Singh urges Trudeau to cancel $1.5B Saudi Arms deal

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Singh urges Trudeau to cancel $1.5B Saudi Arms deal

An excellent illustration of the maxim; When the people lead, the leaders will follow. Ipsos Polling has shown 85% of Canadians want the Saudi arms deal cancelled. Sunday, Trudeau also suggested cancellation of the deal was under consideration. This after Donald Trump accused Saudi of lying about the killing of Khashoggi, thus signalling to his vassals it was safe to pursue a stronger anti-Saudi line.


It helps  when journalists around the world pay attention to the murder of another journalist from one of the most powerful newspapers in the world, the Washington Post.

It's good that some attention is finally being given to Saudi Arabia's extreme human rights violations, but why didn't this occur when the United Nations has been warning that millions are facing starvation in Yemen for a year because of the war started by Saudi Arabia with support from its Western allies? 

The silence on the famine in Yemen is deafening as it was during the 1845-1851 Irish Famine when one quarter of the population starved to death and one quarter had to immigrate in order to survive. This is hard for me  emotionally to see that this is still happening when I know my great-great grandmother on one side of my family was one of the only survivors of a famine village and on the other side of my family my great-grandfather survived only by taking a coffin ship (ships that were unseaworthy and overcrowded and nearly always with inadequate provisions of drinking water, food and sanitation resulting in high death rates) to Canada. As a result of this, Ireland is the only country in the world with fewer people living in it today than was the case in 1840. As in Yemen, part of the lack of response was based on racism, for as Thomas Malthus, the father of population economics, said, the Irish are a different race (from the English). He then corrected himself by saying the Irish do not belong to the human race. 

During a briefing last Friday, the UN warned that millions more Yemeni civilians are expected to starve to death before year’s end as a result of a blockade imposed on the country by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition. The Saudis’ unsuccessful bid to quash the Houthi-led resistance movement against Western and Saudi imperialism in Yemen has already claimed the lives of thousands of civilians and transformed the country into the world’s worst humanitarian crisis since the war began in 2015.

Mark Lowcock, the UN’s emergency relief coordinator, expressed his concern regarding the “recent decline of commercial food imports through the Red Sea ports” — adding that, if conditions do not improve, the number of Yemenis at the brink of starvation would rise from the current figure of 8.4 million to 18.4 million by this December. Given that there are approximately 28 million people in Yemen, a continuation of the Saudi-led blockade would mean that nearly two-thirds of the entire country’s population will soon face starvation. 

The U.N.’s warning of a growing famine in Yemen comes during the holy month of Ramadan, when the first revelation of the Quran is celebrated by Muslims through fasting. Given the number of Yemenis facing starvation, many Yemeni Muslims will be without food to break their fast.


While the coalition — composed of Saudi Arabia and the UAE, with support from other Gulf monarchies and Western governments — has publicly claimed that it has lifted the blockade after international pressure, the coalition’s “ship inspections” continue to prevent critical supplies – such as food, fuel and medicine – from entering the most populated portions of the country, which remain under Houthi control.



Edited to completely revise comment.

Maybe this would be a good time to discuss why we even have an arms industry. Who are our customers? Is the industry viable without questionable clients? What could workers in the industry be building instead? What portion of the Canadian economy is reliant on military grade production? 

Trade with regressive regimes is defended on the basis of not punishing the citizens for the sins of their government. Some individual instances, such as arming the Kurds, can be defended on the basis that we were training them so had approved their military action. Heck you could even make an argument for arming rebels against a repressive regime. But what logic defends selling arms to the repressive regimes themselves? If you have to extract a promise that arms won't be used against citizens what makes anyone think that promise will be kept? What Canadian equipment has been deployed against the Yemens?



Certainly a worthy topic. Indeed, Singh's recent comment to CTV News although somewhat  nonsensical, is pertinent:

"...We know that as a country we have a moral responsibility to make sure that arms we sell don't get used to further human rights violations." Indeed, what else are they almost always use for?

Sean in Ottawa

NDPP wrote:

Certainly a worthy topic. Indeed, Singh's recent comment to CTV News although somewhat  nonsensical, is pertinent:

"...We know that as a country we have a moral responsibility to make sure that arms we sell don't get used to further human rights violations." Indeed, what else are they almost always use for?

I prefer Pondering's question -- why do we have the industry at all? How can that be justified against the values we claim to have?

Hurtin Albertan

2016 numbers so a bit out of date, but good background info at least in terms of who we sell stuff to and how much.  Table 13 has the numbers for who bought what and how much.  More countries on the list than I would have thought.

Colt Canada (formerly known as Diemaco) makes rifles for our military, also sells them to a few NATO allies that I know of, you can probably find more on their website.  So I guess we can either make rifles for our miltary or buy them from someone else.  Same thing for General Dynamics Land Systems far as vehicles go.  Think our aerospace industry also sells stuff that is classified as military.


'Are Millions of Lives at Risk Enough For Canada To Stop Selling Arms to Saudi Arabia (and vid)

"Today I asked the Prime Minister Justin Trudeau are the lives of millions of women and children worth enough for Canada to cancel arms to Saudi Arabia?"