Canada’s Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau — a man who is willing to say the most progressive, laudable things imaginable, provided he doesn’t have to do anything — has steadfastly refused to cancel Canada’s planned $15 billion sale of antipersonnel weapons to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, despite the incipient genocide in Yemen and the Kingdom’s practice of dismembering critical journalists.
Trudeau’s excuses for staying in the deal would be laughable, if they weren’t so terrible.
But Canadians are way out ahead of their PM on this one: 9 in 10 Canadians surveyed by Angus Reid want no future arms deals with Saudi; 76% say Canadians companies should be banned from selling arms to Saudi; and 46% want the current deal cancelled (a share that has grown by 6% in a year).
Trudeau came into power on wings of hope, replacing a catastrophic petro-Tory regime that spent 12 years imposing austerity, denying climate change, and sabotaging science. Trudeau’s record since? Increasing digital surveillance; breaking promises on the crises of Canada’s First Nations and on reconciliation for the horrors of the past; selling billions in arms to genocidal maniacs; being more pro-pipeline than Trump; and presiding over the rise and mainstreaming of far-right hate groups and overt white supremacists and the Ontario election of a virulent hate-monger authoritarian whose gerrymandering might doom the province to a decades-long interregnum of hate, stagnation and ignorance.
While a majority of Canadians (63%) say they have followed the news of Jamal Khashoggi’s murder, it does not appear to have an impact on views of the Saudi Arms deal. In fact, those with no pre-existing knowledge of the case are more likely than all others to say Canada should end the deal
Asked which countries Canada should not sell military arms to, 76 per cent of Canadians say Saudi Arabia should be banned. This represents a 14-point increase from 2017. The same number say Iran should be prohibited, while 54 per cent say China should be as well.
Politics drives opinion on this issue: past NDP supporters are most likely to say Canada should end the 15-year arms deal now and prohibit future sales – 57 per cent say this, compared to close to four-in-ten Liberals (43%) and Conservatives (38%)