Canadian sword makers left out of Saudi arms deal
A union representing Canadian sword makers is furious after learning that the Harper government was unable to include Canadian-made swords as part of a $15 billion arms deal recently concluded with Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia is one of the few countries where swords are still actively used for lethal purposes and are not just collectors items. The arms deal with a country famous for carrying out beheadings, was seen by many of Canada’s top sword makers as an opportunity to gain entry into that market.
“It’s really a shame,” said Francois Lafarge, president of CUPE 3000, which represents sword makers. “Saudi Arabia has beheaded 85 individuals this year alone. We really feel the government hung us out to dry on this one.”
Some critics say the arms deal only goes half way, pointing out that Canadian made arms will be employed by the Saudi government in all forms of repression and human rights abuses leading up to, but not including, the beheading.
“If they were truly serious about aiding and abetting Saudi Arabia’s government in all facets of its human rights abuses, the government would have found a way to get Canadian-made swords over there,” remarked Stephanie Maylor, an independent researcher who monitors Canada’s commitment to other country’s human rights abuses.
In addition to the heavy artillery pieces for Saudi law enforcement to stop peaceful protests, the arms deal also includes a new device developed by Canadian engineers. The device, implanted in a car steering wheel, is able to detect if a car is being driven by a woman, after which it is able to turn off the car and restrain the woman until authorities can come and arrest her.
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