Canada's Arms Sale to Saudi Arabia

Canada's Arms Sale to Saudi Arabia

Postby Oscar » Thu Apr 28, 2016 8:45 am

Trudeau won’t back off Saudi arms sale despite warning from Amnesty

[ https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/201 ... nesty.html ]

Amnesty says Canadian-made armoured vehicles sold to Saudi Arabia “are likely to be used in situations that would violate human rights.”

By The Canadian Press Thu., April 14, 2016

LONDON, ONT.—Amnesty International is raising red flags about the sale of Canadian-made armoured vehicles to Saudi Arabia, but Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is sticking to the deal, saying a contract is a contract.

Amnesty says it is worried that Canadian armour sold to the Saudis earlier may have been used in ground attacks in Yemen.

Trudeau says the agreement is a matter of principle.

He says the contract signed under the previous government must be honoured by his government.

Canada’s word has to mean something in the international community.

Contracts can’t just be abandoned, he says.

“It’s important that people know that when they sign a deal with Canada, a change of government isn’t going to lead to the contract being ripped up,” Trudeau said Thursday at a news conference in London, Ont.

He also noted that a lot of Canadian jobs are at stake.

He was speaking in the home of General Dynamics Land Systems-Canada, which is building the light armoured vehicles that are at issue in the multibillion-dollar deal.

Amnesty said it was disappointed with the sale.

“We have good reason to fear that light armoured vehicles supplied to Saudi security forces are likely to be used in situations that would violate human rights, whether these forces are intervening in neighbouring countries or suppressing demonstrations and unrest within Saudi Arabia,” the agency said in a statement.

Earlier this week, Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion, noting earlier sales of similar armour to the Saudis, said there is no reason to think those vehicles have been misused.

MORE:

[ https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/201 ... nesty.html ]


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Canada and Saudi Arabia

Published in Wadena News - April 18, 2016

To the Editor,

Canadians may or may not be aware that we are involved in Saudi Arabia's war in Yemen.

Saudi Arabia is a country as having one of the worst human rights human rights record on the planet. They are now also involved in the civil war between the Sunni and the Shi'a tribes in Yemen. In March, 2015, the Saudi's launched ruinous bombing attacks on Yemen, inflicting devastating effects on its citizens. According to the U.N., 5,700 were killed and 1.5 million Yemenis were displaced. Hospitals and schools were destroyed,about one-third of its citizens were short of food.

There is no apparent reason why Canada should be selling the weapons of war to Saudi Arabia.

In 2013/2014, the Harper government signed a contract to sell $15.5 billion of armoured vehicles to Saudi Arabia. But we Canadians were not alone in this death dealing folly: the British government authorized $8.3 billion of weapons for the Saudis for fighter jets, machine guns, bomb components ,etc., and another $234 million for precision guided 500 pound bombs. Also, the U.S. approved about $12.5 billion for four Lockheed Martin warships, equipped with weapons, and for training in the use of laser-guided bombs.

Amnesty International has called for the suspension of these sales of weapons as it violates international law.

There can be no doubt that only the manufacturers of these weapons of war profit from these sales; that these transactions benefit a rogue nation like Saudi Arabia is the responsibility of the politically-elected officials in Canada, Britain and the U.S.A.

Selling weapons to Saudi Arabia is most deplorable and worrisome for those of us who would like to believe that Canada is a nation of peacemakers and peacekeepers.

Leo Kurtenbach
Saskatoon, SK
Phone: 306-652-5129
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Re: KURTENBACH: Canada and Saudi Arabia

Postby Oscar » Wed Oct 05, 2016 9:46 am

Liberals reject increased scrutiny of arms exports

[ http://canadians.org/blog/liberals-reje ... ms-exports ]

October 5, 2016 - 8:05 am

During the last federal election the Liberals promised "to better help those affected by war and violent conflict".

But by May of this year, The Globe and Mail reported, "Canada is obliged to uphold its reputation for honouring business deals and therefore must sell $15-billion of armoured vehicles to Saudi Arabia, Justin Trudeau said when asked about video footage that shows the Saudis using similar machines against civilians in the Mideast country."

