The trade union-backed New Democratic Party (NDP) has responded to Ottawa’s decision to allow the return to Russia of turbines critical to the functioning of the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, and thus the supply of natural gas to Western Europe, by accusing the Liberal government of appeasing Vladimir Putin and Russian aggression. In so doing, Canada’s social democrats have made common cause with the right-wing Conservative opposition and openly far-right forces from the Ukrainian Canadian Congress (UCC).
The turbines normally propel 100,000 cubic meters of natural gas per minute through the last pipeline supplying Germany with 30 percent and France with 20 percent of their natural gas. Complex moving parts require regular service, which global corporations such as the German multinational Siemens, the manufacturer of the turbine, allocate on a global basis. The service contract was given to the Canadian division of Siemens in Montreal.
But in Canada the turbines now fall under the historically unprecedented sanctions regime the NATO powers have imposed on Russia with the full-throated endorsement of Canada’s entire political establishment, the NDP included. These sanctions are ostensibly in response to Russia’s “unprovoked” invasion of Ukraine. In reality, the US with the support of Canada, Germany and the other western imperialist powers, long planned for and instigated the war with Moscow to complete their drive to transform Ukraine into a geostrategic and economic vassal, and destroy Russia economically, in preparation for its breakup and subjugation to the imperialist powers.
The right-wing nationalist regime in Kiev, supported by the far-right UCC, demanded that Canada seize the turbines as sanctioned goods and refuse to export them to Germany. They claimed Putin would be emboldened to demand further exemptions from the savage sanctions regime devised by Washington and its imperialist allies. The NDP joined in this war-mongering campaign with gusto.
Employing the screeching pro-war rhetoric that corporate media outlets and the Trudeau government have belched out incessantly over recent months to justify Canada’s aggressive role in the NATO war with Russia, NDP foreign affairs spokeswoman Heather McPherson complained, “It is shocking and disappointing that the Liberal government has decided to allow the Nord Stream 1 turbines to be sent to Germany and returned to Russia. This decision goes against the sanctions Canada imposed on Russia in response to the illegal invasion and genocide in Ukraine.”
The NDP, which endorsed Canada’s participation in a long series of illegal, US-led wars of aggression over the past three decades, has spearheaded the Canadian ruling elite’s hysterical campaign to denounce Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as a “genocide.” Although the New Democrats propagandized in favour of the bombardment of Yugoslavia, the neocolonial occupation of Afghanistan, NATO’s regime-change war on Libya and the US-instigated war in Syria, which have collectively killed hundreds of thousands and driven millions from their homes, McPherson thinks she has the right to adjudicate Russia’s invasion, which has killed around 5,000 civilians according to international estimates, as a “genocide”—that is comparable to the Nazis’ extermination of European Jewry.
Moreover, McPherson and the NDP raise the cry of “genocide” hand-in-hand with the far-right UCC, the political descendants of Ukrainian fascists like Stepan Bandera who collaborated with the Nazis in the most horrific genocide in human history during World War II. “New Democrats support the request from the Ukrainian Canadian Congress to immediately reconvene the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee to discuss the federal government’s decision,” roared McPherson in her statement condemning the turbine decision.
When the committee was convened, McPherson rushed to present a resolution, which won all-party support after minor amendment, aimed at providing a public platform for the most bellicose advocates of the reckless ratcheting up of the war in eastern Europe. Beyond calling on government ministers to explain why they had waived the sanctions to allow the return of repaired turbines, the only other witnesses the NDP resolution called for were UCC representatives and the Ukrainian ambassador to Canada.
The Trudeau government’s decision to approve the return of the turbines to Russia via Germany was explicitly praised by US President Joe Biden, whose administration is providing tens of billions of dollars worth of military aid to Ukraine, and extensively lobbied for by Berlin.
In no shape or form does it have anything to do with a lessening of Canada’s major and highly provocative role in the war with Russia. Instead, Ottawa recognized that failing to transfer the turbines via Germany to Russia would have crippled the NATO alliance’s ability to prosecute the war. As German Foreign Minister Analena Baerbock recently put it, a complete cutoff of Russian gas would halt the war effort because Europe’s governments would have to deal with “popular uprisings.”
