Transparency a casualty in arms deals with Saudis

Transparency a casualty in arms deals with Saudis

~ From The Globe and Mail ~
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The federal government is fond of boasting about how its controls on weapons exports are among the strongest in the world, but Canadians are left largely in the dark over precisely what military and security equipment is being shipped to foreign customers – including those with poor human-rights records.For instance, Canada’s flourishing security and defence business with Saudi Arabia goes well beyond the controversial $15-billion sale of General Dynamics fighting vehicles to Riyadh, but Canadians must turn to the Internet, rather than their government, for details.Saudi Arabian media coverage reveals how Terradyne Armored Vehicles, of Newmarket, Ont., has found a market in Saudi Arabia for its brand of tactical vehicles – which are advertised with options such as gun turrets and remote weapons systems. Photos of what military equipment experts identify as Terradyne Gurkhas have turned up in coverage of a demonstration exercise by Saudi special forces, in stories on Saudi border posts embroiled in Riyadh’s war with Yemen and elsewhere.Unless a Canadian company wants to talk about such deals – and they rarely do – transactions like these draw little attention at home.

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