Thursday, October 29, 2020

Jaramillo: Nagorno-Karabakh a reminder Canada’s a global arms dealer


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The report of the investigation, issued in September 2019, found that “officials did not identify any existing permits or pending applications that would be of concern.” All suspensions were lifted soon thereafter; Canadian arms would continue flowing to Saudi Arabia.

And so, recent history suggests that the announced suspension of arms exports to Turkey must be taken with a grain of salt. Also significant is the fact that, unlike Saudi Arabia, Turkey is a NATO ally. It is possible that other NATO members could pressure Canada to resume exports, citing, for example, requirements for military interoperability among alliance members.

The troubling reality is that the Canadian arms industry has become alarmingly linked with disreputable regimes that are engaged in some of the world’s most devastating conflicts. And the federal government has been complicit by seeking out, then preserving lucrative arms deals with such actors. This is an untenable position — and one that cannot be concealed from the rest of the world. Only last month, Canada and other arms exporters were chastised in a UN report for perpetuating the crisis in Yemen.

Despite government claims, Canada does not have one of the strongest export controls systems in the world. Replete with contradictions in policy and practice, the system has been weak and unreliable. Today, a disconcertingly high proportion of Canadian arms exports help to sustain autocratic regimes, perpetuate armed conflict and enable the violation of human rights.

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