May 13, 2016

Canada's sale of light armoured vehicles to Saudi Arabia hypocritical -- but still defensible

Bryan KapitzaRebel Blogger

The Liberals decision to sell Canadian built light armoured vehicles (LAVs) to Saudi Arabia after all demonstrates the moral hypocrisy of the self appointed protectors of human rights who clamor for attention in our sympathetic national media.

According to their world view, it is morally wrong to sell weapons to Saudi Arabia, but apparently morally acceptable to purchase oil from them (instead of from Alberta).  It is proper to chide Saudi Arabia for clinging to a pre-medieval misogynistic view of women, but improper to prevent Salafism/Wahhabism from entering Canada under the guise of multiculturalism. Trade with our second and fifth largest trading partners, China or Mexico, is not an issue, either, despite both nations ranking lower than Saudi Arabia on some indices.

Contrary to the claims made by the opponents of the Saudi Arms deal, armored vehicles are not used to kill civilians, but to engage enemy combatants, quickly bring troops to combat areas, and support them as they carry out their assigned tasks. The great civilian slaughters of the last century were carried out by gas (Germany), gun (Cambodia), and sword (Rwanda). If we are to be concerned about our arms export policies, we should focus on our existing small arms trade with a myriad of other regimes.

Basing trade on some sort of ethical imperative is neither feasible nor desirable. We trade because we need certain things we do not have, cannot produce ourselves, or because someone else does so better or cheaper. All these factors matter.  We no longer manufacturer clothing in Canada because it is done as well, and cheaper, in countries such as Bangladesh and Vietnam. The money we save by outsourcing allows us to pursue the production of greater value goods and services.

Accessing many necessary goods means having to deal with nations that do not share our values. Indeed, the majority of nations in the world do not share our values. From their perspective, the whole notion of human rights that springs from liberal democracy is a form of neo-colonialism. Our attempts to modernize Afghanistan and Iraq should serve as clear examples. Indeed, ethical trade amounts to a form of economic isolationism, a path that leads to financial and national ruin. In plain terms, we engage in trade not for the benefit of our trading partners, whomever they may be, but for our benefit.

But perhaps we should limit ourselves to the questions as to whether we should be in the arms trade at all? Of course, there are groups that expound that position: that any trade in arms simply perpetuates violence and is not Canadian. That position is, however, once again, entirely unrealistic.

It is in the best interests of our nation to engage in the arms trade because there are people/organizations/nations that wish to do us harm; to erase from the face of the earth, the idea of western liberal democracy and human rights. Our small internal market for armaments cannot sustain our weapon manufacturers, and so, in order to develop the weapons we need to defend ourselves, we must look outside for markets and allies.  

We choose to sell weapons to Israel instead of Hamas and Hezbollah because Israeli values closely match our own, and are under threat. Israel is, despite its shortcomings, the dim light of liberalism in the Middle East.

With the sale of the LAVs to the Saudis we are firmly aligning ourselves with the kingdom over the Iranian backed Houthis, a group whose motto is "Death to America, Death to Israel, curse the Jews, long live Islam." This is a group that most Canadians would not wish to see rise to power. Their ascendency would be a step backwards in the fight for human rights.

Saudi Arabia is not an ideal trading partner, but it is the best choice, the pragmatic choice, in a situation where only bad but necessary choices exist.

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commented 2016-05-13 17:30:21 -0400
Saudi Arabia is the number one buyer of foreign arm sales from the US. The inventory of planes as just one example is just eye popping. Which begs the question what the hell is all that weaponry for?
commented 2016-05-13 16:24:59 -0400
So this week I rode a bus from Windsor with a group of Ontario Nurses Association (ONA) nurses to Queens Park Ontario. As an Observer to with the nurses to see our local NDP MPP floor a motion for the Wynne Liberals to implement a moratorium on any further erosion of RN positions. The MPP also had more than 10,000 Windsorite signatures collected in a 2 week period. No such luck. By the way since Wynne started 14,400 RN have been pick slipped. Also Wynne was grilled about the new and 5th investigation by the RCMP for cancelling a big wind farm out on the lake to by votes at election time, how much is this costing us. Really! If you haven’t figured out Wynne will leave office and go be a top paid exec at the hydro company she is making?? AND lets’ not forget to mention the Liberals want to legislate a mandate that all municipalities must put Fluoride in the drinking water because the dentists are upset about child tooth decay. My joints are starting to ache already. Windsor just finished fighting tooth and nail to get that poison out.
commented 2016-05-13 13:28:29 -0400
If Canada (Ontario, Quebec) didn’t by Saudi oil there would be no need for us to sell ararments to them to try to maintain a balance oif trade. I hope they enjoy the equalization payments from the Saudi’s on the profits they make on their oil.
commented 2016-05-13 11:05:26 -0400
As commented by BILL ELDER, this was not a JT decision but regardless he would not have interfered with this deal.

He is more concerned with keeping his Saudi Bank Account in good shape, he dose not want to upset his Saudi Masters
commented 2016-05-13 10:50:17 -0400
Do not support selling S.A. any kind of military equipment whatsoever.

In fact, i believe Canada should completely disengage until they a free and open society with civil rights for all.
That goes for every other theocratic islamic state as well.
commented 2016-05-13 09:51:56 -0400

Give it time, it will be shuttered . . . as it does not meet the Wynne ideals of manufacturing. It makes money and uses energy.

DDBW! (Dump Douche Bag Wynne)
commented 2016-05-13 09:45:24 -0400
This is one of the Ontario manufacturing companies that Whinny hasn’t managed to chase out of the province…..yet.
commented 2016-05-13 09:43:12 -0400
The LAV contract with General Dynamics London was signed in 2013. It was part of th NATO decision to allow the sale of arms to non enemy states. We also sold LAVS to Peru in the same years. Seeing how this is just a fulfillment of a legally binding contract signed before Truseau was even a legend in his own mind, he really has not much to say about it. He COULD breaks the law and stop the sale, and force GD into contract default so it has to close its London facility and dump 3400 more people out on the street, – but obviously some adults in the Truedolt regime decided this would be a “one term wonder” kinda move, and retracted the talk of intervening in the sale.
commented 2016-05-13 09:34:10 -0400

“The money we save . . . allows us to pursue the production . . . "
Like what?
Do we produce vehicles? Not really any longer.
Do we produce computers and related equipment, if so why is everything coming from the Far East?
What we do have is a lot more restaurants, old folks and retirement homes as well as a bloated government bureaucracy along with an ever increasing police presence.

I don’t have a big issue with the trade however I do have issues with governmental policies which destroy viable companies and does not replace the lost jobs.

commented 2016-05-13 09:23:28 -0400
It is a good thing that Canada can produce at least some of the fighting vehicles we require to protect our country and oppose our enemies. If the House of Saud is a customer of Canadian military manufacturing, so be it.