Open letter to the Prime Minister on Saudi arms deal

photo(2)At a well-attended press conference on Parliament Hill today, Roy Culpeper (Group of 78),  Peggy Mason (Rideau Institute), Alex Neve (Amnesty International Canada), and Cesar Jaramillo (Project Ploughshares) released an open letter to the Prime Minister on the Saudi arms deal.  The letter had been signed by a total of 15 Canadian non-governmental organizations, listed below. The letter states in part:

We, the undersigned, wish to express our profound concerns about the issuance of export permits for Canada’s multi-billion dollar arms deal with Saudi Arabia, despite the flagrant incompatibilities of this contract with the human rights safeguards of our export controls.

To provide such a large supply of lethal weapons to a regime with such an appalling record of human rights abuses is immoral and unethical. The spirit and letter of both domestic export controls and international law support this view. The government has had every opportunity to uphold this position, but has chosen not to. We therefore ask the government to rescind the export permits, ensuring that this deal does not go ahead unless and until relevant human rights concerns have been resolved.       ….

Of this we are convinced, Prime Minister: the decision to proceed with this arms deal undermines not only the public’s trust in our export control system, but also the core values that define Canada’s character as a nation.

Click on the link for the full copy of the  open letter to the Prime Minister.
Pour la version française, cliquez LETTRE_OUVERTE_AU_ PM_L’Arabie_Saoudite_25 April 2016.

For the Globe and Mail article on the press conference, click on Human rights groups ask Trudeau to end ‘immoral’ arms deal with Saudi Arabia (Steven Chase and Robert Fife, Globe and Mail, 27 April 2016).  See also Canada breaking export control rules, violating Trudeau’s feminism with Saudi deal, say critics (Janice Dickson, iPolitics, 27 April 2016).

The organizations that signed the open letter are listed below:

Roy Culpeper, Chair: Group of 78

Fergus Watt, Executive Director: World Federalist Movement Canada

Cesar Jaramillo, Executive Director: Project Ploughshares

Pierre Jasmin, Vice-President: Artists for Peace

Peggy Mason, President: Rideau Institute

Béatrice Vaugrante, Directrice Générale: Amnistie internationale Canada francophone

Alex Neve, Secretary General: Amnesty International Canada English

Julia Sanchez, President-CEO: Canadian Council for International Co-operation (CCIC)

Monia Mazigh, National Coordinator: International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group

Thomas Woodley, President: Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East

Paul Hannon, Executive Director: Mines Action Canada

Silke Reichrath, Director: Brooke Valley Research for Education in Nonviolence

Professor John Packer, Director, Human Rights Research and Education Centre, University of Ottawa

Nicole Filion, Coordiatrice: Ligue des droits et libertés

Metta Spencer, President: Science for Peace

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14 Responses to “Open letter to the Prime Minister on Saudi arms deal”

  1. Elizabeth Oliver MaloneMay 4, 2016 at 1:11 pm #

    It is sad to say that the new government would have to come up with xbillion dollars and hire the 3000 some workers to overcome the law suit that the Saudis will inevitably push if the contract (signed by the extreme right wing government of S. Harper) is thrown out. Any ideas and money to start a new plant to create x ambulances and mobile hospitals to sell to the world to help replace the hospitals and clinics (supported by Drs. without Borders and Canada)that have been bombed recently by the savagery in Syria,Yemen,Iraq, and Pakistan etc.etc.etc?Maybe we can try to convert the Saudis to observe the Geneva conventions?

  2. Sharon McCulloughMay 1, 2016 at 2:28 pm #

    Being of a military background, I am disgusted with this new con regime. A global embarrassment of hypocrisy and deception. This arms ‘deal’ is a sick example of the path to the alienation of our values as a nation of peace, tolerance, compassion, welcome, helping and aid to suppression and slaughter.
    The hate and suppression of the people, extreme abuses of women and children, murders, mutilation and religious zeal as a reason to brutalize all citizens, Canada will look like a nation of clueless blunderers if we let this happen. Shame on this so called ‘sunny’ bunch. It’s all part of corporate welfare but the libber-cons are claiming that it’s all about jobs and the reason to continue the killing and suppression. It’s nothing but an excuse for killing more people. Guns are not for peace, they are for killing. Period. It is a fact and the new cons know it, that re-fitting shops for green energy produces MORE jobs, MORE security in Canada, MORE in the real war we face: climate change and long term, permanent employment.
    Stop this insane cruelty. Stop the reckless immaturity and lies. Almost everything the last self-serving regime fouled, the new regime shows no difference other than smiling while they sign away the lives of innocents. So much for undoing the hate of the last lot. Stop this or step down. You do not support Canadian values. You support hate. Nothing new, move along folks.

