The controversial Saudi arms deal being filled by General Dynamics Land Systems in London has another backer on its side.
The Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries says they don’t take positions on the judicial practices of other countries and that Canada’s foreign policy is not up to them.
President Christyn Cianfarani spoke today at CANSEC, a defence and security trade show that includes 11,000 participants and includes an array of weapons displays.
Cianfarani said by filling the contract, they are following the rules.
“It’s very simple. The industry is heavily regulated and it’s our job to follow the rules set by the Government of Canada,” said Cianfarani. “I think it’s pretty clear the values and interests of the country as well as the foreign policy is set by the Government of Canada, which dictates to whom and what we’re allowed to sell.”
The NDP and Amnesty International are among a number of groups trying to convince the Liberal government to back out of the contract.
They cite Saudi Arabia’s poor human rights record as reason to cancel the massive arms deal.
However, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Foreign Affairs Minister say they are fulfilling a contract that the previous Conservative government approved. Not going through with the contract would have a negative effect on future negotiations.
According to a new report by Science, Innovation and Economic Development Canada and Statistics Canada, the country’s defence industry produced $10-billion in revenues in 2014, the majority of those exports.
“60 per cent of those revenues come out of an export market, so we’re predominantly export facing,” said Cianfarani.
The report also stated that the defence industry contributed $6.7-billion to the GDP as well as 63,000 jobs in 2014, the year the Saudi arms deal was announced.