OTTAWA â€“ 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 Canadaâ€™s current and future arms exports. A similar committee in the United Kingdom has investigated that countryâ€™s arms exports since 1999.
â€œThis was a cynical, disappointing, and irresponsible vote by the Liberals,â€� said NDP Foreign Affairs Critic HÃ©lÃ¨ne LaverdiÃ¨re (Laurier â€“ Sainte-Marie), sponsor of the motion. â€œCanadians have a lot of questions about Canadaâ€™s arms exports to countries with questionable human rights records, and they deserve transparency and accountability from this government. Today, they got neither.â€�
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 LaverdiÃ¨re. â€œAs 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 theyâ€™d rather hide their heads in the sand than ensure transparency and accountability.â€�
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