Canada’s new Liberal Party Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has received international attention since taking office. His stances on equality for all races and genders have particularly gained attention in the United States, where the current election season features a nominee as conservative on immigration as Donald Trump.
Still, it’s not all rainbows for Trudeau and the international progressive community. One major sticking point is the sale of military arms to the Saudi government. Specifically, Canada manufactured a number of LAV3 tanks, which are slated to be sold to Saudi Arabia for $15 billion. The prior conservative party brokered the deal, which the liberal party is going to honor. Amnesty International is condemning the sale, due to Saudi Arabia’s human rights violations.
Foreign affairs minister Stephane Dion said he understands the issues involved, and that Canada has made this a point of conversation between the countries. “Canada monitors the human rights situation in Saudi Arabia and consistently raises concerns regarding human rights with senior Saudi officials.” He also noted that future violations could indeed be a point to void such deals. “Should we become aware of reports that would be relevant to Canada’s export control regime, the government can consider whether existing permits should be suspended or cancelled, and factor this information into consideration of any future permits.” Conservative politicians within Canada have also pointed out that Saudi Arabia is most likely to use these tanks and other arms to combat terrorists within their borders, so there is a common goal there.