PM: Canada Looking for a Way Out of Saudi Arms Deal

Canadian company seeks to save $13 billion contract

With growing international backlash against Saudi Arabia, and increased tension between the Saudis and Canada, Canadian Premier Justin Trudeau has confirmed for the first time on Sunday that his government is openly looking for a way out of a $13 billion arms deal reached with the Saudis.

Trudeau has previously said that the penalties for scrapping the deal would be too high, but now says he’s looking at a possible freezing of export permits, which could be done if the weapons are being misused.

The arms company in question, General Dynamics Land Systems-Canada, has issued a statement condemning the effort, and saying that there would be huge liabilities for terminating the contract, adding it would damage Canada’s defense sector in general to not sell arms to the Saudis.

The deal is for light armored vehicles, and was reached by the Harper government in 2014. Trudeau’s government had previously endorsed it, though mounting anger over the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, as well as war crimes in Yemen, have Trudeau facing growing calls from allies and opponents to stake out a different position.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.