The Trudeau government, which is still weighing whether to suspend shipments in the $15-billion sale of armoured vehicles to Saudi Arabia, has rejected a call from Canadian senators to give human rights and international humanitarian law greater weight in the arms-export control system.
Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, in a letter to the Senate human rights committee, said she could not agree to this or another recommendation that would place additional controls on the end use of Canadian goods by foreign customers to ensure they are not part of serious violations of rights or international humanitarian law.
Ms. Freeland wrote in the letter, dated Nov. 2, that if Canada instituted new export controls unilaterally, it would be out of step with its allies and place Canadian exporters at a disadvantage.
Canada and other countries are considering measures to censure Saudi Arabia over the murder of dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said Canada is considering suspending export permits in the sale of light armoured vehicles to Riyadh. The Harper government signed the 14-year deal, but the Trudeau Liberals approved the export permits.