Canada helps 50+ countries access Elbit’s “battle-tested” weapons at CANSEC arms show in Ottawa

Published by Brent Patterson on

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Photo: Elbit Systems at CANSEC in 2019. On May 29-30 they will be at Booth 1421/M10 in the EY Centre in Ottawa.

The Guardian reports: “Canada will halt future arms sales to Israel following a non-binding vote in the house of commons. The foreign affairs minister, Mélanie Joly, told the Toronto Star her government would halt future arms shipments. ‘It is a real thing,’ she said on Tuesday [March 19]. …Canada previously said that while it had paused issuing military export permits to Israel, it was still assessing applications on ‘on a case-by-case basis’.”

Reuters also reports: “Canada has not approved new arms exports permits to Israel since Jan. 8 and this freeze will continue until Ottawa can ensure the weapons are used properly, Joly said on Thursday [March 20]. Export permits that were approved before Jan. 8 remain in effect, she said in an emailed statement.”

Those permits are still in effect because, according to NDP MP Heather McPherson, “[Joly] didn’t want the liability of cancelling arms contracts.”

The motion passed by the House of Commons on the evening of Monday March 18, calls on the government to “cease the further authorization and transfer of arms exports to Israel to ensure compliance with Canada’s arms export regime and increase efforts to stop the illegal trade of arms, including to Hamas.”

The motion that passed 204-118 can be read in full here.

Video: Joly rises in the House of Commons to vote in favour of the motion.

What we do know about sales/purchases

Canada exported $21,329,783.93 of “military goods” to Israel in 2022 and the Trudeau government authorized $28.5 million of new exports in October-December 2023. We also know that in December 2023 (and confirmed in March 2024) that Canada plans to buy $43 million of Spike LR2 missiles manufactured and sold by Israeli state-owned arms dealer Rafael Advanced Defense Systems.

It also appears from media reports that Canada has delayed the approval of the sale of about 30 armoured vehicles made by Brampton, Ontario-based Roshel and other “military goods”, including night-vision goggles, since mid-January 2024.

We should also know more about the overall 2023 total when Global Affairs Canada tables its next annual report on the export of “military goods” by May 31 (a legal requirement since September 2019).

World Beyond War analysis of what needs to be done.

CANSEC, May 29-30

While Joly says “it is a real thing” that Canada will halt future arms shipments to Israel, there are questions and concerns about the upcoming CANSEC arms show (on Wednesday May 29 and Thursday May 30 at the EY Centre in Ottawa) organized by the Global Affairs Canada-funded Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries (CADSI).

Is the Israeli Ministry of Defence at CANSEC?

The list of exhibitors for CANSEC “Israel representatives” (Booth M7).

Tweet from Israel’s then-Ambassador to Canada referencing the International Defense Cooperation Directorate of the Israel Ministry of Defense (SIBAT).

Elbit’s “battle-tested” weapons marketed at CANSEC

The list of CANSEC exhibitors also still includes Elbit Systems Ltd. (Booth 1421/M10).

As the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) Action Center for Corporate Accountability have highlighted: “Israel’s largest weapons manufacturer, Elbit Systems is one of the primary suppliers of weapons and surveillance systems to the Israeli military, including Skylark and Hermes military UAV drones, which form the majority of Israel’s fleet of large drones and have been used extensively in Gaza.”

Elbit has been criticized for advertising their weapons as “battle-tested” or “field-tested”.

Image by Visualizing Palestine.

Weapons companies at CANSEC

Among the 330 or so exhibitors at CANSEC this year, there will also be BAE Systems, Bell Textron, Boeing, Colt, Elbit, General Dynamics, L3 Harris, Leonardo, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, and Rheinmetall. The AFSC Action Center has noted that these same companies are profiting from Israel’s 2023-2024 attacks on Gaza.

Canada facilitates arms sales at CANSEC

CADSI continues to note that “50+ international delegations” will be present at CANSEC.

The CANSEC website also highlights for those international delegations: “Each year, the Government of Canada and CADSI work together to engage a diverse global community at CANSEC. Contact your Canadian in-country trade commissioner to learn how you can attend the event in partnership with the Government of Canada, as well as any rules and regulations that may apply.”

CANSEC further notes that 74% of the 12,000 attendees “have purchasing power”.

This suggests that Canada could be involved in platforming Elbit’s “battle-tested” weapons to international customers, a move contrary to the calls from numerous international human rights organizations for a two-way arms embargo.

Canada at CANSEC

CADSI also promotes the strong presence of the Government of Canada at CANSEC in its “prospectus” for international delegations.

While Minister Joly may now not intend to approve the future sale of more arms to Israel, it does seem contradictory for the Government of Canada to fund, “work together” and actively participate (even at the Ministerial-level) in an arms show that could include the Israeli Ministry of Defence, the top weapons companies selling weapons to Israel, and that enables/helps to facilitate the sale of Elbit weapons to 50+ countries.

We continue to follow this.

Further reading from The Breach.

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