Everyone knows that the US is the biggest exporter of arms in the world, but what most of us don’t know is that despite Canada’s reputation as a less war-inclined neighbour to the north, Canada has become the second country after the US in countries exporting weapon to Middle East.
According to IHS Jane’s annual “Global Defence Trade Report,” published on June 13, “Canada is the second-largest exporter of defence equipment to the Middle East with $2.7 billion in sales, moving the UK down the table to fourth place, just behind France.”
Canada also ranks sixth among all arms-exporting countries. In spite of objections from several members of the parliament, Canadian-made arms have ended in the hands of Saudi-led coalition that is waging a war on Yemen, killing thousands of innocents, including women and children.
The report also reveals that the defense equipment sale in 2015 skyrocketed to $65 billion and the Middle-East receives the lion’s share worth $21 billion import of arms. Saudi Arabia received $9.3 billion of military equipment in 2015. In the last decade, the country has imported $36 billion worth of arms.
Canada’s arms exports increased 89 percent under former Conservative Party Prime Minister Stephen Harper. The present Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also has refused to back down from the arms deal, particularly the $15 billion worth armored vehicle deal with Saudi Arabia that was initiated by Harper.
Saudi Arabia is a country regularly ranked by watchdog Freedom House as among the “worst of the worst” on human rights. Even Amnesty International has said human rights in Saudi Arabia have “steadily deteriorated” in the previous 12 months. The huge arms deal might cause dire consequences.