Stephen Harper claimed that his government was all about free trade. But recent data begs the question, "What kind of trade?" Elizabeth Thompson, at ipolitics, reports:
Canada’s arms exports shot up while Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative government was in office, fuelled by higher sales to countries like Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Mexico and Austria.
Between 2006 and 2013, the last year for which numbers are available, Canada’s exports of military goods to countries outside the United States rose 89 per cent. However, that number is likely to hit a new high once figures for 2014 become available and a controversial $15 billion General Dynamics armoured vehicle sale to Saudi Arabia is added to the totals.
While the United Kingdom was the top destination outside of the United States for military equipment manufactured in Canada when the Liberals left office in 2005, that title now goes to Saudi Arabia, whose human rights record — particularly the recent beheading of a Shiite cleric — has made the armoured vehicle deal a target for opposition critics, including the Conservatives who approved of it in government.
The Middle Eastern country accounts for near a quarter of the military goods exported by Canada to countries other than the U.S. in 2013. In 2012, a year that Canada set a record for arms exports with $1 billion worth of sales, Saudi Arabia accounted for 40 per cent of military exports.
Harper used to castigate countries like Russia for exporting arms and tyranny. But the destination of those arms sales calls into question everything Harper said about Canada standing on the side of Freedom and Justice.
Clearly, Mr. Harper stood on the side of Profit -- at any cost.