Now the newspaper reports, "The Trudeau Liberals voted down a motion to give MPs a key role in scrutinizing foreign exports of Canadian military goods, saying this level of parliamentary oversight was unnecessary. The motion was in reaction to a deal to sell $15-billion in weaponized armoured vehicles to Saudi Arabia, a country known for human rights abuses."

The NDP had proposed to establish a new House of Commons committee, similar to what British parliamentarians have, given Canadian arms exports have nearly doubled over the past decade.

Liberal MP Pamela Goldsmith-Jones argued, "[This] is unnecessary and would merely create additional excessive burdens on an already highly regulated and monitored industry. ...Is the defence industry really something we wish to cut back on? While we welcome the member’s concerns for human rights, transparent processes and strong arms controls, we are disappointed by the disregard for tens of thousands of Canadians’ livelihoods.” She added that Saudi Arabia is a strategic partner "in preventing ... chaos, lawlessness, atrocities and terrorist attacks."

But CBC reporter Neil Macdonald has commented, "There is the little matter of how the Saudis treat their own citizens. They have a hideous record of torture, oppression, arbitrary arrest and mistreatment of detainees, suppression of speech and religion, and institutional misogyny. They execute women for sorcery. Homosexuality is a grave crime. This is a regime Canada wants to supply with arms and war-fighting vehicles?"

A Nanos Research poll conducted in July found that 73 per cent of Canadians had some degree of opposition to the sale of Canadian military goods to Saudi Arabia. That poll also found that nine in 10 Canadians ant the Trudeau government to provide information on whether or not it approved the export of an unspecified amount of "military items" to the military junta in Thailand. Foreign minister Stephane Dion says he cannot make public his decision because it would harm the commercial interests of the company or companies involved.

The theme of the Council of Canadians annual conference is 'Toward a Healthy Economy for People and the Planet'. Board member Leo Broderick and organizer Harjap Grewal will be hosting a workshop at that conference titled 'The Economics of War and Peace: Canada's Changing Role'. We believe that a growing arms export industry is not part of a healthy economy. As the prime minister himself said when he launched his campaign for Canada to have a seat at the United Nations Security Council for a two year term beginning in 2021, "A fair and successful world is a peaceful world.”

For more on Groundswell 2016, please click here:
[ http://canadians.org/conference ]

Brent Patterson's blog
Political Director of the Council of Canadians
[ http://canadians.org/blogs/brent-patterson ]
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Re: Canada's Arms Sale to Saudi Arabia

Postby Oscar » Wed Oct 05, 2016 10:23 am

Exclusive: Canada isn't being totally honest about its plan to sell weapons to Saudi Arabia

[ https://news.vice.com/article/exclusive ... udi-arabia ]

By Justin Ling July 12, 2016 | 9:00 am

New documents obtained by VICE News reveal that the Canadian government is providing military bases, staff, and resources to test-drive the heavily armored, and highly-controversial military vehicles being purchased by the Saudi government. They also prove that, despite what the government of Canada has said, this is not just a deal between a private company and a foreign country: It is a deal between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Canada itself.

The revelation directly contradicts statements from the Canadian government contending it is just a passive participant in the deal to sell the vehicles, commonly referred to as the 'LAV III', to the Middle Eastern absolute monarchy.

The documents, obtained by VICE News through an Access to Information request, detail how the company, General Dynamics Land Systems Canada (GDLS-C), requested and obtained assistance from Ottawa in letting the Saudis test out the heavily-armed machined.

"GDLS-C requires the use of a suitable Canadian Forces Base to [redacted]," reads one memo prepared for Minister of International Trade Chrystia Freeland. "There will also be associated support such as the [redacted]. Support, staff coordination, administrative and logistics assistance."

The documents continue that the government had meetings with General Dynamics in order to ink a "Provision of Services Agreement."

When presented with the documents, a spokesperson for Freeland confirmed that the agreement was signed, but refused to provide details about exactly what benefits had been, or will be, provided.

