As the CANSEC arms show approaches, where does the CADSI lobby group stand on calls to stop arming the assault on Gaza?

Published by Brent Patterson on

Photo: Devastation in Gaza. Photo by AFP.

The Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries (CADSI) is “the national industry voice” representing its members that include some of the biggest arms companies in the world, notably Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Boeing, General Dynamics, BAE Systems, L3Harris Technologies, Leonardo, Airbus and Thales among many others.

Its membership also includes Elbit Systems, the Israel-based company that provides up to 85% of the land-based equipment procured by the Israeli military.

CADSI “advocates on industry’s behalf” and organizes the annual CANSEC arms show in Ottawa, a two-day gathering that brings together “more than 12,000+ registrants from all over the world” to market, buy and sell weapons.

This year’s CANSEC arms show will take place on May 29-30.

Registration for it opens in March.

If you were to cross-references the list produced by the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) Action Center on Corporate Accountability of the companies profiting from the attack on Gaza with CANSEC exhibitors, you would find significant overlap.

AFSC says these weapons companies have sold to the Israeli military M109 howitzer mobile artillery systems (BAE), Apache AH-64 attack helicopters (Boeing), M16 assault rifles (Colt’s), MK-80 bombs (General Dynamics), AGM-114 Hellfire missiles (Lockheed Martin), and 120mm tank ammunition shells (Rheinmetall).

CADSI member Elbit Systems also exhibits at CANSEC.

The Elbit-made weapons now in use in Gaza include MPR 500 multi-purpose bombs (that contain 26,000 controlled fragments for “high kill probability”), 155mm artillery shells, Hermes 450 and 900 multi-payload unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), Skylark tactical surveillance drones, and the Head-Mounted Display helmet technology used by the pilots of fighter jets and helicopters as well as the crews of battle tanks.

CADSI does not appear to have commented on its X/Twitter feed on the calls from multiple humanitarian and human rights organizations – including most recently Oxfam Canada – for Canadian companies “to immediately halt the direct or indirect transfer of weapons, parts, and ammunition to Israel”.

Project Ploughshares has further highlighted: “The gravity of this situation calls for immediate action to ensure Canada is meeting its domestic and international obligations to mitigate the risk of contributing to violations of international law, for example, violations of international humanitarian law (IHL), including possible war crimes, in Gaza. Given the substantial risk that Canadian military goods could contribute to such abuses in Gaza, Canada must immediately halt all transfers of weapons to Israel.”

Nor has CADSI seemingly commented on the International Court of Justice finding that it is “plausible” that Israel has committed acts in Gaza that violate the Genocide Convention. Three Toronto-based law professors have noted: “Because the ICJ found a serious risk of genocide in Gaza, continuing to export arms to Israel would be illegal [under the Export and Import Permits Act where Canada’s ascension to the Arms Trade Treaty is reflected]. It would also be flagrantly inconsistent with Canada’s obligation to prevent genocide, and could expose Canada and Canadian officials to liability for participation in genocide.”

We remain attentive to public announcements by CADSI on social media, its lobbying of government institutions, including the Canadian Commercial Corporation (that is also a CADSI member and a CANSEC exhibitor), Canada’s response to the ICJ ruling and the planned mobilizations against the CANSEC arms show.