12 December 2018

Canada's arms sales to Saudi Arabia

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Justin Trudeau has defended his government’s decision to sign off on the sale of more than 900 armoured vehicles – including dozens described as “heavy assault” and equipped with cannons – to Saudi Arabia, arguing that the deal is in line with Canada’s foreign and defence policies. reports that the C$15bn ($11.63bn) deal – struck by the previous Conservative government in 2014 and given the green light after Trudeau became prime minister – has been in the spotlight in recent years amid growing concerns about Riyadh’s human rights record.

Documents obtained recently by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation offered a glimpse into the opaque 2014 agreement involving General Dynamics Land Systems based in London, Ontario.

The initial order was for hundreds of light armored vehicles, including 119 described as “heavy assault” with 105-millimeter cannons. Another 119 of the vehicles were configured as “anti-tank” while 119 featured a two-man turret and 30mm chain gun and were designated as “direct fire” support.

The agreement may have been modified since it was drawn up in 2014, the CBC noted. Delivery of the vehicles was slated to begin in 2017.

The revelations were put to Trudeau by opposition politicians on Tuesday in the House of Commons. Hélène Laverdière of the New Democratic party pointed to reports of the kingdom’s attacks on its own civilians as well as the Saudi-led campaign in Yemen, where conflict has killed more than 10,000 people and displaced more than 3 million.

2018.10.13 / 09:55
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