Ongoing LAV saga

KEN POLE  –  Dec 20, 2018

Even as the Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries (CADSI) continues to mount an offensive against the prospect of the federal government cancellation further exports of Light Armoured Vehicles (LAVs) to Saudi Arabia, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau declined to be pinned down Dec. 19 on whether his government would intervene in the contract with London-based General Dynamics Land Systems-Canada (GDLSC).

The government has said several times that it is reviewing the contract since the response to the murder in Istanbul last month of Washington Post journalist and Saudi citizen Jamal Khashoggi by several suspects linked to the Saudi monarchy.

Trudeau was asked during a year-end news conference in Ottawa whether he would “unequivocally” exercise any option to stop the LAV shipments/ “Our priority since day one has been thinking about the Canadian jobs, the workers in London and in the supply chains that have fed into this contract,” he demurred. “We know there are a lot of hardworking families in London who rely on these jobs.”

He described the GDLSC contract as “difficult” in that it includes a confidentiality clause agreed to by the former Conservative government. That clause “binds our hands from even being able to talk about what’s in that contract or the nature of the penalties on that contract. […] This is a complex situation […] I’ve been taking questions on this in the House of Commons from the very beginning and we’re going to continue to reflect on the best path forward for Canada and for Canadians.”

Meanwhile, CADSI has noted “indications” by the PM and his Foreign Affairs Minister, Chrystia Freeland, that the government is reviewing its export permits “and could move to end future shipments” of LAVs.

CADSI said in a communique to its more than 900 members that any such move by the government “would represent a significant blow to our entire industry, with reverberations across the country.”

CADSI and its president, Christyn Cianfarani, have been monitoring developments closely and “engaging regularly” with GDLSC and the government, including giving the latter “deeper insight and information” about the industry’s presence in southwestern Ontario as well as local and national supply chains.

“We believe that our concerns have been clearly communicated to the government . . . and that officials have all the necessary information with which to make an informed decision.”

– Ken Pole
19 Dec 2018