Liberal mismanagement of the immoral, and possibly even illegal, Saudi arms deal just keeps getting worse.
The latest disgraceful action is the defeat by the Liberals of the NDP motion to establish a sub-committee of the Foreign Affairs standing committee to review Canada’s arms export control policy. The vote was 5–4, with all the Liberal members of the committee voting against it and the Conservatives joining with the NDP to vote in favour. (Sad to say, it is hard to know at this point who is being more cynical, the Liberals or the Conservatives.)
This shameful vote follows on the heels of an astonishing letter to the Editorial Board of the Globe and Mail where Foreign Minister Dion chastises the newspaper for condemning his failure to apply Canada’s export control policy. According to Dion, he can only refuse to grant the export permits if “serious evidence of misuse” of Canadian military equipment is found.
“no serious evidence of misuse” — FM Dion
But even a cursory reading of the export control guidelines shows that the test is not evidence of misuse but whether there is “no reasonable risk of use against the civilian population”. The whole purpose of the policy is to prevent exports which could lead to Canada being complicit in human rights abuses. What is the point of only being able to complain after the fact?
“no reasonable risk of use against the civilian population” — Canada’s Export Controls
The Rideau Institute, Project Ploughshares, the Group of 78, Amnesty International, World Federalist Movement-Canada, and many other NGOs are not giving up. We are continuing to press the government of Canada to abide by Canadian law and policy (not to mention international law) and rescind forthwith the export permits for new weapons shipments to Saudi Arabia.
(Click on cartoon to enlarge.)