Canada exported more than $3.757 billion in “military goods” in 2019, and more than $8.25 billion over the past 5 years

Published by Brent Patterson on

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On May 27, the Global Affairs Canada 2019 Exports of Military Goods report that was tabled in the House of Commons.

It stated: “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 $3.757 billion figure for 2019 also represents a dramatic increase over the reported amount of $2.069 billion in 2018 and $1.031 billion in 2017. Official reports also indicate that $717.7 billion was exported in 2016 and $676 billion was exported in 2015.

Of further concern, these figures do not represent the full amount of “military goods” exported to the United States, which could account for approximately another $2 billion in 2018 alone. Those numbers are mostly excluded from official reports.

Now, on June 9, The Globe and Mail reported: “Canadian shipments of military goods to Saudi Arabia hit a record high in 2019 despite a moratorium on approvals of new arms export permits announced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government after the murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the hands of Saudi agents [in October 2018].”

That article notes that Canada exported close to $2.9 billion of military equipment to Saudi Arabia in 2019, up from $1.3 billion in 2018 and $500 million in 2017.

In November 2018, following the murder of Khashoggi, the Canadian government indicated that it would stop issuing new export permits for arms sales to Saudi Arabia and review all military exports to that country.

The Globe and Mail adds: “Exports, however, continued apace with combat vehicles – 183 of them – comprising the vast majority of shipments to the desert kingdom.”

“Other exports to Saudi Arabia over 2019 included 31 large-calibre artillery systems and 152 heavy machine guns – weaponry that defence watchers presume are being mounted on the LAVs. Another 635 rifles were shipped to Saudi Arabia, exports that arms-control advocates speculate will include Canadian sniper rifles popular with Saudi authorities.”

“In early April, as the COVID-19 pandemic was spreading, Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne said Ottawa had found no credible evidence linking Canadian exports of military equipment or other controlled goods to Saudi Arabian human-rights violations.”

At that announcement on April 9, Champagne stated that Canada’s delivery of an estimated 742 LAVs to Saudi Arabia was about 50 per cent complete. (The following day Champagne also stated that Canada fully supports the call by United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres for a global ceasefire.)

A Canadian government report from September 2019 further indicates that 48 export permits for military equipment and other controlled goods were ready to be signed should the government lift its moratorium.

Peace Brigades International-Canada is concerned by the growing number of weapons that Canada exports, says that war is not essential and is convinced that enduring peace and lasting solutions to conflicts cannot be achieved by violent means.

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