October 4th, 2016
Liberals reject oversight of Canadian arms exports
Government votes against NDP motion that would have established Parliamentary committee to investigate Canadian arms exports to human rights abusers
OTTAWA – The Liberal government today rejected an NDP motion to establish parliamentary oversight of Canadian arms exports, including to states with poor human rights records. The NDP motion would have established a multi-partisan committee empowered to examine all aspects of Canada’s current and future arms exports. A similar committee in the United Kingdom has investigated that country’s arms exports since 1999.
“This was a cynical, disappointing, and irresponsible vote by the Liberals,” said NDP Foreign Affairs Critic Hélène Laverdière (Laurier – Sainte-Marie), sponsor of the motion. “Canadians have a lot of questions about Canada’s arms exports to countries with questionable human rights records, and they deserve transparency and accountability from this government. Today, they got neither.”
Recent polls show that most Canadians disapprove of arms deals with human rights abusers. But Canadian weapons exports have nearly doubled over the last ten years, and Canada is now the second-largest arms dealer in the Middle East, including to countries with poor human rights records like Libya, Sudan and Saudi Arabia. Details on these Canadian arms exports remain scarce.
"Canadians are deeply concerned about human rights, especially following the many revelations about our arms exports to the Middle East and Africa," said Laverdière. “As Parliamentarians, we have a duty to ensure Canada is making the right choices and upholding human rights. With their shameful vote today, the Liberals have shown that they’d rather hide their heads in the sand than ensure transparency and accountability.”