PBI-Canada supports mobilization against CANSEC arms show in Ottawa, May 31

Published by Brent Patterson on

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PBI-Canada is supporting the mobilization against the CANSEC weapons show that will take place this coming May 31-June 1 in Ottawa.

CANSEC is “Canada’s largest global defence & security trade show” and “a one-stop shop for first responders, police, border and security entities and special operations units” that will attract “50+ international delegations”.

Among the issues we will be highlighting:

Arming C-IRG violence against Indigenous land defenders: Colt Canada, the Kitchener, Ontario-based company that sells C8 carbine rifles to the RCMP, will be an exhibitor at CANSEC this year. These guns were pointed at Wet’suwet’en water protectors and journalists during a militarized RCMP raid on Wet’suwet’en territory in November 2021.

Wet’suwet’en land defender Molly Wickham: “Get that gun off me! Get your gun off me! Lower your gun!” Video still from Yintah Film.

Surveilling the national strike in Colombia: Bell Textron Canada Limited, the Mirabel, Quebec-based company that manufactures Bell 407 helicopters will be at CANSEC this year. Those helicopters were likely deployed by the Colombian National Police in Cali to surveil the popular national strike mobilizations in 2019.

“Colombian police will deploy a fleet of Bell 407 Halcon helicopters with facial recognition systems to monitor national strike marches.”  Image from Webinfomil.

Monitoring of Black Lives Matter protests: Pratt & Whitney Canada, the Ottawa, Ontario-based company that manufactures airplane engines will also be at CANSEC. It is believed that their engines powered the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Beechcraft Super King Air 350 plane that surveilled a Black Lives Matter protest in Portland in 2020.

Enabling police violence: Terradyne Armoured Vehicles, the Newmarket, Ontario-based company was an exhibitor at CANSEC in 2022. The company sells to Mexico where Amnesty International has highlighted “the Mexican police and armed forces routinely torture and ill-treat women, and that sexual violence is routine during arrest and interrogation.”

Still from Vanguardia video of Terradyne armoured vehicle used by the Saltillo Operational Reaction Group (GROMS).

Arresting social leaders: Lockheed Martin Canada, the Ottawa, Ontario-based company is an exhibitor at CANSEC this year. This company manufacturers the Black Hawk helicopters used by the Colombian military to arrest social leaders criminalized by Calgary-based Frontera Energy in San Luis de Palenque in November 2018.

Video: A Black Hawk helicopter lands in a farm field in San Luis de Palenque to arrest a social leader who criticized a Canadian oil company.

Also notably among the 280+ exhibitors at CANSEC arms show this year: Elbit Systems Ltd. (implicated in manufacturing the bullet that killed Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh), Raytheon Technologies (that builds the missiles that will arm Canada’s new Lockheed Martin F-35 warplanes), BAE Systems (that builds the Typhoon fighter jets Saudi Arabia uses to bomb Yemen) and L3Harris Technologies (whose drone technology is used for border surveillance and targeting laser guided missiles).

Lack of transparency

We also express our concern about the lack of transparency on the 50+ international delegations expected to attend CANSEC this year.

The Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries (CADSI), the organizers of CANSEC, say that Canadian defence and security companies generate $10 billion in annual revenues of which roughly 60 per cent come from exports. It also notes: “CANSEC welcomes more than 10,000+ registrants from all over the world, including military leaders and government officials.”

And yet CADSI does not publicly disclose the countries that are participating at CANSEC to shop for weapons. Transparency on this is essential for the monitoring of human rights violations enabled by the CANSEC weapons show.

For more on the upcoming mobilization against CANSEC on May 31, please see this World Beyond War webpage.

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