We as individuals have a choice to make.
The west has failed in any measurable away to defend the free press from authoritarian persecution in terms of the brutal slaying of Jamal Khashoggi — a Saudi citizen and United States resident who wrote columns for the Washington Post that often portrayed Saudi Arabia in a negative light.
On Oct. 2nd, Khashoggi walked into the Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul – where it is assumed he was brutally murdered by Saudi government officials at the behest of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. (MBS)
While MBS’s official involvement in the slaying is wrapped up with misleading and misdirecting quotes, it is widely assumed that he ordered the murder.
There is also an audio tape from the consulate provided by the Turkish government of Khashoggi’s death — which stunningly White House National Security Advisor John Bolton has said he has chosen not to listen to because he doesn’t speak Arabic and would not be able to understand what is happening in the tape.
Khashoggi’s death, if as described, is obviously horrifying but it also has implications globally due to the fact western countries uphold a free and independent press as one of the defining institutions of their democracies.
The problem for Canada, the United States and many European countries is they all have billion dollar military contracts with the Saudi government — which indirectly is fueling Saudi Arabia’s war with Yemen, which has resulted in famine, poverty and, likely, genocide.
Canada’s deal with the Saudis is roughly around $15-billion for the use of Canadian light-armoured vehicles (LAV) and the cancellation of that deal, according to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau would cost around $1-billion to Canadian taxpayers.
Cost aside, Canadians cannot abide the actions of the Saudi regime. Canada, along with their allies — particularly the Saudi-friendly Trump administration — needs to stand up for democracy and human rights.
If we allow journalists, particularly those who reside and work in our countries, to be brutally murdered by authoritarian regimes — we are failing the principles we say we believe in.
If we continue to finance Saudi Arabia’s brutal war of genocide against Yemen — we are complicit to murder and we are once again failing the principles we say we believe in.
If you feel Canada and its allies should sanction Saudi Arabia and end the $15-billion LAV deal, please write your MPs informing them you disagree with the Canadian government’s posture towards Saudi Arabia.
Or, if you feel that the brutal murder of international journalists and wars of genocide are okay, then carry on without questioning Canada’s involvement with Saudi Arabia.
Todd Vaughan is editor of The Lacombe Express and writes a regular column for Black Press.