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Majority of Canadians against selling weapons to Saudi Arabia

A majority of Canadians oppose arms trade with Saudi Arabia, a new poll finds. [Getty]

Date of publication: 14 September, 2017

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A majority of Canadians disagree with their government's arms sales to Saudi Arabia over revelations that Riyadh used Canadian-made combat vehicles against civilians in the Kingdom's east.

A majority of Canadians disagree with their government's arms sales to Saudi Arabia after revelations that Riyadh used Canadian-made combat vehicles against civilians in the Kingdom's east.

Earlier in August, video footage which appeared online appeared to show a Canadian-made Tarradyne Gurkha armoured personnel carrier (APC) being driven through the devastated town of Awamiyah.

One video clip showed combat machines made by General Dynamics Land Systems' London, Ontario, factory being deployed.

Canada's Foreign Affairs Minister said shortly after the revelation that the government was working with a "sense of urgency" to investigate whether Canadian-made vehicles were used in the town, which was put under siege by Saudi authorities in May after attempts to evict residents turned violent.

According to a new poll, 64 percent of Canadians "oppose" and "somewhat oppose" the Canadian government allowing armoured vehicles to be sold to Saudi Arabia, The Globe and Mail reported.

Forty percent oppose all sales, while 20 percent somewhat oppose the arms trade with Saudi Arabia.

"It doesn't matter how you ask the question. A majority of Canadians don't like these transactions," pollster Mr. Nanos told the Canadian news site.

The Canadian government said this week that it is still investigating the matter and does not yet have any findings for the public.

Federal arms-control laws in Canada forbid arms exports unless the government can prove there is no risk of them being used against civilians.

"Reports from Awamiyah were disturbing. The onus is clearly on the federal government to establish that Canadian military goods were not, and are not, being used against civilians," University of Ottawa international-affairs professor Roland Paris told The Globe and Mail.

Amnesty International Canada Secretary-general Alex Nece said its time to end armoured vehicle sales to Saudi Arabia.

"Canadians understand the grave human-rights implications. It is time for the government to follow suit".

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