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Canada probably won’t stop exporting light armored vehicles to Saudi Arabia amid global outrage at the killing of Saudi government critic Jamal Khashoggi, but it needs to reduce its dependency on Saudi oil, the leader of the Conservative in parliament, Andrew Scheer told media, as quoted by The Huffington Post.
The LAV deal, signed by the previous government, has been honored by the current cabinet as well, and as per a Canadian Press report from this week it would cost US$760 million (C$1 billion) to cancel the US$11.5-billion (C$15-billion) deal. The Canadian Press cited PM Justin Trudeau as saying he did not want to saddle Canadians with a billion-dollar bill.
Just a day earlier, however, Trudeau was quoted by various media as saying that Ottawa was prepared to freeze the LV deal if it finds out the vehicles have been misused. "We strongly demand and expect that Canadian exports are used in a way that fully respects human rights," the PM said in parliament on Tuesday. "We have frozen export permits before when we had concerns about their potential misuse and we will not hesitate to do so again."
Faced with the same question, however, the leader of the Conservatives in parliament dodged it, turning instead to oil. "When we talk about what Canada can do to stand up to Saudi Arabia, I believe the most effective way to do that is to get Canada off foreign oil, especially Saudi Arabia's," The Huffington Post quoted Scheer as saying.
As reporters pressed the MP for an answer, Scheer conceded that a cancelation of the contract is a possibility but refrained from any more specifics.
Canada’s relations with Saudi Arabia were already strained after a tweet from the Foreign Ministry in Ottawa criticizing Riyadh for the detention of human rights activists spurred the Saudis into action, which consisted of severing all diplomatic relations with Canada. Now, public outcry against the killing of Khashoggi could tip the scales further against Saudi Arabia and Canada’s arms business with Riyadh.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.