The Canadian government's rapidly-shifting talking points on their decision to export militarized Light Armored Vehicles [LAVs] to Saudi Arabia entered a new phase.
Now, Foreign Affairs Minister Stephane Dion is insisting that he would have canceled the deal if he had proof of human rights abuses in the theocratic dictatorship, but he'll be open to retroactively killing the deal at some point in the future if he sees evidence of Riyadh using the Canadian-made weaponized on its own citizens.
Speaking to reporters on Wednesday afternoon, Dion went on to offer a litany of other explanations for his decision to approve the sale of $15 billion worth of the LAVs to the regime, which brutally executes hundreds of people a year, offers few rights to women, faces accusations of war crimes in Yemen, and which is continuing to subject civil liberties advocates like blogger Raif Badawi to brutal corporal punishment.
The minister contended that "our government will not weaken the credibility of the signature of the government of Canada."
Then, he suggested that cancelling the military deal could jeopardize an education exchange that has placed some 17,000 Saudi students in Canadian universities. He further argued that rejecting the deal "will simply hand the contract to a non-Canadian, potentially more ambivalent provider," adding that Saudi Arabia is a "strategic partner" in the region.
In a related context, the minister told reporters that had he found proof that the LAVs would be used, or that previously-sold Canadian gear had been used, against civilian populations, things may have been different.
Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team