CANSEC Canned: Weapons Expo Canceled

April 10th, 2020 - by World BEYOND War & Peace Brigades International-Canada & The Ottawa Citizen

Coalition Celebrates Cancellation of CANSEC; Demands Permanent Ban on Weapons Shows

World BEYOND War

OTTAWA, Canada (April 2, 2020) — In response to the Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries’ (CADSI) March 31 announcement that CANSEC 2020 has been cancelled, World BEYOND War issued the following statement:

Finally, only after massive public pressure from a coalition of dozens of Canadian & international organizations, 7,700+ letters sent, and 19 days after a pandemic was declared, CADSI has officially cancelled this year’s CANSEC.

As North America’s largest weapons show — which had been expected to attract 12,000 government and military officials and weapons industry representatives from 55 countries to Ottawa — CANSEC in and of itself posed a health threat.

Nevertheless, the fact that CADSI is proceeding with CANSEC 2021, scheduled for June 2-3, 2021 in Ottawa, means that they have still missed the mark. CANSEC is a public health threat at any time, regardless of the coronavirus. The weapons it markets endanger the lives of people around the world with violence and conflict. 

Wars kill, maim, traumatize, and displace millions of civilians. Even distant wars make those whose governments wage them less safe by fueling hatred, resentment, and blowback from victimized peoples. In fact, studies show that nonviolent resistance is twice as successful as armed resistance.

War is a top contributor to the global climate crisis and a direct cause of lasting environmental damage. And, on top of all that, war is bad for business. Studies show that a dollar spent on education and health care would produce more jobs than the same dollar spent in the war industry.

Consider this: At current levels, just 1.5% of global military spending could end starvation on Earth. Last year, the Government of Canada spent $31.7 billion on the military, putting it at 14th highest in the world according to the Public Accounts of Canada. Plus, Canada plans to buy a new fleet of fighter jets for $19 billion and build a fleet of warships for $70 billion.

With the world facing catastrophic climate change impacts, a rising risk of nuclear war, growing economic inequality, a tragic refugee crisis, and now the coronavirus pandemic, military spending must be rapidly redirected to vital human and environmental needs. Instead of increased weapons stockpiling, arms factories must be converted through a just transition that secures the livelihoods of arms industry workers.

We will not let up until CANSEC and all weapons shows are permanently cancelled. We demand divestment, disarmament, and demilitarization in order to secure a peaceful, green, and just future.

World BEYOND Waris a global grassroots network of volunteers, activists, and allied organizations advocating for the abolition of the institution of war.

PBI-Canada Welcomes Cancellation of CANSEC Arms Show

Brent Patterson / Peace Brigades International-Canada

CANADA (April 2, 2020) — Peace Brigades International-Canada welcomes the announcement by the Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries (CADSI) that it has cancelled its CANSEC arms show that was to take place on May 27-28 in Ottawa.

The decision by CADSI comes almost 19 days after the World Health Organization had declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic.

There are still questions why it took so many days for CADSI to make its decision to cancel an arms show that it had boasted would assemble 12,000 people from 55 countries inside the EY Centre convention hall.

Today’s announcement states, “We have made the difficult decision not to host CANSEC in 2020. As a result, we are now working hard to make CANSEC 2021 — which will take place June 2 and 3 at Ottawa’s EY Centre — the best CANSEC ever.”

This cancellation was sought by many.

Thank you to the 7,700 people who sent a letter via this World Beyond War petition to CADSI president Christyn Cianfarani, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson and others with the demand to cancel CANSEC.

At this time, we also keep in mind the words of United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres who stated, “The fury of the virus illustrates the folly of war. Silence the guns; stop the artillery; end the airstrikes.”

We also recall that total world military expenditures rose to $1.8 trillion in 2018, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

It is our hope that we collectively learn that those expenditures redirected towards public health care and the fulfilment of the human right to water and sanitation for everyone will in the end result in greater peace and security in times such as these.

It’s not possible to bomb a pandemic.

PBI-Canada has always been deeply committed to the task of building peace and promoting nonviolence through peace education.

We are equally committed to continuing to work with allies to highlight alternatives to war and the need to transition from arms production to renewable energy. As such, we will also share in the efforts to cancel CANSEC 2021.

CANSEC 2020 Equipment Show Cancelled over COVID-19

David Pugliese / Ottawa Citizen

(March 31, 2020) — Organized by the Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries or CADSI, the show had been scheduled for the EY Centre on May 27-28.

The military equipment trade show, CANSEC 2020, has been cancelled because of novel coronavirus.

The show was expected to attract around 12,000 visitors to the EY Centre in Ottawa. CANSEC 2020, organized by the Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries or CADSI, was supposed to take place in May 27-28.

CADSI president Christyn Cianfarani said Tuesday that CANSEC will proceed next year. That event will take place June 2-3, 2021, she added.

In the past, CADSI organizers have boasted CANSEC attracts thousands of Canadian government representatives and military personnel, as well as hundreds of VIPs, including generals, Canadian senators and cabinet ministers. In addition, delegations from around the world attend.

“It goes without saying that the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted our businesses, communities and our families close to home and around the globe,” Cianfarani said in a statement. “Today, I announce that we have made the difficult decision not to host CANSEC in 2020. As a result, we are now working hard to make CANSEC 2021 — which will take place June 2 and 3 at Ottawa’s EY Centre — the best CANSEC ever.”

Cianfarani acknowledged her decision took longer than CADSI members and CANSEC exhibitors had hoped for. “We took the time necessary to explore every possible option with the City of Ottawa, our partners, contractors, and suppliers to mitigate losses to our community and secure the long-term viability of CANSEC, which needs these partners and suppliers to be successful,” she added.

CADSI brings in around $10 million into the Ottawa economy.

Cianfarani told this newspaper March 12 that CADSI intended to proceed with CANSEC 2020 because of the interest in the trade show.

As a result the organization, World Beyond War, started a letter-writing campaign calling for the cancellation of the trade show. “Weapons dealers should not risk the health of the people of Ottawa in order to market, buy, and sell weapons of war, endangering the lives of people around the world with violence and conflict,” it noted.

Cianfarani said a second CADSI-sponsored conference about defence procurement, originally set for April 7-9, will be postponed until sometime in the fall.

Other military related events and conferences have also been cancelled or postponed because of the pandemic.

The European Union delegation to Canada cancelled its March 24 security and defence symposium in Ottawa because of COVID-19.

Canadian Army commander Lt. Gen. Wayne Eyre also canceled the Army Ball, a military social event held each year in Gatineau. It was supposed to have taken place on April 4.

Air force commander Lt.-Gen. Al Meinzinger postponed the inaugural Royal Canadian Air Force Ball, which was to have taken place in Ottawa on March 28.

A number of international defence and aerospace trade shows have also been cancelled because of the pandemic. Those include Eurosatory, which was to be held in France June 8-12 and draws more than 100,000 visitors and participants and the Farnborough Air Show in July, which attracts more than 200,000 visitors.

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