The government of self-described “feminist” Justin Trudeau expressed opposition to a would-be sale of helicopters to the armed forces of The Philippines after it became clear that they could be used to combat local terrorist groups as well as illegally armed rebel militias.
According to the Canadian Trade Ministry,
“The president’s (Duterte’s) troubling comments only underscore the confusion and contradictions that have emerged recently on the intended end use of the helicopters”.
Canada was set to delay the completion of the deal by instigating a lengthy political review into the sale, but before this could happen Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte told Canada that the deal is officially off. Duterte stated,
“So this is my reaction. I want to tell the armed forces to cut the deal … and somehow we will look for another supplier. We respect the stand of Canada.
So from here on now, I am directing the armed forces of the Philippines, since most of the guns, bullets and whatever, weapons of war … invariably to be used against the rebels and the terrorists, do not buy any more from Canada. Or from the United States, because there is always a condition attached”.
Duterte has shied away from purchasing weapons from the US in particular, because he has repeatedly stated that there is always a political condition attached to such deals. By contrast, Duterte has welcomed security deals with China and Russia which do not make deals with political strings attached. This is of course the same Canadian government which recently admitted that weapons it sold to Saudi Arabia are likely being used in Riyadh’s brutal war on Yemen.
In October of 2017, A Russian Naval Flotilla docked in Manila harbour bearing a good will gift of free security weapons for the armed forces of Philippines. Among the weapons Russia gifted to Philippines were 5000 AK-74M Kalashnikov assault rifles, 20 armoured military vehicles and 1 million rounds of ammunition.
Duterte has frequently praised Russia and China for their positive stance regarding the security situation in Philippines which has in recent years seen the Daesh aligned Maute group occupy the Mindanao city Marawi before its penultimate liberation by the armed forces in October of 2017. Additionally, Philippines continues to battle armed al-Qaeda linked Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters as well as far-left guerrilla groups.
Canada’s loss will be a win-win gain for Philippines and a new security partner – quite possibly Russia or China.