Wednesday, April 6, 2016

The Outrage Continues

In the weekend Star, Tony Burman gave five reasons that Canada should cancel the Saudi arms deal, an immoral agreement which the Trudeau government refuses to budge on. I will simply give the headings of his arguments here:

1. Canadians oppose it

2. Canada is being bought off

3. Saudi Arabia is an awful regime

4. Canadian arms are undoubtedly killing innocent people

5. Canada’s arguments have no moral core

In response to that column, Star readers offer their views:
Canada must cancel the contract selling armoured vehicles to Saudi Arabia. Yes, let's pay the agreed upon penalties. Canadians are not so venal as to be ready to sell the lives of thousands of people, and in the process, sell their souls for a handful of coins.

Better to pay the penalty for cancelling the sale than the ones implicit in the ratifying of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. In the latter case Canada will be liable to pay corporations that deem to be shortchanged by enacting legislation to redress old wrongs, like First Nations inequalities or environmental protection.

Canada should cancel this deal with Saudi Arabia and not ratify the TPP. We expect this government to deliver on the profound human values that have been a hallmark of Canada.

Bruna Nota, Toronto

Once again Tony Burman masterfully and succinctly provides us with an excellent and well-reasoned article on this very serious and important topic. Is our government listening?

As a Canadian and member of the Liberal party I call upon the government to reconsider the Saudi arms deal. Do we really want the blood of those weapons when used on our hands? Is this what Canada stands for? I think not. While this is a complex issue, there is a line to be drawn in the sand.

Canada is not “back” when it sells out its moral fiber with such a deal.

Janice Meighan, Toronto

Mr. Burman provides five compelling reasons why Canada should kill the $15 billion arms agreement with Saudi Arabia. Here are two more:

1. Canada may have bypassed its own tough weapons export control laws to ink this deal. In doing so it circumventing its own rule of law and due process.

2. Canada needs to bring Saudi Arabia's extremist theological and financial support for groups like Daesh, Al Qaeda, Boko Haram and the like to light rather than trying to gain from it.

Ali Manji, Thornhill
Unfortunately, given the obdurate stance of the Trudeau government, it is doubtful that any of these compelling points will move any of our representatives' hearts and minds on this very important issue.


  1. I suppose the worst part about this, Lorne, is the government's motivation for backing this deal. It's straight up political calculation. They've weighed their political fortunes and decided they have less to lose by upholding the contract. They don't have the sand to say no. That seems to be a recurring theme whenever the Trudeau administration is confronted with hard decisions. When the going gets tough, expedience prevails. Very much in keeping with Mulcair's approach only he's languishing harmlessly in the basement of parliamentary politics.

    1. It is sad to see such early folding over an issue that strikes at the heart of our perceived national character, Mound.

  2. "Canada, is not a country you love, it is a country you worry about." Robertson Davies. I have been worried about my country for sometime now, probably because I do love it and there have been times it has been worthy of that love. Right now though my worry is that Trudeau in agreeing to this deal with Saudi Arabia and in the process completely ignoring the human rights violation involved in that agreement. I also worry that going forward with this deal is indicative of Trudeau furthering Canada on the Neoliberal journey travelled by Harper.The fact that Trudeau can proceed with a deal that so obviously violates human rights and with a country who destroys human lives daily, tells me there is more to this deal then not wanting to breach an already signed agreement with the Saudi's. My ultimate worry Lorne, without meaning to sound melodramatic, is that if Trudeau continues to support agreements, of a Neoliberal nature over rights, it will mean the destruction of our country as a sovereign state.

    1. I think few would argue that your fears are not well-founded, Pamela. The arguments Trudeau and Dion have advanced for going through with this deal are weak and specious; they do not speak well of our 'new' government.