I’m no fan of Saudi Arabia. I’ve heard many ghastly stories about the treatment of foreigners, women and religious minorities, not to mention the fact that while Saudi Arabia funds mosques around the world, Christian churches are forbidden.
It’s interesting that we’ve never heard much from Canadian media about their deplorable human rights record until a little while ago. Now it’s an obsession for some because of an arms deal. Remember that story from the election?
A private Canadian company secured a contract to build light armoured vehicles that would be sold to Saudi Arabia. Since then, we’ve seen a non-stop series of articles questioning why the deal would be allowed considering Saudi Arabia’s human rights violations.
There’s a big push in the media to have this contract cancelled. Asked about this several times recently, the Liberals acknowledge Saudi Arabia’s horrible human rights record but point out that cancelling a deal that was already signed might damage Canada’s international trading reputation — and put 2,000 people out of work.
But the media keeps pushing - Globe & Mail, CBC and Global TV want the deal cancelled.
Meanwhile, no word about trade deals with other human rights abusers like China and Cuba.
Our trade with Saudi Arabia is dwarfed by human rights abuser and Trudeau’s second favourite country, China. There are no lectures on human rights for them.
Are there regular protests in the media about Canada’s trade with Cuba? No, not at all.
All of these countries score poorly on Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Index and on Freedom House rankings.
Yet, Canada does booming business with China and Cuba with nary a peep from the media about human rights but this one deal with Saudi Arabia has become the issue. Why?
My guess is because it involves military equipment. If it were only about human rights, Canada would be trading with far fewer countries and big contracts that the likes of Power Corp. and others have in China, might be getting more scrutiny.
I may not like Saudi Arabia but if we accept doing business with these other countries then why not the Saudis?