that the future of ride-hailing in the province remains uncertain and the government hasn’t committed to a start date for the service.

    Tostenson, who also represents the BC Restaurant and Food Services Association, says the coalition is especially concerned that the Passenger Transportation Board would have power to limit the number of drivers on the road, where they can drive, and also set rates.

    He says the organization was expecting to see legislation that more closely matched the customer-driven supply and demand model that exists in other jurisdictions.

    Tim Burr of ride-hailing company Lyft says the company sees legislation introduced Monday as a “procedural step forward” but the regulation and rule-making process will come next.

    He says the company is used to rolling up its sleeves to work with legislators and regulators in many jurisdictions and remains committed to working with the B.C. government to bring the service to the province.

    The Canadian Press


    If you like this, share it!
    Continue Reading

    Trending

    X