Friday, December 21, 2007

Arms Surplus in Canada

People say that it is the small trends matter the most. This is a pretty depressing statement about the state of world affairs. From

A new report by the federal government shows that in 2003, Canada's arms exports reached the highest level ever recorded.

The report, covering three years from 2003 to 2005 and released this week, revealed that sales of military exports hit more than $700 million in 2003.

But the report doesn't include sales to Canada's biggest customer, the United States. According to industry experts, if those sales were included, Canada's arms exports would have topped $2 billion in 2003.

More than 500 Canadian companies and tens of thousands of employees make military products across the country — everything from bullets and rockets to light armoured vehicles.

Arms control expert Ken Epps, of the arms control group Project Ploughshares, said Canada is shipping arms to questionable places.

"Sales to countries that are involved in armed conflict or where there are human rights concerns are still continuing," Epps said.

He pointed out that Colombia, China and Saudi Arabia were among the countries receiving military goods.

Epps also complained that the report is a step backward in terms of transparency because it doesn't provide as much information as past reports.

For example, sales dropped substantially by 2005 to $320 million, but Epps said that figure doesn't include shipments worth $250 million to Pakistan's military in 2004 and 2005.

"There were sales during the period of the report of helicopters to the Pakistan military, and those do not appear in the report. That is, in our interpretation, because they are dual-use items and are not listed as military goods."

The report states for the first time that the sale of military goods to Pakistan has been banned since 1998.

Foreign Affairs Minister Maxime Bernier wasn't available to comment on the helicopter sales, which took place under the former Liberal government.

Bernier promised to release the report in October after a CBC investigation raised questions about Ottawa's silence during a period of increased arms exports.

It's not clear when the report for 2006 sales — which is usually tabled in Parliament by now — will be made public.

Get it here

--What I find most surprising is that the report doesn't include arms sales to the United States. We should defiantly be considering who we are selling weapons to. At the very least, there should be a bigger national debate going on.

1 comment:

sponsors said...

very interesting points!