Friday, January 8, 2016

Government Secrecy Returns



Having lived for almost 10 years under a cone of silence and secrecy, Canadians can be forgiven for expecting more openness from the Trudeau government. That expectation appears to be a forlorn hope, at least if this is any indication:
The Liberal government is refusing to make public a recently completed assessment of the state of human rights in Saudi Arabia even as it endures criticism for proceeding with a $15-billion deal to ship weaponized armoured vehicles to the Mideast country.

Saudi Arabia, notorious for its treatment of women, dissidents and offenders, became the focus of international condemnation this month over a mass execution of 47 people, including Shia Muslim cleric Sheik Nimr al-Nimr, an exceptionally vocal critic of the ruling Al Saud family.

A country’s human rights record is an important consideration in the arms export control process that determines whether Canadian-made weapons can be exported there. The Saudi deal was brokered by Ottawa, which also serves as the prime contractor in the transaction.
As pointed out yesterday, Canadians have every right to be wary of this deal, given that the armoured vehicles are destined for Saudi Arabian National Guard (SANG), charged with protecting the royal rulers against internal threats.

Hiding behind the usual bafflegab of government, Canadian officials had this to say about the how the deal meets the criterion that the vehicles not be used against the Saudi people:
“A report on Saudi Arabia has been prepared for 2015 as part of the department’s annual process of producing human rights reports on numerous countries. This document is intended for internal Government of Canada use only, and, as such, will not be made public,” said François Lasalle, a spokesman for Global Affairs Canada.

The Liberal government is also refusing to release any information on how Ottawa will justify the export of armoured vehicles under Canada’s export control regime.

“For reasons of commercial confidentiality, Global Affairs Canada does not comment on specific export permit applications,” Mr. Lasalle said.
Perhaps another reason that the government has chosen opacity over transparency in this matter is the realization that they are fooling few Canadians here, the majority realizing this deal is one of economic and political expedience over principle and law.

Not a good beginning for our 'new' government.

8 comments:

  1. I recall Harper saying that, by the terms of the deal, he was barred from discussing Saudi Arabia or the deal. I guess Harper bound us to some Faustian deal that also gags the new government. If so, they should at least tell us that they're gagged and prevented from speaking.

    After getting our progressive hopes up in the first few days after being sworn into power, they're now being pretty rapidly deflated.

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    1. Even more to the point, Mound, one wonders why the government cannot reassure us that the Saudis won't use the vehicles against their own people, as per Canada's export control law requirements.

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  2. It's our government, Lorne. We have the right to know what is being done in our name.

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    1. Apparently, Owen, our new government does not share that view. When it comes to corporate interests, they seem to feel that some animals are more equal than others.

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  3. .. its easy to search and find the complete bullshit Harper fed Canadians regarding the Saudi LAV111 deal.. and more currently, Justin Trudeau. Journalists, Indy Bloggers, concerned Canadians etc need to howl in outrage & accurately trace the entire trail of deception.. (OK, where is Mulcair on this & his NDP?) .. "What's done is done" just doesn't cut it.. laughably tossed as a bone to accredited journos.. to chew on, then pass on down to Canadians as credible and nourishing reassurance from on high.. Somebody throw a pail of ice cold water on Justin please.. something nobody dared do to her highness Stevie/Ray.

    Spell it out for us Justin... Either you think this stinks to high heaven, or not. And while you're at it, let Canadians know what else is 'what's done is done' .. and what your reasoning or validation (if any) is. We may be interested as well, in how you appraised LAV 111 armored fighting vehicles with turret mounted machine guns, cannon or TOW rockets to be just jeeps. You sound even stupider or more duplicious than Stephen Harper with that attempt.. or were you being catty & sarcastic? Your Minister is twisting in the wind by the way. The Done is Done, and the We have to Live Up To Our Word? Well it just doesn't cut it, or make sense.. so why not do the unexpected? IE .. try telling Canadians the truth, don't play games like sheltering Stephen Harper, or defending the ignorance of 'our' growing Arms export sector.. or putting lipstick on it and calling it the 'Defense Industry' when its not defending us at all .. and wake up dude.. its 2016 now.. capiche ?

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    1. Well-said, Salamander. If Trudeau truly wants to run an open and transparent government, then he cannot pick and choose the things to be open and transparent about. Canadians have every right to be upset and demand answers in this matter.

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  4. These decisions Lorne, made for political reasons will be Justin Trudeaus undoing. I'd like to know who these advisors are.Foreign Affairs under Trudeau does not seem too different then under Harper. Open and Transparent? Only when the information does not reflect badly on the present government. There's alot to hide in our dealings with other countries and the source of that hidden story is Canada supporting the US international hegemony. All roads lead to Washington. Trudeau will support the US's deceitful stand on Russia. Canada by now has to know the truth and what America is up to with Russia/Ukraine. The Truth doesn't matter though. Trudeau will also fully support Israel, without the fanatical dialogue that Harper engaged in, but non the less he will support Israel and Palestine be damned. He knows the Truth about the Palestinian genocide that Israel is doing to the Palestinians. Who doesn't, but the truth doesn't matter.And when as the Prime Minister of Canada you have an opportunity to support the truth, not politics and you don't then it's over. When the truth is that human beings are oppressed and dying and you support the country that is doing the oppression and killing, not the victims, then you are not only ethically challenged, you are morally bankrupt. When truth does not matter in your decision making, but going along with the powers that be does, you're taking your country down a road of smoke and mirrors in support of another countries tyranny. It would have taken guts to say NO to the Saudi deal, but I guess having guts cannot be taught. Pierre Trudeau had guts, his son doesn't.

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    1. Your powerful indictment of our new government is spot on, Pamela. While I know there are other progressives who would like to cut Trudeau some slack on this deal, it is, without question, indefensible, and the cone of silence surrounding the 'due diligence' required before the export permit was granted says a great deal. We cannot apologize for wanting morality and transparency in our government.

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