Friday, February 9, 2018

Who Do You Trust?

When it comes to a choice between believing a government with a vested interest in protecting a $15 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia and independent reports that those armaments are being used against domestic populations, I tend to side with the later.

Consider the evidence.

The Saudi Arabian National Guard, a buyer of Canadian-made light armoured vehicles, posted this photo on Twitter in November, 2015. It shows combat vehicles being moved to Najran, a Saudi town near the border with Yemen.

Two years ago, the following was reported in the Globe and Mail:
Canadian-made armoured vehicles appear to be embroiled in Saudi Arabia's war against Yemeni-based Houthi rebels – caught up in cross-border hostilities that critics say should force Ottawa to reconsider a $15-billion deal to sell Riyadh more of these weapons.

The Saudi-led coalition fighting the Houthis – who are aligned with Iran – has already been accused by a United Nations panel of major human-rights violations for what its report called "widespread and systematic" air-strike attacks on civilian targets. Along the Saudi-Yemen border, constant skirmishes pit Houthi fighters against Saudi ground forces such as the Saudi Arabian National Guard.

...a retired Canadian general consulted by The Globe and Mail, who spoke on condition of anonymity, identified the LAVs being transported to Najran as fighting vehicles made by General Dynamics Land Systems. Stephen Priestley, a researcher with the Canadian American Strategic Review, a think tank that tracks defence spending, also identified the LAVs as Canadian-made.

Critics say having Canadian-made arms enmeshed in a conflict that has claimed more than 2,800 civilian lives should prompt Ottawa to rethink the recent $15-billion deal to sell hundreds or thousands more to the Saudis.
And last summer, a video emerged appearing
to show for the first time Canadian-made light armoured vehicles being deployed by Saudi security forces in an operation against militants in the Shia-populated eastern part of the kingdom.

Add to the above the fact that Saudi Arabia is a notorious abuser of human rights, so much so that a group of British lawyers has launched a campaign to remove the country from the UN's Human Rights Council.

None of this, however, has forked any lightning with the Trudeau government. The Toronto Star reports that an investigation by the Canadian government has concluded that there is "no conclusive evidence" that the above is true, and so the arms deal will continue.
Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland told a Commons committee Thursday the “independent objective opinion” of her departmental officials [can there truly be independence in a government department?] did not determine that was the case. When the NDP asked for the report to be publicly released, the minister deferred to her department.
As frequently happens with Mr. Trudeau's regime, while they continue to give Saudi Arabia carte blanche in its abuses, they are vowing to toughen up the export permit process.
Governments should be required to deny permits where there is a “substantial risk” that an export on Canada’s control list “could be used to commit human rights violations,” Freeland said.

Freeland said the Liberal government will accept amendments to enshrine such an obligation in law, via a bill now before Parliament to allow Canada to accede to the international Arms Trade Treaty. At the same time, she said, pre-existing contracts would be honoured, meaning the Saudi contract would not be subject to review under new criteria.
That kind of fancy footwork may provide a measure of political cover for a government aiding and abetting the Saudis. However, one can't help but wonder how reassuring it will be to those domestic populations who will continue to be abused by the Saudis and quite possibly fall victim to the Light Armoured Vehicles that Canada will continue to ship to the repressive nation.


  1. The government of Canada, a government in name only has a job to do. It has nothing to do with governing and everything to do with what the corporate/political/military/elites domestically and globally want and they want the Canadian government to implement as many of their neoliberal policies that they currently can. More importantly they want the liberals to get elected for 4 more years, because that is how long it will take to turn Canada into a market state, that is a full Nation State. These elites are the real government of Canada.

    Their neoliberal and militaristic agenda is not visible or transparent to Canadians. The role that Trudeau plays is one of PR in getting Canadians to once again really like him, to judge him personally, not professionally. His supposed town hall talks with Canadians is really campaigning. Trudeau and his team are out there trying to convince Canadians that they are this progressive, democracy supporting government who have only the nations interests in mind. Nothing could be further from the truth.They are also testing to see if Canadians have caught on to their deceptive neoliberal agenda.

    Their constant campaigning, disguised as talking with Canadians, is primarily directed at woman and the young including first time voters. That's what Trudeau's picture on the Rolling Stone magazine and the fluff piece that accompanied it was all about.It was meant to impress mainly the young.His constantly calling himself a feminist is meant to impress women.
    When talking to Canadians, there is very little spontaneous engagement. Most of what Trudeau and his liberal cohorts have to say is calculated and prescribed. Every once in awhile Trudeau will go off topic, that's when we get to see who he really is.

    Don't judge them by what they say, judge them by what they do. Study their policies, including their political decisions, that is study their real policies which are mainly neoliberal in nature. It's all their in black and white and it's not, as Roger Waters says, rocket science.

    Who do I trust? My own political analysis and conclusions.

    1. Thanks for your incisive analysis, Pamela. I think you have pierced the purpose behind the townhalls quite effectively.

      I was thinking yesterday, when reading about how Trudeau attended a business roundtable in California, that the fact that he has to go to the corporate honchos instead of them going to him is a very telling revelation of the true nature of the relationship between the corporate world and neoliberal governments.

      Prime Minister as supplicant, corporate heads as dispensers of largesse. I wonder how many Canadians are troubled by such a picture?

    2. I took note also of Trudeau once again attending a business roundtable, this time in California. I didn't however pick-up that he always goes to these "corporate honchos" instead of them going to him.

      That's a really interesting point.My guess is that he wants Canadians to see how pro business he is. He may also be, to some extent, running from his fathers reputation, who was not very focused on business.I don't know if Canadians realize that Trudeau's idea of doing a deal is handing over the control of Canada's wealth, particularly our resource wealth to whoever he's doing the deal with.

      He seems to also want to impress his neoliberal/oligarch advisors with his zeal about his newly found knowledge of neoliberalism.It's as if he is saying, I am the greatest promoter of neoliberalism. I don't even wait for corporations and industries to come to me, I seek them out. He's like a salesman who wants to be recognized as closing the most deals. My guess is that he really doesn't know what neoliberalism is. His elite advisors just tell him it's the greatest thing since sliced bread and it's what is best for Canada and he believes them. He's not a very bright guy and he doesn't ask too many questions. All the more better for him to do his elite advisors neoliberal bidding.

      They must be rubbing their hands with glee at how easy he is to manipulate. Can anyone picture Pierre Trudeau being manipulated like this, especially from the U.S. deep state. More than anything Trudeau Sr. was confident about his own intelligence and ability to make the right decision. He was a man with an independent mind. Manipulation is really about control and no one controlled Trudeau Sr.'s philosophically trained mind.

    3. The son is definitely not like the father here, Pamela.

      Reading over you last two comments, it occurs to me that you might like to amalgamate your insights from them into a guest blog post.

      No pressure though.