Canada was looking for a way out of a US$13 billion deal to export armored vehicles to Saudi Arabia, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a televised interview Sunday.
“We are engaged with the export permits to try and see if there is a way of no longer exporting these vehicles to Saudi Arabia,” Trudeau told the CTV national program Question Period on Sunday, without elaborating.
Amid growing international outrage over the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the government has been reviewing the planned sale of the armored vehicles made by General Dynamics Land Systems, which has a sprawling factory on Oxford Street East in London that employs more than 1,800 people here.
The deal also underpins thousands of jobs at suppliers here and across the country.
Trudeau’s administration has said it wouldn’t issue new export permits during its review of the deal, which was signed by the previous government.
The Canadian leader had indicated previously that his government’s hands were somewhat tied by the contract, saying it could cost $1 billion to cancel it.
“The murder of a journalist is absolutely unacceptable and that’s why Canada from the very beginning had been demanding answers and solutions on that,” Trudeau said in the interview.