POLITICS

Saudi Arabia's Use Of Canadian-Made Military Vehicles Sparks Concerns From Feds

The regime has reportedly used the hardware in clashes with Shia militants.

07/29/2017 11:20 EDT | Updated 07/29/2017 11:21 EDT
Bill Graveland/CP
A Canadian LAV (light armoured vehicle) arrives to escort a convoy at a forward operating base near Panjwaii, Afghanistan at sunrise on Nov.26, 2006.

OTTAWA — The federal government says it's trying to find out more about reports that Saudi Arabia is using Canadian made military vehicles in clashes with militants.

An emailed statement from the government says Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland is concerned and has asked officials to look into the matter.

The Globe and Mail reported Friday that the Saudi government was using Canadian made armoured vehicles during six days of fighting with Shia militants.

Experts examine videos on social media


The newspaper cited experts on military vehicles who examined images and video on social media of this week's fighting.

The statement from Freeland's department says Canada expects the users of all exports to follow the terms laid out in export permits.

It says the Canadian government will review all available information and come up with an appropriate course of action.

"If it is found that Canadian exports have been used to commit serious violations of human rights, the minister (Freeland) will take action," the statement said.

"The end use and end user of exports, as well as regional stability and human rights, are essential considerations in the authorization of permits for the export of military goods from Canada," the statement said.

Chris Wattie / Reuters
Chrystia Freeland speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on Jan. 31, 2017.

There was a furor last year when the Trudeau government proceeded with a $15 billion deal for an Ontario company to sell light armoured vehicles to Saudi Arabia. The agreement was approved by the former Conservative government.

There were calls for the Liberals to cancel the deal given Saudi Arabia's widely criticized human rights record.

But Freeland's predecessor Stephane Dion said he couldn't block exports unless the armoured vehicles were being used against innocent civilians, something he had no evidence of.

Freeland issued a statement on Thursday saying she was concerned about the recent violence in Saudi Arabia.

The Canadian government updated its travel advisory Friday advising Canadians to exercise a high degree of caution due to the threat of terrorist attacks and security incidents and to avoid all travel within 30 kilometres of the border with Yemen.