In this Feb. 1, 2015 file photo, Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi speaks during a news conference in Manama, Bahrain. The federal government is showing no apparent signs of toughening its stance on arms sales to Saudi Arabia, even after Canada’s spy chief heard a recording of the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. (Hasan Jamali/AP)

Canada stands pat on Saudi arms sales, even after hearing Khashoggi tape

Khashoggi’s death at Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul further strained Riyadh’s already difficult relationship with Ottawa

The Canadian government is showing no signs of toughening its stance on arms sales to Saudi Arabia, even after Canada’s spy chief heard a recording of the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

When asked Tuesday how Canada intends to proceed from here, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland reiterated Ottawa’s position that no new weapons-export permits will be signed for Saudi Arabia for now.

“We are reviewing our arms sales to Saudi Arabia in view of this killing and, obviously, during this period of review no new arms export permits will be signed,” Freeland said in Windsor, Ont.

That’s no different from what Canada’s been saying for weeks.

READ MORE: Turkey to Saudi Arabia: Where is Khashoggi’s body?

READ MORE: Penalty for cancelling Saudi arms contract ‘in the billions’: Trudeau

CSIS director David Vigneault recently travelled to Turkey to listen to the recording Turkish authorities have of Khashoggi’s killing and briefed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as well as other top officials upon his return.

“Canada is very clear that those who are responsible for this atrocious murder must bear full responsibility for that,” Freeland said when asked how hearing the recording affects the government’s position.

Khashoggi’s death last month at Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul has further strained Riyadh’s already difficult relationship with Canada.

His killing — which brought international condemnation of Riyadh — also renewed public outrage in Canada over Ottawa’s controversial $15-billion deal to sell light armoured vehicles to the kingdom. Ottawa has come under pressure to cancel the armoured-vehicles contract, but Trudeau has said the penalty for doing so would be “in the billions of dollars.”

Freeland said she spoke with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Monday to press for a credible, transparent investigation into the Khashoggi case.

Under intensifying pressure, Riyadh has changed its story about Khashoggi’s death, first saying he walked out of the consulate the day he disappeared but eventually acknowledging he was killed inside the building. Saudi Arabia has also recently acknowledged Turkish evidence that showed the slaying was premeditated.

“The explanations which have been offered thus far by Saudi Arabia lack credibility and consistency,” Freeland said Tuesday after meeting with union members in Windsor.

“The killing of Jamal Khashoggi is a truly horrific crime. We are obviously worried about the killing of any human being, but it is particularly worrying to us because this is yet another example of the ability of journalists to do their job being curtailed.”

Trudeau has also condemned the killing, but when asked about the recording earlier this week he offered no clues about how it might have affected his thoughts on the matter.

Andy Blatchford, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Shames Mountain creates new fund for youth in memory of late founder

The ‘Billey Season Youth Pass’ will be given out annually

Coastal GasLink gets interim injunction against Unist’ot’en

The LNG pipeline company can start work Monday with enforcement approved by court.

Terrace users on Facebook post warnings about vehicle break-ins

RCMP say it’s important to always lock your doors

Oil tanker ban to be reviewed by committee

Indigenous groups for and against Bill C-48 travel to Ottawa to influence the Senate’s decision

Tyler Dozzi breaks national record, ‘running like a madman’

Terrace runner sets new time in Boston in his last U20 race

VIDEO: Royals reveal the images on their Christmas cards

Prince William and his wife Kate are shown outside in casual clothes, their three young children in tow

ICBC to apply for 6.3% hike to basic insurance rates

Crown Corporation said it will be submitting its next basic rate application to the British Columbia Utilities Commission Friday

Media, robotics, Indigenous studies coming to B.C. Grade 12 classrooms in 2019-20

Provincial tests are also being changed for students in Grade 10 to 12, the Education Ministry said

Stranded B.C. trucker writes final wishes before being rescued 3 days later

‘I was just praying someone would come along’

Canfor Corp. extending temporary curtailment of sawmills in B.C.; cutting hours

Vancouver-based company says the decision is due to declining lumber prices, high log costs and log supply constraints

Canada’s prospective world junior team members await final roster decisions

Thirty-four players were invited to the national junior selection camp

Family searching for B.C. professor last seen at Colombian salsa club

Ramazan Gencay, a professor in economics at Simon Fraser University, was last seen in Medellin

Rash of bomb threats a learning opportunity for response capacity, Goodale

Thursday’s wave of bomb threats swept across communities on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border

Mike Duffy can’t sue Senate over suspension without pay, judge rules

Duffy’s lawsuit sought more than $7.8 million from the upper chamber

Most Read