The controversial international CANSEC arms show hosted by the Canadian Association of Defence and Security Studies (CADSI) is being held at Lansdowne Park in the city of Ottawa May 27-28. The shows opening Wednesday morning was met by protests and demostrations from numerous peace and religious groups, including 75 community groups that form the Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade. This marks the first time in 20 years that an arms show has been allowed to take place on city property due to the 1989 prohibition against defence industry trade shows on city grounds. Luckily for CANSEC Ottawa’s Mayor Larry O’Brien declared that the ban was not a comprehensive ban on all defence trade shows. O’Brien has garnered criticism for his support of CANSEC as he remains a shareholder and sits on the board of directors with Calian Technologies a company exhibiting at CANSEC this week.
CADSI boasts that the show is meant for a wide audience of government agencies and departments with “interests in security, public safety, risk mitigation, threat response and emergency planning.” What CADSI leaves out is that this arms show represents Canada’s contribution to the international arms trade, and CANSEC showcases several of the world’s largest war industries including BAR systems, Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Group, companies profiting extensively from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.