"The CAF has concluded a formal agreement with GDLS-C to provide such access to test the vehicles. Testing military vehicles on bases is common practice, a normal contractual requirement for products of this nature, and does happen in Canada," the spokesperson said.

The documents continue that: "This [redacted] is customarily done using Canadian Forces facilities and installations. The Department of National Defence only allows for the use of its bases for non-DND activities when the use is in support of the mandate of another Government of Canada ministry," the memo continues.

It specifies that the Department of National Defence will choose the facilities and resources that will be used, and that GDLS-C will reimburse the Canadian government for all expenses incurred.

"The government insists on calling these permits some of the strongest controls in the world. Which is a joke."

When asked directly, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has consistently categorized the deal as done, and downplayed his government's involvement.

"We will continue to respect contracts signed, because people around the world need to know that, when Canada signs a deal, it is respected," Trudeau told the House of Commons in April.

MORE:

[ https://news.vice.com/article/exclusive ... udi-arabia ]


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Majority of Canadians say NO to selling arms to despots

[ https://www.ceasefire.ca/?p=23972 ]

Posted on July 13, 2016 by Ceasefire.ca in Blog

A new poll by NANOS Research shows a strong majority of Canadians oppose selling military goods to Saudi Arabia, China, and Algeria, countries in the top ten buyers of defence and security gear from Canada, but with dismal human rights records.

Saudi Arabia, as we have reported many times over [ https://www.ceasefire.ca/?p=23876 ], consistently ranks among the “worst of the worst” human rights abusers.

Here is what Human Rights Watch [ https://www.hrw.org/ ] has to say about Algeria and China.

Algeria [ https://www.hrw.org/middle-east/n-africa/algeria ]

Despite the Algerian government’s promises in 2011 to introduce reforms, Algeria has made little progress since then on improving human rights. Authorities curtail free speech and the rights to freedom of association, assembly, and peaceful protest. They also arbitrarily arrest and prosecute political and trade union activists. Perpetrators of torture, enforced disappearances, unlawful killings, and other serious rights abuses committed during the civil war enjoy impunity. The Algerian government blocks the registration of Algerian nongovernmental human rights organizations and has maintained its non-cooperation with UN human rights experts.

China [ https://www.hrw.org/asia/china-and-tibet ]

China remains a one-party authoritarian state that systematically curbs fundamental rights. Since President Xi Jinping assumed power, the government has detained and prosecuted hundreds of activists and human rights defenders. Between July and September 2015, authorities interrogated some 280 lawyers – the backbone of China’s human rights movement – in a nationwide sweep. The government has moved to tighten control over nongovernmental organizations, activists, and the media through a slew of new laws that cast activism and peaceful criticism of the government as state security threats. The “Great Firewall” used to censor the Internet has been expanded. Despite legislation to curb torture in custody, police and interrogators have found ways to evade legal protections.

The NANOS poll also indicated that nine in ten Canadians want Foreign Minister Dion to reveal his decision on an application to export military items to Thailand [ https://www.hrw.org/asia/thailand ], a country ruled by a military dictatorship since 2014. Despite being required, under various UN transparency mechanisms [ https://www.un.org/disarmament/convarms/salw/ ], to report this very information, the Liberal government has refused to reveal it to Canadians on the basis that it would harm the “commercial interests” of the companies involved.

Peggy Mason, RI President and former advisor at Foreign Affairs when the export control guidelines were first developed in 1986, finds this reasoning to be utterly without merit: “This is a manifestly absurd justification. While legitimate commercial interests may dictate keeping some aspects of the deal private, particularly sensitive proprietary information about the products in question, secrecy should never extend to whether or not the transaction actually took place.”

In her view, such a rationale makes a mockery of the transparency the Trudeau Liberals have repeatedly pledged to provide, as well as rendering meaningless any notion of democratic accountability.

