Canada will uphold military contract with Saudi Arabia despite human rights concerns

The execution of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr and 46 others on Jan. 2 has set off protests around the world. AP Photo/Karim Kadim

Canada’s $14.8 billion military contract with Saudi Arabia will continue to stand, despite human-rights concerns in the country.

The military deal, brokered in 2014 by the Conservative government, sees Canada supplying Saudi Arabia with light armoured vehicles.

Human rights groups have warned that the Saudi regime might use the vehicles against its own people.

A spokesperson from the Ministry of Global Affairs confirmed with Global News Tuesday that the contract will not be cancelled.

The deal has returned to the forefront of Canadian minds after the mass execution 47 people including a prominent Shiite cleric on Jan. 2.

READ MORE: Who was Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr, and why did Saudi Arabia execute him?

The executions have sparked global protests, including a violent attack on the Saudi Arabian embassy in Tehran, Iran.

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Saudi Arabia has since severed diplomatic ties with Iran.

READ MORE: A very brief beginner’s guide to Iran and Saudi Arabia’s renewed rivalry

In December, Global Affairs Minister Stephan Dion spoke to The West Block’s Tom Clark about the deal, as well as Saudi Arabia’s human rights records.

WATCH: Tom Clark speaks with Stephane Dion

In the run-up to the election, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau would not commit to stopping deals made by his predecessors.

“We will not be cancelling existing contracts,” he said during a debate in London, Ont. “We will however pledge to move forward as a government in a way that is much more transparent and accountable and open about the choices that we make than this government has been and we also pledge to sign international Arms Trade Treaty, which Canada is the only NATO country not to have signed.”

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With files from Canadian Press