Jan 14, 2016
By Jane Brown
A Liberal elder statesman is calling for a review of a controversial $15-billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia.
Lloyd Axworthy served as foreign minister between 1996 and 2000 under Prime Minister Jean Chretien and remains influential in Liberal circles.
He says he doesn’t think Canada should be deepening relations with a Mideast country notorious for human rights abuses.
Axworthy says a recomendation to “cozy up” to Saudi Arabia “is about the last piece of advice I would give,” particularly due to what he sees as Saudi Arabia’s worsening record.
The country is notorious for its treatment of women, dissidents and prisoners. And just this month, Riyadh conducted a mass execution that included a prominent Muslim cleric.
The Trudeau Liberals are refusing to cancel a contract to provide hundreds of weaponized armoured combat vehicles to the Saudi Arabian National Guard. They say cancelling the deal would hurt Canada’s reputation to renege on what they characterize as a done deal.