Federal Court rejects effort to condemn Saudi arms deal

OTTAWA -- The Federal Court has dismissed a challenge by a Quebec law professor to condemn the federal government's $15-billion sale of London-built light armoured vehicles (LAVs) to Saudi Arabia.

University of Montreal law professor Daniel Turp, a former Bloc Quebecois MP, challenged export permits authorizing the deal, saying Saudi Arabia's poor human rights record should give the court the ability to review it.

Justice Daniele Tremblay-Lamer ruled that the court's role was not to "pass moral judgement" on the decision by then-foreign affairs minister Stephane Dion to issue export permits allowing the deal.

She says the court simply had to ensure that the decision was legal.

The decision also notes that Dion's "broad discretion" would have allowed him to deny the export permits, but that he "considered the relevant factors."

The LAVs are built by General Dynamics in London.