Thursday, 3 September 2015

Dear Canadians: I Really Think We Need to Vote Them Out

Canadian designed and built LAV III by General Dynamics (source)
Hey guys! I've been having what's called a social life lately, which has been stealing precious time from what can be termed as family and household obligations, which has been offsetting all of my precious blogging time. It's disgusting, and revolting and just not at all fair - I know - and I promise it will all come to a screeching end soon - as it always does.

Until my successful social life implodes, however, I will occasionally come up for air. In this instance, I implore you, my readership, to do just one thing this October. If you're Canadian, please vote against Stephen Harper this election. Practically this means voting Liberal or NDP. This is important because this Harper Government is basically evil - the evidence is out.

The examples are legion, but here's one I'll talk about now.
Ottawa is contractually obliged to keep secret the details of a controversial $15-billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia – a transaction that Stephen Harper personally assured the country’s monarch will be guaranteed by the Canadian government, documents say.

Foreign Affairs e-mails obtained by The Globe and Mail under access-to-information law indicate the Saudis have made excess publicity about the sale of armoured fighting vehicles a deal-breaker.
I've written about this foul and putrid deal here and here. Other governments are doing similar things, but we're Canadian and we're supposed to be peaceful. My father didn't get killed while hitchhiking through Egypt and Israel during the Six Day War in 1967 partly because he had a big Canadian flag sewn to his backpack. At gunpoint, they saw it and happily commented on the beautiful lakes in Ontario just before not killing him. Yes, Canada meant something.
A cloak of secrecy surrounds this agreement, first announced in 2014, with Ottawa refusing to divulge any substantial information on the vehicles Canada is selling to the Saudi regime – or how it justifies the sale to a nation known for human-rights abuses.
This is the same government that launched our Office of Religious Freedom. The hypocrisy here is so thick that I am gagging and hope to not vomit all over my keyboard. This new office is part of the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs. The ORF's head, Andrew Bennett publicly denounced the treatment of secular blogger Raif Badawi by the barbaric Kingdom of Saud before his first flogging.

Of course, they know how unpopular and, well, immoral, this deal is. Both sides are keeping as quiet as possible.
In another government e-mail exchange in January of 2015, Brigette Walenius, deputy director with Foreign Affairs' Middle East-Maghreb Commercial Unit, cited General Dynamics officials who spoke of a “confidentiality clause in their contract with the Saudis” and how Riyadh “could terminate [the] contract if too much info is released.”
Must keep all this hush hush or else how will we be able to feed on the revolting blood money flowing in. If we don't take the money, someone else will, right? Best to keep all this human rights business out.

It turns out that the Conservative government is jumping with glee and smacking their salivating lips just thinking about all those wonderful LAVs (light armoured vehicles) they will sell a nation that chops people's heads off for practicing witchcraft. 
The Canadian ambassador ends this e-mail with a jubilant expression “Gotta LOV the LAV!” but not before sketching out some bare-bones details.

He wrote that General Dynamics “have been chasing” the contract since 2009 and it’s a boon for the plant in London, Ont., because the company’s work on LAVs for Canada’s mission in Afghanistan was wrapping up as the Canadian combat mission ended in 2011. These new orders will “replace the decline from Canada’s Afghanistan withdrawal,” Mr. MacDonald said in his e-mail.

The ambassador wrote that the LAVs “are going to be ‘fully loaded,’” that they would be the “most advanced ever made” and that delivery would start 38 months after the contract was signed and last another 108 months, or nine years.

A separate January 21, 2015, e-mail from an official in Foreign Affairs’s export-control division said documentation received from General Dynamics to date suggests the vehicles could possibly include turreted LAVs “equipped with automatic firearms.”
The Saudi government, who are not a democracy but rather a theocratic monarchy, who have special forces of religious police roaming the streets, who will throw you into jail for questioning anything to do with the government, who do not allow women to drive, who execute people for trivial reasons and who use force to disperse their own citizens and have used essentially the same vehicles to brutalize civil uprisings in Bahrain - the Harper government wants to do business with them!
As an example of how light armoured vehicles (LAVs) might enable human-rights abuses, rights activists allege it was Canadian-made fighting vehicles that Saudi Arabia sent into Bahrain in 2011 to help quell a democratic uprising. Asked if it believes the Saudis used made-in-Canada LAVs when they went into Bahrain, the Canadian government doesn’t deny this happened. It only says it doesn’t believe the vehicles were used to beat back protests.
Maybe they see a little of themselves in the Saudi regime? I'm certain similarities could be found.

Please vote this man out.

If you're an American Democrat, please vote for Bernie Sanders. See how political I am?

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