Human rights in line with Canada-Saudi Arabia arms deal
Talal Alaboud
York University Political Science department
Human rights in line with Canada-Saudi Arabia arms deal
The recently signed deal between Canada and Saudi Arabia amounting to a massive $15 billion is on record for being the highest military exports contract in the history of Canada. The deal however has been a subject of intense criticism considering the fact that Saudi Arabia ranks among the global states that have a low human rights record. It is sufficiently evident that Saudi Arabia has an unpleasant record in terms of the treatment offenders, dissenters and women rights although slight change in conditions take place. This comes in the wake of reports that it recently deployed soldiers on light armored vehicles to disperse a protesting civilian crowd, which critics hint. The question this research paper would focus on therefore that arises is did Canada’s foreign affairs department conduct the necessary human rights assessment before engaging in the deal ? Canada should therefore express much concern on the purported usage of the light armored vehicles considering that Saudi Arabia has a record of human rights that does not match with its Western counterparts and thus it should not engage in a deal that would amount to human rights violations (OpenCanada.Org, 2015). This theoretical framework of this paper will involve highlighting of key facts in the deal between Canada and Saudi Arabia with research conducted from journals, books and magazines.
The main two theoretical frameworks that will be in use are:
1-Neoliberal theory: it would be use in this analysis especially the study of the current Canadian liberal government and the illustration of exchange of arms and trades between the two nations and what are the predicted and unpredicted outcomes of this deal.
2- Realist theory: it would be use in this analysis to focus on the advantages that Canada can generate from the deal . Also, exemplifying the Saudi Arabian stands and circumstances and the rising chaos in the Middle Eastern region and the Saudi’s defense needs.
Implementing those two theories would ensure the comprehensive reach to a useful argument. In examination of the event and an additional illustrative approach to show both the pros and cons of the largest exporting deal in the history of this country (Canada).
According to OpenCanada.Org (2015), there is need for scrutiny on the deal since the government of Canada has refused to state whether it received assurances that the light armored vehicles destined to Saudi Arabia would not end up being used against the civilian population of Saudi Arabia. Clearly, this is very crucial guarantee required in federal export controls in situations where arms are sold to a country like Saudi Arabia that is as mentioned before has an unpleasant human rights record moreover involved in ongoing vague war with terrorist groups in its neighboring state Yemen that are backed by Iran. As a result of the proxy war between the two Saudi versus Iran civilians lives are in risk. Indeed, as the global landscape rapidly change, especially in the Middle East where ISIS and other terrorist militias with different ideologies arise as the threat for stabilize nations as the Gulf States mainly Saudi Arabia. On the other hand, however it is worth stating that Canada announced the deal without a single mention of Saudi’s human rights situation instead Canada’s minister for trade talked only about job creation and cross-Canada supply chain (The Globe and Mail, 2015) .
Considering several critics within the new liberal approach, the deal should not have stood since the first major point of scrutiny would be analyzing the human rights record of Saudi Arabia since Canada has a standing protocol that calls for due diligence before engaging in the sale of goods that may in turn be used to cause human rights violations. In light of the same, the minister for trade before making the deal public should have conducted a thorough assessment of Saudi Arabia’s human rights record. From the realist perspective, the main point of concern would be how the Canadian government would benefit from the deals and clearly, considering the whooping figures, there would not have been much hesitation to the signing of the deal (Kay, 2015).
In this outline and further in the final paper it is worth stating that the deal has been a subject of intense criticism considering the fact that Saudi Arabia ranks among the global states with low human rights record. It is important that Canada expresses much concern on the destination of the light armored vehicles since Saudi Arabia has an unpleasant record of human rights and thus it should not engage in a deal that would amount to human rights violations. Canada should therefore seek for the necessary assurances from the government of Saudi Arabia that the armored vehicles would not be used in causing human rights violations. On the same hand, considering the threat that an allied country face in unstable and boiling region.
Grade: 3.5 / 5
• In light of my suggestion about your essay question, and how your thesis should be reformulated, I suggest you dig into the geo-political / economic ties of Canada in the Middle East / Saudi Arabia.
• This could help you problematize tension between foreign policy in geo-political terms, economic policy, and HR advocacy by Canada.
• On this last point, could tie it more specifically by problematizing why Liberal gvt maintained the deal, while in opposition critiqued Harper gvt for its militarist approach to conflict in Syria, by suggesting alternatively humanitarian aid. Has anything changed in Liberal gvt claims on this since in power? And if not, what deals tell us about its claim on humanitarian aid?

Kay, Z. (2015). The diplomacy of prudence: Canada and Israel, 2013-2016. Montreal, Que:
McGill-Queen’s University Press.
OpenCanada.Org (2015). Ten facts about Canada’s arms deal with Saudi Arabia. Retrieved 10th
Feb from https://www.opencanada.org/features/ten-facts-about-canadas-arms-deal-with-saudi-arabia/
The Globe and Mail (2015). Canada not tracking Saudi rights record despite $15 billion arms
deal. Retrieved 10th Feb from http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/canada-not-tracking-saudi-rights-record-despite-15-billion-arms-deal/article24506186/

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