Opposition Conservatives are calling on the Trudeau government to justify the sale of $15 billion in military vehicles to Saudi Arabia, given the country’s atrocious human rights record.
It would be a laudable request if the Tories weren’t in fact the ones who quarterbacked the deal in the first place. The Liberals too have flip-flopped after demanding the same of the Harper government.
But it is as good a time as any for some reflection on our relationship with the Saudi regime in the first place.
At a glance, this is a not a country we’re keen to see with more heavy arms.
According to Amnesty International, Saudi Arabia is a world leader in executions for crimes such as being gay, speaking against the regime or writing poetry not suitably inspired by the country’s dominant branch of Islam. Many of those executions use the preferred Bronze Age method of public decapitation.
Watchdogs also suggest the Saudi regime is either directly or indirectly supporting fellow Wahhabis in ISIS, a terrorist organization we’re in a quasi war with.
Saudi Arabia is also the OPEC-leading nation deliberately flooding the market with cheap oil, which is clobbering sectors of our economy and tanking our currency.
Citing commercial confidentiality, the Liberals have so far refused to cough up a justification and have said they will not halt the deal, only that the process will be revisited in the future.
Perhaps the realpolitik of the matter is that an inked deal will mean 3,000 factory jobs in Ontario secured for 15 years.
In any case, we expect our new government to reassess the relationship with Saudi Arabia.
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