No 1489 Posted by fw, October 25, 2015
Here is a first draft of an open letter to our new prime minister designate, Justin Trudeau, which I will send to him tomorrow. (If you sympathize with this action, please consider sending your own letter. Feel free to use my message as a template).
Dear Mr. Trudeau, LPC, MP
First, although I did not vote Liberal, I extend my sincere congratulations on your stunning victory.
Today, I am writing on a matter that came up in the September 24 French-language debate — the Conservative government’s secretive armoured carriers deal with Saudi Arabia. When the matter was raised, you remained conspicuously silent during, and long after the end of the heated discussion on the deal.
For the following reasons, I write to urge you to inform Saudi Arabia that you intend to cancel this agreement.
As you are no doubt aware, these vehicles are not, as Prime Minster Harper stated, “transport vehicles”. In fact, sources report they will be equipped with 25 millimetre cannon.
According to Canada’s Export Controls Handbook, export controls seek to ensure that, among other criteria, exports from Canada “are not used to commit human rights violations.”
Evidence of Saudi Arabia’s countless human rights violations are well documented. One particularly barbaric case has recently been brought to light by Clive Stafford Smith, founder and director of the international legal charity, Reprieve.
Smith relates the story of Ali Mohammed al-Nimr, who, as a teenager, was convicted for encouraging pro-democracy protests during the Arab Spring in 2012.
For this non-violent act, Ali has been sentenced to execution by beheading and crucifixion. First his head will be chopped off, then his headless body will be hung upside down on a cross for three days to send a horrendously graphic message to others — behave obediently or else.
Ali’s execution is imminent. This state-sponsored savagery is not an isolated incident in Saudi Arabia. Smith reports that 171 people are currently sentenced to be executed, almost three-quarters for nonviolent offences. These are not extremists, they’re people who are merely protesting for more democracy. Sixteen of them are set to die, including several children. Ali is one of them.
In addition, a recent poll revealed that 65 percent of Saudis say they support ISIS and what ISIS is doing.
Given the above facts, do we not need to choose our allies more wisely? If Canada follows through with the Saudi arms deal, by this very act of wilfully blind complicity, will we not have the blood of innocents on our hands? Knowing this, can you allow this arms deal to stand?
Will you now follow your moral conscience, take a principled stand and do the right thing? Cancel the arms deal. And join the mounting international pressure to release Ali Mohammed al-Nimr.
Show Canadians that you will take us in a new foreign policy direction, one that will restore our pride in a nation where Canada’s export control principles and human rights and justice for all are taken seriously.
I welcome your response to my letter.
Sources consulted in the preparation of this letter –
Featured picture credit: Casandra Effe’s addressed envelope to Justin Trudeau