With more video evidence that purports to show Canadian-made LAVs being used in Saudi Arabia against their minority Shia population, Foreign Affairs minister Chrystia Freeland has ordered an “urgent investigation” of the claims. At the same time, we’re getting some pretty usual reaction from the various opposition parties and their supporters, that portray the Liberals as being wide-eyed naïfs who had no idea that these vehicles could ever be used for such purposes.
"Wow we had no idea that war machines would be used to kill civilians" – Canada's Liberal MPs.
— Nora Loreto (@NoLore) August 8, 2017
While it’s easy for the woke supporters of opposition parties, who vociferously quote-tweeted the above statements (without assigning such labels to Loreto herself) to try and paint the Liberals as cynics on the issue, this ignores the very real fact that every party in the election was gung-ho about living up to this contract with the Saudis, and insisting that it would go ahead no matter what, because they wanted those jobs – particularly at the General Dynamics plant in London, ON. The fact that the opposition parties, while doing their jobs of holding government to account, are nevertheless speaking out of both sides of their mouths on this issue. It’s also easy to give facile talking points about how terrible Saudi Arabia’s human rights record is without going into the genuine strategic reasons why they’re an ally in the region, and why that complicates and adds a truckload of nuance into the relationship. And as we’ve discussed before, there is no “nice countries only” option when it comes to having an arms industry, and if you think that we can preserve those jobs without getting our hands dirty in the process, well, real life doesn’t work like that. There are trade-offs to be made, and we should be trying to have an honest discussion about it and what those trade-offs are. This chirping, like from our woke tweeter, is not an adult conversation, and does nothing to reflect the reality of the situation in any way.
- Canada may try to get language around climate change into a renegotiated NAFTA (or perhaps it’s just a bargaining chip).
- Jody Wilson-Raybould is talking about lowering legal limits for alcohol, which the restaurant industry says will put them out of business.
- The Prime Minister’s National Security Advisor is in North Korea to try and get a Canadian imprisoned there released.
- As the timelines for the acquisition of “interim” Super Hornets ticks down, Lockheed Martin is also offering up “interim” F-35s.
- The Canadian Forces released some data on the first year of the Military Sexual Misconduct Response Centre.
- The MMIW Inquiry lost another staff member, because of course it did.
- An air passenger rights advocate’s attempts to post to the CTA’s Facebook page are continually being blocked, and he is calling it censorship.
- Doctors, particularly in Ontario, are pushing back against plans to tax the small corporations many of them use to avoid paying taxes.
- American tourists keep trying to bring guns into Canada and lie about it.
- Here’s a look at birth tourism, maternity hotels, and giving children a Canadian passport as “insurance.”
- Conservative Senator Bob Runciman is retiring, and lists the lack of Senate and corrections reforms as his biggest regrets.
- After a couple of weeks away, Charlie Angus is back on the campaign trial while his sister remains in palliative care.
- Susan Delacourt wonders if Canada isn’t becoming too popular when it comes to issues of immigration and refugees trying to cross our borders.
- My Loonie Politics column looks at the problems associated with the eight-year promise that some Conservative senators undertook when appointed.
Odds and ends:
In the Law Times, I have a piece about Ontario’s slow-moving plans to get more Indigenous representation on juries.