This is a defining moment for the Justin Trudeau government

On Monday, 22 October we posted a blog on the brutal Khashoggi murder and the need for Canada to finally stop any further shipments of arms to Saudi Arabia.  We updated the situation in our Rideau blog on Tuesday, 23 October.

Since then the Prime Minister of Canada has continued to vacillate between asserting Canada’s power to suspend any further shipments, without incurring financial penalties, and the opposite — that cancellation of the contract will cost us “billions”.

In the meantime, Ed Fast, the trade minister in the government of Stephen Harper that actually negotiated the deal, says he knows nothing about “details” like the penalty clause.

Whatever those details, Canadians need to know that suspension of any further shipments under this contract would have an immediate and significant effect on Saudi Arabia.  Even if most of the contract is complete, the Saudis need an ongoing supply of parts and servicing.  And it will take them years to acquire satisfactory replacements.

– Peggy Mason, RI President

Canada can make a real difference.

So Canada can make a difference, a real difference. We can act in a way that supports genuine accountability for the monstrous Khashoggi crime. Even more importantly, we can act in a way that will make it more difficult for Saudi Arabia to continue its unimaginably brutal war in Yemen.

The October 26th edition of the New York Times focuses in depth on that war, with photographs that are almost unbearable to face. They write:

The harshest criticism of the Saudi-led war has focused on the airstrikes that have killed thousands of civilians at weddings, funerals and on school buses, aided by American-supplied bombs and intelligence.

But aid experts and United Nations officials say a more insidious form of warfare is also being waged in Yemen, an economic war that is exacting a far greater toll on civilians and now risks tipping the country into a famine of catastrophic proportions.

This is a defining moment for the government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.  He recently stated that a seat for Canada on the UN Security Council was not end in itself, but a means to stand up for human rights and the rule of law on the world stage.

Germany, Sweden, Norway, Belgium and Finland have now all suspended arms shipments to Saudi Arabia.  The European Parliament in a non-binding resolution has called for all EU members to do the same.

On the other hand, the hapless UK, crippled by its impending Brexit doom, clings to trade with Saudi Arabia no matter how depraved that country’s behaviour.

Donald Trump says money is all that matters.

Where does Canada stand?

We await our Prime Minister’s answer.

Photo credit: General Dynamics Land Systems Canada (Product Overview)


Tags: Belgium, Canadian LAVs, European Parliament, famine, Finland, General Dynamics Land Systems - Canada, Germany, International Criminal Court, Jamal Khashoggi, New York Times, Norway, Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, Saudi Arabia, Saudi Arabia and economic war in Yemen, Saudi arms deal, Sweden, UK, war crimes in Yemen, Washington Post, Yemen