And what of the Liberal government’s promise to put a renewed emphasis on the UN, multilateralism, and diplomacy? Says Mason:

Canadians will rightly ask how doubling down on the Harper policy of selling arms to despots conforms to Liberal promises to “restore constructive Canadian leadership in the world… and to make a real and valuable contribution to a more peaceful… world.” [ http://pm.gc.ca/eng/minister-foreign-af ... ate-letter ] (Prime Minister’s Mandate Letter to FM Stéphane Dion).

For the full details of the NANOS poll, see: Majority of Canadians oppose selling military goods to countries with poor human rights records: poll (Steven Chase, Globe and Mail, 13 July 2016). (SUBSCRIPTION REQUIRED)

For a recent, comprehensive review of the sordid Saudi arms deal, which also provides some explosive new evidence of the degree of complicity of the Liberal government, see: Canada isn’t being totally honest about its plan to sell weapons to Saudi Arabia (Justin Ling, Vice.com, 12 July 2016). [ https://news.vice.com/article/exclusive ... udi-arabia ]

See also: Ottawa Cannot Continue to Deny Dangers of Saudi Arms Deal (Cesar Jaramillo, Huffington Post, 14 July 2016). [ http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/cesar-jara ... 73218.html ]
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Re: Canada's Arms Sale to Saudi Arabia

Postby Oscar » Wed Oct 05, 2016 10:26 am

[b]Ottawa Cannot Continue to Deny Dangers of Saudi Arms Deal (Internal LINKS to G&M - SUBSCRIPTION REQUIRED)[/b]

[ http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/cesar-jara ... 73218.html ]

Cesar Jaramillo, Huffington Post, 14 July 2016

When damning videos showing armoured vehicles being used against Saudi civilians surfaced last May, officials at Global Affairs Canada downplayed the obvious risk that the Canadian-built armoured vehicles at the centre of Canada's $15-billion deal with Saudi Arabia might be used for the same purpose. Instead they questioned whether the armoured vehicles shown in that particular footage were in fact made in Canada.

But the videos released by The Globe and Mail unequivocally established reasonable risk. It didn't matter whether or not the vehicles in these particular videos were made in Canada. The videos documented the proclivity of the Saudi regime to use force -- and, specifically, armoured vehicles -- against civilians. And let this be clear: the threshold established by Canada's export controls was never proof that Canadian-made goods had been involved in human rights violations. The threshold is a reasonable ‎risk that they might be so used.

Now The Globe reports that explosive breaching gear that literally says "Made in Canada" has been found at the scene of a deadly raid against Shia civilians in the Qatif region of Saudi Arabia's Eastern Province. This disturbing new evidence of Riyadh's heavy-handedness should silence any lingering doubt about the very real risk of misuse of Canadian military exports in Saudi Arabia.

Global Affairs Canada has stated, on multiple occasions, that it would reconsider existing authorizations for the armoured vehicle deal should new information emerge. But GAC officials responded to this latest incident with a technicality: the explosives for this gear are lined after the export has taken place, thus the breaching equipment is not subject to military export controls. Again, they seem to be missing the point.

MORE:

[ http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/cesar-jara ... 73218.html ]
Oscar
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Re: Canada's Arms Sale to Saudi Arabia

Postby Oscar » Wed Oct 05, 2016 10:26 am

Liberals reject increased scrutiny of arms exports

[ http://canadians.org/blog/liberals-reje ... ms-exports ]

October 5, 2016 - 8:05am

During the last federal election the Liberals promised "to better help those affected by war and violent conflict".

But by May of this year, The Globe and Mail reported, "Canada is obliged to uphold its reputation for honouring business deals and therefore must sell $15-billion of armoured vehicles to Saudi Arabia, Justin Trudeau said when asked about video footage that shows the Saudis using similar machines against civilians in the Mideast country."

Now the newspaper reports, "The Trudeau Liberals voted down a motion to give MPs a key role in scrutinizing foreign exports of Canadian military goods, saying this level of parliamentary oversight was unnecessary. The motion was in reaction to a deal to sell $15-billion in weaponized armoured vehicles to Saudi Arabia, a country known for human rights abuses."

The NDP had proposed to establish a new House of Commons committee, similar to what British parliamentarians have, given Canadian arms exports have nearly doubled over the past decade.

