Suspending the export of Canadian “military goods” to Israel should also include addressing their transfer via the United States

Published by Brent Patterson on

Share This Page

Photo: The House of Commons.

On Monday March 18th, the House of Commons will be voting on this motion that includes the call for Canada to “suspend all trade in military goods and technology with Israel and increase efforts to stop the illegal trade of arms, including to Hamas.”

The Global Affairs Canada report on exports of military goods (generally published in May of each year) says that in 2022, the most recent year available, Canada exported $21,329,783.93 of these goods to Israel.

Global Affairs Canada must table the complete 2023 figures by May 31 of this year, but we already know some important information via Alex Cosh at The Maple.

Last month, Cosh reported: “The Trudeau government authorized at least $28.5 million of new permits for military exports to Israel during the first two months of the state’s brutal war on Gaza, data supplied to The Maple by Global Affairs Canada (GAC) shows.”

Photo: On February 1, 2024, access to the Port of Vancouver was blocked to demand Canada impose an arms embargo on Israel. Organizer Maryam Adrangi said: “Shipping weapons to Israel makes Canada complicit in genocide.”

Significantly, the Waterloo, Ontario-based peace research institute Project Ploughshares has also estimated that the total value of contracts for Canadian military exports to the United States at well over $1 billion annually.

Public transparency and accountability for those exports is pertinent to the debate in the House of Commons on Monday. It is fair to ask, how much of the $1 billion in exports of Canadian military goods to the United States is re-exported to Israel?

The United States Department of State has noted that as of October 2023, the US has 599 active Foreign Military Sales (FMS) (government-to-government sales) cases valued at $23.8 billion with Israel, that from 2018 to 2022, the US authorized the export of $12.2 billion of “defence articles”  via the Direct Commercial Sales (DCS) process (that oversees sales between US companies and foreign governments), and that since 1992 the US has provided Israel with $6.6 billion worth of military-related equipment under the Excess Defense Articles (EDA) program.

The Council on Foreign Relations has also explained that the United States provides Israel with approximately $3.3 billion a year in grants under the Foreign Military Financing (FMF) program, noting that these are “funds that Israel must use to purchase U.S. military equipment and services.”

Photo: On November 6, 2023, activists temporarily blocked a US military supply ship from picking up weapons in Tacoma, Washington destined for Israel. Photo by Genna Martin/Crosscut.

Regulatory void

Kelsey Gallagher from Project Ploughshares highlights: “The exemptions afforded to Canadian military transfers to the United States, and eventually to Israel, reveal a larger problem. The associated lack of transparency means that the scope of the issue – that is, the extent to which other Canadian components are being filtered through the United States to Israel – is totally unknown.”

Canadian components in Israeli F-35s

What can be pieced together is worrisome.

Gallagher has written: “An April 2018 study commissioned by Lockheed Martin outlining the economic impact of F-35 production on the Canadian economy stated that ‘there is $2.3 million USD [approximately C$3.1-million] worth of Canadian components on every F-35 jet manufactured.’”

Photo: An Israeli F-35I with four bombs in the foreground.

The Globe and Mail newspaper has also reported: “Israel’s arsenal includes F-35 fighters and Canada has contributed components to every F-35, according to the Canadian government. The Canadian-made components that go into each F-35 don’t show up in Ottawa’s records of military exports because they are shipped to the U.S., where the aircrafts’ manufacturer, Lockheed Martin, is based, and Global Affairs does not publish the full value of annual military exports to the U.S.”

Last month, a Dutch appeals court ordered the government of the Netherlands to stop shipments of components for F-35s to Israel because as cited in their ruling: “There is a clear risk that the F-35 fighter jets are used by Israel to commit serious violations of humanitarian law in the Gaza Strip.”


Project Ploughshares has made three recommendations (on pages 10-11 of their report Fanning the Flames ) to address this situation, including: “As required by Article 4 of the ATT [Arms Trade Treaty], close loopholes that allow the unregulated and unreported transfer of military goods to Israel through the U.S. Department of Defense.”

Canadian fuel in Israeli tanks and warplanes?

Similarly, The Guardian also recently reported: “Israel relies on crude oil and refined products from overseas to run its large fleet of fighter jets, tanks and other military vehicles.”

One of the suppliers of this fuel is the United States.

Significantly, the United States imported 4.36 million barrels of crude oil per day from Canada in November 2023.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) has also noted: “Some of the crude oil that the U.S. imports is refined by U.S. refineries into petroleum products—such as gasoline, heating oil, diesel fuel, and jet fuel—that the U.S. later exports.”

Given Canada is the largest single source of US petroleum and crude oil imports, how much of that is being re-exported to fuel Israel’s military?

CANSEC arms show, May 29-30

Beyond the vote in the House of Commons on Monday, a key moment will be the CANSEC arms show in Ottawa this coming May 29-30.

This will be a moment when Israel (Booth M7), Elbit Systems, Israel’s largest military manufacturer (Booth 1421/M10), the Canadian Commercial Corporation, that facilitates the sales of Canadian military goods abroad (Booth 225/M18/M17) and the largest weapons companies profiting from the attack on Gaza (including Lockheed Martin – Booth 1311, Boeing – Booth 1821/TBD, Raytheon – Booth 1221 and General Dynamics – Booth 1203/M3, 1301, 1601/3034) will be present.

Photo: Protest at CANSEC, 2023.


Peace Brigades International (PBI) calls on the international community to suspend the supply of arms to Israel and the armed groups involved in the conflict.

We continue to follow this.

We also highlight that Murray Thomson who co-founded Peace Brigades International in 1981 was also a co-founder of Project Ploughshares in 1976 and a regular participant in the protests against the CANSEC arms show.

Find us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

Share This Page


Leave a Reply

Avatar placeholder

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *