Project Ploughshares audits Canada’s Military Exports

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On the Record: An audit of Canada’s report on military exports, 2003-05

by Kenneth Epps and Kyle Gossen

During 2004 and 2005 Canadian-manufactured helicopters worth in excess of $100-million were delivered to the Pakistan Armed Forces for use against “terrorism.” In the same two-year period, Canadian military goods worth more than $2-billion were delivered to the United States, including hundreds of armoured vehicles for US Army operations in Iraq.

Canada’s latest report on the export of military goods provides data on transfers to 77 countries for the three–year period 2003–2005, yet it does not document any Pakistani or US transfers. Why the omissions?

Canadian export controls regulate the transfer of military goods to other states. Decisions by the Foreign Affairs Minister and department officials are made on a “case-by-case” basis according to established guidelines.

The guidelines are restrictive but not prohibitive and military shipments may be made to states that contravene control criteria. Moreover, the guidelines do not cite genocide, war crimes, corruption, and other relevant considerations that arise out of Canada’s commitments under international law. Is Canada’s export control system doing its job?

To explore these and related questions, Project Ploughshares has undertaken an “audit” of the Report on the Export of Military Goods from Canada, 2003-2005.

Read the full report. (PDF 1.62 MB)

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