This has been quite the week for false equivalencies.
First there was U.S. President Donald Trump's attempt to pin equal blame for the violence in Charlottesville, Va., on white supremacists and those who stood up to them.
And now we have Saudi Arabia's lame effort to equate the police shooting of a deranged gunman on Parliament Hill with its violent ongoing oppression of a religious minority.
Riyadh is on the defensive after video footage came to light last month showing Saudi forces using Canadian-made light-armoured vehicles against Saudi citizens in the eastern region of al-Qatif. The revelation has jeopardized a $15-billion deal to buy new LAVs from a Canadian company, since it undermines the Saudis' assurances that they won't turn the fresh weaponry on their own people.
Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland has launched an investigation, and the Saudis are clearly feeling the heat. On Wednesday, Riyadh tried to justify the use of combat vehicles on its citizens as a defensive action similar to the gunning down of the self-radicalized loner who shot and killed a Canadian soldier in Ottawa on Oct. 22, 2014, and then attempted to force his way into Parliament.
"Canadian authorities did fight the attacker and killed him on the spot to protect Canadian civilians," reads a statement from the Saudi embassy in Ottawa. "Fighting terrorism and protecting innocent civilians are not human-rights violations."
We agree. We just don't see how that relates to al-Qatif, where the Saudi government has used brute force to remove thousands of people from an ancient Shia village called Awamiya, with the intention of razing it.
Awamiya was the home of Sheik Nimr al-Nimr, a Shia cleric who called for free elections in Saudi Arabia during the Arab Spring in 2011, and who was executed for his efforts in 2016.
Riyadh has cracked down on Awamiya since 2011, and held it under siege since May of this year. Human-rights observers say government forces have randomly fired artillery into the town, killing civilians. The United Nations has demanded that the Saudi government end its use of excessive force in Awamiya, and to stop the demolition.
What all that has to do with the 2014 tragedy in Ottawa is beyond us. It's helpful, though, that Riyadh has effectively admitted using Canadian-made LAVs against its own people. That will make Ms. Freeland's investigation a little simpler.