  3. Sheryl McCumseyApril 28, 2016 at 6:23 pm #

    This is not the Canada I thought I knew. This and giving our Wheat Board to foreign nationals who have little regard for human life. Who are we now?

  4. Jennifer W.April 28, 2016 at 3:00 pm #

    This letter is such a good move, but as always it boils down to economics and a lot of jobs in Southern Ontario in increasingly difficult times that tend to make politicians – all of them – overlook the matter of human rights. I am surprised at Stephan Dion going along with this deal so readily, and I am disappointed this new government would decide to blame the Harper government for a “done deal”.

  5. Robert BrightApril 28, 2016 at 1:34 pm #

    The complete and utter hypocrisy of the Trudeau Government regarding the arms deal to Saudi Arabia must be confronted! This despicable and irresponsible decision runs counter to every decent Canadian’s understanding of the safeguards put in place to prevent arms deals with countries where known human rights abuses occur on a regular basis.
    Rescind this horrible decision and do the right thing. You cannot, under any circumstances, claim to defend women’s rights for equality and allow this horrible, unethical, and completely unacceptable trade contract.

    • Sharon McCulloughMay 1, 2016 at 2:30 pm #

      Well said.

  6. Eveline BoysenApril 28, 2016 at 10:54 am #

    Do you really want to send weapons to a country that has an incredibly poor human rights record and is beheading more people annually than ISIS.

    Add to that the ongoing destruction of Yemen.

    Please do not send any weapons to Saudi Arabia.

  7. Tim PlaneApril 28, 2016 at 7:06 am #

    If it is found to be true that the 28 pages that are mostly redacted, refer to the Saudis as playing a role in the devastating 9/11 attack then we should await release of those classified papers. Many whistle blowers agree that this is the truth of the matter. While waiting for the release of those papers, we should definitely not be involved in selling arms to any of those countries, especially Saudi Arabia, that may have any connection to these charges.

  8. Carol PickuipApril 27, 2016 at 9:15 pm #

    Canada should return to its role of peacekeeper-selling arms to a country like Saudi Arabia where human rights are ignored is immoral and must be reversed!!

  9. Jocelyn ChouinardApril 27, 2016 at 8:52 pm #

    It is absolutely unacceptable that Canadians were never informed about, or given any voice or vote concerning almost every unscrupulous, secretive, politically and environmentally destructive and self serving policy implemented by the previous illegally elected PM. Harper was nothing less than a gaping wound in our once great, just and respected country . Shameless and destructive dictatorship was never the “RIGHT” of any Canadian Prime Minister, but the sales of ARMS to the dangerous and renegade Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (along with of his environmentally, politically and economically destructive secretive deals) should be immediately overturned if Justine Trudeau is to earn his position as Canada’s new and LEGALLY elected PM. We must work hard to undo all of Harper’s evil and disastrous mess!!!

  10. George LegerApril 27, 2016 at 7:09 pm #

    It is blatantly unconscionable to sell arms to Saudi Arabia for the obvious reasons that it is a country with unashamed, abysmal lack of human rights for its citizenry. Canada should know better to say the least. Shame on this new Liberal administration.

  11. Anne StreeterApril 27, 2016 at 6:33 pm #

    Shame on Justin Trudeau, Stephane Dion and the Liberal Party! Continue to hold their feet to the fire! They have misled and deceived on this issue from the beginning! This is not my idea of sunny ways! Break the contract and lets get back to peace keeping!

  12. S. StaintonApril 27, 2016 at 5:50 pm #

    It is pure “blood” money that will stain P.M. Trudeau’s white shirts & Mr. Dion’s.
    These are slaughter vehicles that will be used to kill SHIA civilians- children to old women as has already been done by Saudi Arabia in Yemen.

    They guarantee the continued buildup of the CONFLAGRATION in the Middle East, Africa & now spreading strongly in Europe & spreading to the killing of Christians in Pakistan.

    The only good thing about these slaughter machines is that they will create thousands more refugees in the years ahead & permit us to graciously bring them to Canada.

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