Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland’s department says she is “deeply concerned” about the reports that Saudi Arabia is deploying Canadian-made armoured vehicles in an escalating conflict with Saudi citizens.
The Canadian foreign minister has reportedly asked officials to investigate the allegations that the Al Saud regime is using Canadian armoured vehicles in crackdown against its own citizens.
Global Affairs Canada released a statement shortly after The Globe and Mail published a story Friday on the apparent use of Canadian-made combat vehicles in Saudi Arabia’s violence-plagued Eastern Province.
For the first time, video footage and photos have surfaced on social media allegedly showing the Arab kingdom using Canadian weaponized equipment against Saudi civilians – a development that spurred calls Friday for the Liberal government to halt defence exports to the oil-rich nation.
Military equipment experts consulted by The Globe identified the machines appearing in these videos and photos as Gurkha RPVs, produced by Terradyne Armored Vehicles in Newmarket, Ont., just north of Toronto.
“The minister is deeply concerned about this situation and has asked officials to review it immediately,” Global Affairs told The Globe. “If it is found that Canadian exports have been used to commit serious violations of human rights, the minister will take action.”
The response from Freeland’s department comes a day after the Trudeau government released a rare statement criticizing how the Saudis are handing an intensifying showdown between the Sunni-dominated regime and citizens from the country’s Shiite minority in the al-Qatif region.
“The government is actively seeking more information about Saudi Arabia’s current efforts to deal with its security challenges, the reports of civilian casualties, and the reports that Canadian-made vehicles have been used by Saudi Arabia in its current security operations,” Global Affairs spokesman John Babcock said. “Canada will review all available information as it determines an appropriate course of action.”