The suggestion that the Liberal government is appeasing Russia is totally absurd. Trudeau’s Liberals have served as one of US imperialism’s most vicious attack dogs against Russia. Following the pro-Western 2014 coup in Kiev, which was sponsored by the US, Germany and Canada, and spearheaded by fascist forces, Trudeau’s Liberal government oversaw the extension and expansion of a Harper Conservative government-initiated Canadian military mission to retrain and modernize the Ukrainian army, transforming it into a NATO member in all but name. The Canadian government was no less firm than Washington in adamantly rejecting all efforts by Russia to negotiate new security guarantees made necessary by NATO’s aggressive eastward expansion.
Deputy Prime Minister and anti-Russia war hawk Chrystia Freeland, who has personal and political ties to far-right Ukrainian nationalists, led the charge among the imperialist powers to impose crippling economic sanctions following the Russian invasion. And the Trudeau Liberals, propped up by the NDP, are in the process of sending over $630 million in military assistance to Kiev. They have also, as the New York Times recently revealed, secretly deployed Special Forces to Ukraine, where they are helping direct the war on the ground with special forces from other NATO member states.
The NDP is an enthusiastic advocate of this reckless war policy, which is why it entered into a formal agreement in March with Trudeau, just weeks after the war began, to keep his minority Liberal government in power through June 2025. With its “confidence-and-supply agreement,” the NDP has pledged to prop up a government that is waging war with Russia, massively increasing military spending, and enforcing “post-pandemic” austerity to cover the costs of Canada’s war machine and the bailout of the banks and big business during the pandemic.
The agreement was seen as critical by the NDP and its trade union sponsors, which have backed it to the hilt, because it aims to ensure “political stability” under conditions where working class struggles for wage increases and improved working conditions are rapidly mounting. While the NDP MPs ensure “stability” by providing a majority for war and austerity in parliament, the unions maintain “stability” in the workplace by sabotaging workers’ attempt to fight back through job action, whether it be Ontario educators, rail workers at CP Rail or Ontario construction workers.
The NDP’s criticism of the Liberals’ decision dovetails not only with attacks launched by the far-right UCC, but also the official opposition Conservative Party. The Tories, who are currently engaged in a leadership contest in which the party’s far-right wing is exerting ever more control over the party’s political orientation, have consistently assailed the Liberal government for its alleged reluctance to send heavy weaponry to Ukraine. To the extent that the NDP’s demand for foreign affairs committee condemnation of the Liberal government’s turbine decision comes to pass, it will be achieved in alliance with far-right demagogues like Pierre Poilievre. Poilievre gave his full-throated backing to the fascistic “Freedom Convoy” to dismantle all remaining COVID-19 public health measures and push politics far to the right.
The alliance of these forces from the “left” and right-wing of the official political spectrum is not accidental, but rooted in their common support for war and militarism abroad, and austerity and the gutting of democratic rights for workers at home. The Tories and NDP have previously come together to attack Trudeau over his government’s alleged refusal to confront China with sufficient diplomatic, economic and military aggressiveness.
The NDP’s denunciation of the Liberals over the turbines’ return and its firm backing for Canada’s leading role in the US-NATO war with Russia exposes as so much trash its empty populist protestations against the very same Liberal government it simultaneously props up in Parliament. On virtually a daily basis, the NDP churns out statements rhetorically attacking the Liberals as shills for big business who ignore the plight of working people. NDP leader Jagmeet Singh issues empty rebukes to the minority Trudeau government he helps prop up, demanding band-aid social reforms which the NDP knows full well will never materialize. His appeals to “support working families” are filthy and dishonest. This fact is underscored by the latest example of the NDP’s reckless war-mongering on behalf of Canadian imperialism.
- Canadian imperialism’s fascist friends—Part 1: Ottawa’s decades-long alliance with the Ukrainian far-right and the NATO war on Russia
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- Canada dispatches heavy weaponry to Ukraine, while accusing Moscow of “genocide"