Liberals reject increased scrutiny of arms trade

20160608_pg1_01This is a follow up to our previous blog on the NDP motion calling for a new Parliamentary committee to oversee Canada’s arms exports.

The Liberals voted down the motion, despite the fact that many other modern democracies have such oversight, including the UK and Sweden. Get further details by clicking here: Liberals reject NDP motion to increase scrutiny of arms exports (Stephen Chase, Globe and Mail, 4 October 2016).

An excellent letter to the G&M editors from Kevin Caners, Berlin, Germany highlights the chasm between this government’s campaign and post-election rhetoric of openness and transparency and its steadfast refusal to apply these principles to Canada’s military exports.

Arms and the man:

Re Liberals Reject Motion To Scrutinize Arms Exports (Oct. 5): “Is the defence industry really something we wish to cut back on?” asked the parliamentary secretary to the Foreign Affairs Minister, while defending her government’s rejection of an NDP motion for more parliamentary oversight of arms exports.

Maybe I’m just unimaginative, but I can’t really think of a better industry to cut back on than the one that sells weapons to tyrannical regimes like Saudi Arabia.

Refusing calls for parliamentary oversight so that his government can proceed with arms deals with one of the world’s worst human rights violators isn’t what I imagined Justin Trudeau meant when he promised “sunny ways.” How much longer will Canadians use Mr. Trudeau’s considerable charm and style as a reason to give his government the benefit of doubt, when sadly the substance continues to be much the same?”

 Clearly this is going to be a long struggle.  And we at intend to be in it for as long as it takes.  Canada’s constructive re-engagement with the world cannot be fueled even in part by an arms export policy that demeans human rights, emboldens tyrants and undermines both regional and international peace and security.

Yes, we can do better!

Update: What next for the Colombia Peace Deal?

For an update on our September 22nd blog on the Colombia peace deal, narrowly rejected in a recent referendum, see this statement by the International Crisis Group: Reassembling Colombia’s Rejected Peace Deal (6 October 2016).

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Tags: Amnesty International Canada, Arms Export Guidelines, arms export policy, Arms Export Review Committee, Arms industry, Arms Trade Treaty,, Conference of Defence Associations, Defence lobby, Human rights, International Criminal Court, International Humanitarian Law, Parliamentary Committees, Peggy Mason, Rome Statute, Saudi Arabia, Stephen Harper, Sweden, UK, War crimes, Yemen