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Ottawa will move ahead with review of helicopter deal with Philippines: Trudeau

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, right, with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti smiles after a hike in the hills surrounding the Griffith Observatory Saturday, Feb. 10, 2018.

Damian Dovarganes/AP

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his government intends to press ahead with a review of a deal to sell 16 military helicopters to the Philippines, even as the country's president vowed to scrap the purchase because of conditions on how the equipment could be used.

"Canada is committed to ensuring that equipment that we sell around the world, whether it be military, or for possible military use, is properly framed so that we can ensure that it's being used for the right things and not the wrong things," Mr. Trudeau told reporters in Los Angeles on Saturday.

Globe editorial: Canada should not sell military helicopters to Rodrigo Duterte

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Philippines' Duterte orders cancellation of helicopter deal with Canada

"The statements that have been coming out of the Philippines on the potential or possible uses of those helicopters have given us cause to need to follow up on that, and that's exactly what we're doing."

Mr. Trudeau's remarks come a day after Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said he would cancel a deal to buy 16 Canadian Bell helicopters, worth an estimated $300-million, because countries such as the U.S. and Canada impose conditions on the use of the aircraft over human-rights concerns.

Canadian officials have said the deal was signed with the understanding that the weapons would be used for non-military purposes, such as search and rescue. But the federal government ordered a review of the proposed sale after a senior Philippine official said the aircraft would also be used for the military's internal security operations.

International human-rights organizations have raised the alarm about Mr. Duterte's crackdown on drugs, which has led to the death of thousands of drug dealers, sparking an investigation by the International Criminal Court.

Mr. Trudeau raised the issue of extrajudicial killing with Mr. Duterte at an international summit in Manila last fall, which the Philippine president attacked as "a personal and official insult."

Mr. Trudeau's visit to Los Angeles capped off a four-day trip to the U.S. to highlight economic ties between Canada and the United States amid efforts to renegotiate the North American free-trade agreement.

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Clad in shorts, a t-shirt and running shoes for a hike with Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti on Saturday morning, the two politicians emphasized their countries share much common ground even as they continue disagree on the most contentious issues of the trade pact.

"We can talk about the fights, but we're a family," said Mr. Garcetti, a Democrat who is said to be mulling a bid to run against U.S. President Donald Trump in 2020. "Canada and Mexico are our two closest friends and most important trading partners, security partners. That is what we should be emphasizing."

A California Highway Patrol officer escorting the prime minister's motorcade was injured in a crash Friday night, shortly after Mr. Trudeau left the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute northwest of Los Angeles, where he was giving a sold-out speech on NAFTA. Mr. Garcetti said the officer suffered a broken clavicle and was expected to recover. ‚Äč

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