Friday, December 07, 2007

We're the new # 6


Last year Canada was the sixth largest arms exporting country in the world, just behind the US, Russia, UK, Germany, and China, according to the U.S. Congressional Research Service. It would have been nice to have our own figures on that of course, but as CBC has been reporting for a while now, two successive Ottawa governments have not released annual reports on military exports to Parliament since 2002. Best excuse? Computer technical glitches. For years.
From the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade :

"The Minister of Foreign Affairs is responsible to Parliament for the operation of the Export and Import Permits Act. The Minister produces an annual report on exports of controlled military goods and presents it to Parliament and Canadians. No country reports in more detail on such exports."

Well yes, at least no country with a lower transparency ranking than us, according to Small Arms Watch who notes we just squeaked past Iran in their transparency ratings to place 11th out of 20 countries.

500 companies across Canada are making LAVs, missile components, grenade launchers, firearms, ammunition .....and we have no idea what exactly or where it's all going.

Ten years ago Canada was a leader in drafting the treaty banning anti-personnel mines, known as the Ottawa Treaty. The US-#1, Russia-#2, and China-#5 all refused to sign it.

Then, after 4 million cluster bombs were dropped on southern Lebanon, representatives of 47 governments met in Oslo to begin crafting an international ban on cluster bombs. Israel, with whom Canada is expected to sign a "security accord" shortly, and the US, with whom Canada already has, are not expected to sign on.

Canada is obviously going to need a little nudge here to withstand the influence of her partners. Here's one from of Ceasefire :

Dear Prime Minister Harper:
Canada led the way to ban landmines. Now it is time to ban cluster bombs. I urge the Canadian government to declare a moratorium on the use, production and transfer of cluster munitions until a new treaty has been negotiated.

I await your reply.
Thank you.

Your signature here.

3 comments:

scout said...

hi alison!
shouldn't that read, 'just BEHIND the US, Russia....'?

anyways, i think most people will get it.

see you in four months...head off wed. and well meet up with carol and frinton a couple of days after i land.

aloha, baby!

Alison said...

Thanks, Scoutie, fixed it.

A hui hou kakou!

Chris said...

Thanks Alison...and do we know what the companies are?

Happy travels scout! I'll wave at you from Maui.

Maui na ka oi!

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