Two prime ministers and four ministers of foreign affairs later, Canada is still set to ship $15-billion of military equipment to human-rights pariah Saudi Arabia. This in spite of well-documented red flags and numerous unanswered questions about the process by which the deal cleared Canada’s military export controls.
And notwithstanding yesterday’s Federal Court rejection of a bid to stop the sale, major concerns remain not only about the compatibility of this deal with arms-control regulations but, just as critically, about Canada’s commitment to the protection of human rights internationally.
Organizations that track human rights internationally warn of a worsening human-rights situation in Saudi Arabia. Global Affairs Canada’s own 2015 human rights report on the Kingdom, the most recent to date, paints a grim picture. Documentary evidence appears to show armoured vehicles like the ones in this contract being used against Saudi civilians. A leaked report of a United Nations-mandated panel has denounced “widespread and systematic” attacks on civilian targets by the Saudi-led coalition in neighbouring Yemen.
Yet Ottawa still refuses to acknowledge a reasonable risk of misuse.
Read full article at Globeandmail.com.