PBI-Canada seeks clarification from Global Affairs about Canada’s arms exports reports

Published by Brent Patterson on

UPDATE: The Export Controls Policy Division at Global Affairs Canada replied to our email on May 27. They sent us the web-link for the ‘2019 Exports of Military Goods’ report that was tabled in Parliament that same day. Among the key findings listed in the report: “For the 2019 calendar year, the value of Canadian exports of controlled military goods and technology amounted to a record high of approximately $3.757 billion.” The full report can be read by clicking here.

The Global Affairs Canada Report on Exports of Military Goods from Canada – 2018 states: “Global Affairs Canada welcomes suggestions on how to improve future editions of this report. To submit any suggestions, please contact the Export Controls Policy Division at Global Affairs Canada: expctrlpol@international.gc.ca.”

In an email sent to this email address on May 24 – the International Women’s Day for Peace and Disarmament – we raised two points:

1- Arms exports to the United States

The Global Affairs report states: “For the 2018 calendar year, Canada’s total exports permitted under the Export and Import Permits Act of military goods and technology amounted to approximately $2.069 billion, which is over double the value of 2017 exports ($1.031 billion). To note: an estimated half of all Canadian exports are to the U.S. The numbers above exclude these exports.”

We asked that future reports include a full and transparent report on the export of military goods from Canada to the United States.

2- Release of the report on arms exports

We noted that the 2017 report was released on June 6, 2018, but that the 2018 report was not released until February 13, 2020.

We asked for a clarification on why that was, if it was possible for there to be a regular annual release date, and when the report on military exports in 2019 would be released.

Human rights concerns

In February 2017, L’actualité reported: “In total, Canada has sold $18.5 billion in military goods to 143 countries or territories over the past 25 years, excluding the United States.”

“Of that number, nearly a third, representing $5.8 billion, has been delivered to 59 countries considered by the Freedom House – an independent American body that has assessed the state of democracy in more than 200 countries since the late 1980s – as dictatorships during the year of export.”

“Military goods worth $4.3 billion, or a quarter of exports, landed in 77 countries where political repression (such as unlimited detention without trial for political opponents) was evident during the year of export , according to the Purdue University ‘political terror’ scale in the United States.”

The news magazine also noted: “In addition, 36 countries where murder, torture and political kidnapping were part of everyday life (still according to the political terror scale of Purdue University) received Canadian military equipment, for a sum of $518 million.”

Furthermore, Global Affairs own figures show that military exports doubled in 2018 (to approximately $2.069 billion) from 2017 ($1.031 billion).

We will keep you posted on the response we receive.

Top photo: A picket against 16 LAV 6s manufactured in London, Ontario being loaded onto the Saudi-flagged cargo ship Bahri Yanbu in Saint John, New Brunswick on December 22, 2018. Photo by David Frank in the NB Media Co-op.

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