EP 59: Calls to terminate weaponized armoured vehicles exports to Saudi Arabia
In this episode of Vanguard Radio, Marcello Sukhdeo talks about the news about Saudi Arabia using Canadian made military vehicles in clashes with militants, the former defence minister, Peter MacKay regrets not signing the U.S. ballistic missile defence program and the purchase of new machine guns for the Canadian Armed Forces.
The Government of Canada is investigating reports that Saudi Arabia is using Canadian made military vehicles in clashes with militants.
The Foreign Affairs Minister, Chrystia Freeland is concerned and has asked officials to look into this matter.
The statement from Freeland’s department says, “If it is found that Canadian exports have been used to commit serious violations of human rights, the minister will take action.”
Last year there was an outcry when the Trudeau government proceeded with a $15 billion deal to sell light armoured vehicles to Saudi Arabia. This agreement was approved by the Harper government.
Many called on the Liberals to cancel the deal given Saudi Arabia’s widely criticized human rights record. But the former Foreign Affairs minister Stephane Dion said he couldn’t block exports unless the armoured vehicles were being used against innocent civilians, something he had no evidence of. In speaking to the House of Commons back then, he said that he would “reverse the decision” if such equipment was used to commit human-rights abuses.
Conservative foreign affairs critic Peter Kent has already called on the Liberals to terminate export permits if there is “hard evidence” that the Canadian weaponized armoured vehicles are being used against Saudi Arabia’s Shia minority.
Threat from North Korea
Former defence minister Peter MacKay says he regrets not signing on to the U.S. ballistic missile defence program when he had the chance. This policy was a matter that was debated by the former Conservative government, and the previous Liberal administration.
The former defence minister in speaking with CBC News said, “We share a great deal of intelligence with the United States and if they’re alarmed, we should be alarmed.” Not being involved in the program is “a huge problem.”
The threat from North Korea has grown significantly recently as they’ve demonstrated the capability for launching intercontinental ballistic missiles that could potentially reach North America.
The Harper government was in favour of joining the Bush Administration’s missile defence shield but made no attempt to buy into the program. Even the Senate defence committee has twice recommended that Canada join this program but in June the Trudeau government opted not to lift the ban on involvement.
MacKay said he believes very few people in the general public “grasp the gravity” of the current situation and the technological advances that have been made by the regime of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
New C6 Machine Guns
The Canadian government will purchase over 1,100 new C6A1 FLEX General Purpose Machine Guns from Colt Canada at just over $32.1 million, according to Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan.
The current C6 machine guns were procured over 30 years ago. Some have been removed from service due to wear and tear and others are reaching the end of their service life, according to the Canadian military.
The new machine guns are designed to be carried by soldiers or attached to vehicles such as the new TAPV. It will feature a durable polymer butt stock instead of the current wooden style. Also, soldiers will be able to attach pointing devices and optical sighting systems to the new weapon to help increase their operational effectiveness.
The contract includes related equipment such as a cleaning and repair kit, spare parts, and sling to carry the weapon.
The first deliveries of the new C6 is expected in September 2018 with final deliveries by June 2019.