Canada’s Human Rights Confusion

Stephane Dion made two major foreign policy announcements in the past coming days: one on North Korea and one of Saudi Arabia.

According to the National Newswatch, Dion condemned the announcement that North Korea tested a hydrogen bomb. On the other hand, the Canada-Saudi Arabia Arms Deal is still going through despite the executions that took place early January.

Now it’s important to understand when someone has done something bad, and speak out against it. I applaud the Foreign Minister’s condemnation of North Korea and the hydrogen bomb, but why isn’t the same judgement given to Saudi Arabia?

Photo by Sean Kilpatrick/CP

Saudi Arabia is the subject of many human rights violations, from the war in Yemen to their treatment of minorities. The executions included a Shia Cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, creating tensions within their relationship with Iran.

(I did a video on Saudi Arabia and its human rights problems last year. I highlight the issues regarding human rights and campaign against ending this deal, which was proposed by the Conservative government. You can check it out below for a more detailed summary.)

But what is more important is that we are supplying arms to the country that is actively engaged in a bombing campaign in Yemen. Even if you excuse the executions (which you can read here why this is important), there are so many other crimes that this condones. What this deal does is put Canadian jobs over the rights of many people not only in Saudi Arabia but around the Middle East as well.

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