Ninety percent of Canadians say “no more arms sales to Saudi Arabia”: poll

I think my version of a headline for the following story is more dramatic and more significant than this:

Should Trudeau keep arms deal with Saudis? More than half of Canadians say yes: poll

Paying particular attention to the findings of the Angus Reid poll of 1500 Canadians, it is technically true that 54 percent of Canadians favor honoring the existing arms sale agreement.

According to the article 44 percent think the existing agreement should be honored but no further arm sales to Saudi Arabia should be made.

Another 10 percent say arms sales, including the current and any future sales should be continued. Thus we have 54 percent, “more than half of Canadians” saying the current arms sale should go ahead.

Notably, the poll also showed 46 percent of those polled would prefer to cancel the arms deal that currently exists and they would not want further armaments from Canada going to this regime.

That is a more significant takeaway in my opinion, and although the article does indicate most Canadians would have arms trading with Saudi Arabia stopped, this point is glossed over in favor of the headline generating fact that “more than half” support keeping the current “deal.” What’s so important about the existing sale agreement?

The nominal importance is entirely political in nature. That’s why Trudeau and his government are wavering. There are undoubtedly many political considerations: loss of revenue for the government and favored businesses, jobs for Canadians, foreign policy considerations, the fact that it was the Harper government that negotiated this agreement in the first place, and of course the recent round of testy diplomatic exchanges with the Saudi government.

All of these concrete issues merely confuse the matter. If there’s an optimistic ethical takeaway from the aforementioned poll it’s that 90 percent of Canadians make the moral judgment that selling arms to an overtly rights-violating government is wrong. It is not acting in the self-interest of those who live in Canadian culture.

Ideologically, Saudi Arabia is an enemy. Ninety percent of Canadians appear to recognize that. Modern intellectuals, particularly in government and in the establishment media appear to fail at that principled recognition.

Edward’s Post

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