Liberal MP Pamela Goldsmith-Jones argued, "[This] is unnecessary and would merely create additional excessive burdens on an already highly regulated and monitored industry. ...Is the defence industry really something we wish to cut back on? While we welcome the member’s concerns for human rights, transparent processes and strong arms controls, we are disappointed by the disregard for tens of thousands of Canadians’ livelihoods.” She added that Saudi Arabia is a strategic partner "in preventing ... chaos, lawlessness, atrocities and terrorist attacks."

But CBC reporter Neil Macdonald has commented, "There is the little matter of how the Saudis treat their own citizens. They have a hideous record of torture, oppression, arbitrary arrest and mistreatment of detainees, suppression of speech and religion, and institutional misogyny. They execute women for sorcery. Homosexuality is a grave crime. This is a regime Canada wants to supply with arms and war-fighting vehicles?"

A Nanos Research poll conducted in July found that 73 per cent of Canadians had some degree of opposition to the sale of Canadian military goods to Saudi Arabia. That poll also found that nine in 10 Canadians ant the Trudeau government to provide information on whether or not it approved the export of an unspecified amount of "military items" to the military junta in Thailand. Foreign minister Stephane Dion says he cannot make public his decision because it would harm the commercial interests of the company or companies involved.

The theme of the Council of Canadians annual conference is 'Toward a Healthy Economy for People and the Planet'. Board member Leo Broderick and organizer Harjap Grewal will be hosting a workshop at that conference titled 'The Economics of War and Peace: Canada's Changing Role'. We believe that a growing arms export industry is not part of a healthy economy. As the prime minister himself said when he launched his campaign for Canada to have a seat at the United Nations Security Council for a two year term beginning in 2021, "A fair and successful world is a peaceful world.”

For more on Groundswell 2016, please click here:
[ http://canadians.org/conference ]

Brent Patterson's blog
Political Director of the Council of Canadians
[ http://canadians.org/blogs/brent-patterson ]
Oscar
Site Admin
 
Posts: 7870
Joined: Wed May 03, 2006 3:23 pm

Re: Canada's Arms Sale to Saudi Arabia

Postby Oscar » Thu Dec 22, 2016 10:02 am

Unexpected admission

[ https://news.vice.com/story/canada-admi ... -civil-war ]

Canada admits in court that the armored vehicles it's selling to Saudi Arabia could be used in the fighting in Yemen

By Justin Ling on Dec 20, 2016   

Canada’s $15 billion military export deal to Saudi Arabia could help the Middle Eastern monarchy wage war in Yemen, according to Ottawa’s own legal arguments, heard in court this week.

This marks the first time that the Canadian government has admitted that the weaponry it is selling to Riyadh could be used in the fighting in Yemen, which has claimed the lives of thousands of civilians. [ https://news.vice.com/article/un-says-t ... -civilians ]

The Trudeau government is being sued by Universite de Montreal professor Daniel Turp, who is alleging that Canada is breaking domestic regulations and international law by selling heavily-armed vehicles to the autocratic nation.

Canada’s legal defense, filed in a federal courtroom in Montreal, contends that Minister of Foreign Affairs Stephane Dion has the authority to decide what does and doesn’t constitute a legal weapons sale — not the court. That principle stands, they contend, even if it means the Canadian-made Light Armored Vehicles (LAVs) could be used to fight a war in Yemen that Ottawa has repeatedly condemned.

It marks yet another shift in the government’s rhetoric on the issue. The Globe & Mail forced the minister to admit that the contract — drafted by his predecessor, but signed by the Trudeau government — was not a “done deal,” as he had suggested. [ http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/pol ... e29612233/ ] (SUBSCRIPTION REQUIRED)

VICE News, meanwhile, showed that it was the Canadian government, not defense contractor General Dynamics, who actually signed the deal, undercutting Dion’s assertion that it was a deal between a private company and a foreign government. [ https://news.vice.com/article/exclusive ... udi-arabia ]

MORE:

[ https://news.vice.com/story/canada-admi ... -civil-war ]
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