Although we live in a time that seems to demand almost constant preoccupation with the economy and jobs, sometimes there are more important considerations, such as a country's moral standing. Right now, that moral standing is in jeopardy thanks to the apparent inflexibility of the Trudeau government on the Saudi Arabian armaments deal. While it is worth a tremendous amount of money ($15 billion), many are saying it's just not worth it.
A poll released today is instructive:
Nearly six out of 10 Canadians surveyed by Nanos Research for The Globe and Mail say they feel it is more important to ensure arms exports go only to countries “that respect human rights” than it is to support 3,000 jobs by selling weaponized armoured vehicles to Saudi Arabia.Other countries are growing increasingly uneasy about dealing with the repressive Middle East kingdom that has little respect for human rights:
On Thursday, an all-party committee of U.K. MPs called for a suspension of British arms sales to Saudi Arabia pending a probe into Riyadh’s devastating military campaign in Yemen. A UN report last week said a Saudi-led Arab coalition has conducted “widespread and systematic” bombing of Yemeni civilians – killing more than 2,600.
Germany’s Minister of Economic Affairs and Energy Sigmar Gabriel recently signalled Berlin’s increasing unease over arms deals with Riyadh, saying in January the government needs to review future shipments. In the past 24 months, Berlin has denied key applications for arms exports to Saudi Arabia, including several hundred battle tanks and G36 rifles.
In Belgium, the head of the Flemish government, Minister President Geert Bourgeois, announced in January that he has refused an application for an export licence to ship weapons to Saudi Arabia and hinted he would continue to do so in the future.While the Canadian government is adamant about the deal going ahead, pollster Nik Nanos believes the poll results provide an opportunity "... for the Liberals to cancel, stop, delay or modify the transaction”.
The question yet to be answered is whether Trudeau, especially in this case, is willing to put his money where his rhetoric about collaboration and transparency is.