Editorial – Given its brutality, Canada must divest itself of all dealings with Saudi Arabia

Mac Olsen

The murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the hands of the Saudi Arabian government should be a wakeup call to Canada and other nations.

They must not only denounce that Middle Eastern kingdom, but break off all diplomatic, economic and military relationships with its murderous regime. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has expressed his “outrage” over the incident, as quoted in the National Post on October 23:

“It is unacceptable and unthinkable that someone could have murdered a journalist on foreign soil like this, that is something that the global community cannot stand for,” Trudeau said.

If only Trudeau’s deeds matched his “outrage.” The first thing his government should do is cancel Canada’s $13 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia.

However, Trudeau said in the same story, it would be “very difficult” to freeze the deal and could cost $1 billion to do so.

Ah, Mr. Prime Minister, aren’t you the person who is supposed to be an “enlightened” and “progressive” political figure? Given that you have made all those pronouncements about equality and social justice, are you not being two-faced when dealing with Saudi Arabia?

Yes, you are being two-faced and spineless when dealing with a regime that is known for flagrant human rights abuses, including murder.

No government – whether it’s left-wing or right-wing – should have dealings with Saudi Arabia. It’s morally reprehensible to continue doing business with that government, especially after what it did to Khashoggi.

I’m not worried about a $1 billion penalty as a consequence of cancelling that arms deal with Saudi Arabia. Given Saudi Arabia’s reputation, I would rather stand on principle and moral certitude than appease that brutal regime and allow it to have military technology and hardware from Canada.

So, Trudeau, grow a spine – do the right thing and cancel the arms deal outright.

I am mindful of the diplomatic fallout that occurred between the Canadian and Saudi governments last summer. As per another National Post story on Aug. 7, the Canadian government issued a Tweet concerning the arrest of two female bloggers and activists, urging their release.

The Saudi government called that an interference by the Canadian government into its internal affairs and went so far as to threaten the cancellation of thousands of scholarships for Saudis attending school here.

Well, again, I see no reason for Canada to deal with a regime that has shown brutality towards its own people. That’s not just one nation’s “internal affairs,” it’s a matter to be condemned by all governments and nations.

Moreover, given that Canada relies on oil imports from Saudi Arabia and other countries, we should divest ourselves of that reliance and work on a self-sufficient, made-in-Canada energy strategy. That strategy should include restarting the Energy East pipeline and allowing Alberta’s oil to flow to the Maritimes.

Finally, Canada should quit being hypocritical, do the right thing and divest itself of all dealings with Saudi Arabia.


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