Unfettered Increase in Arms Trade

Increased Military Spending and Overall Militarization in the Name of "Protecting Canadians from Threats at Home and Abroad"

– Pierre Soublière –

CANSEC, Canada's "largest global defence and security trade show," will be holding its annual gathering of arms and merchants of death on June 1 and 2 at the EY Centre in Ottawa. The event is organized by the Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries (CADSI), which is "the voice of more than 800 Canadian Defence and security companies," including Boeing, General Dynamics and SAAB.

Besides this, in April 2021 CADSI initiated its Canadian Defence Marketplace, "the biggest business networking opportunity for defence, security and Industry 4.0 (fourth industrial revolution-related industries)." As is the case for CANSEC, participants are not only industry leaders, but also senior government and Canadian Armed Forces officials and their "procurement teams." There are 200 government participants representing 25 government "partners" such as the Department of National Defence, Global Affairs Canada, Canadian Special Operations Forces Command, the RCMP, and the National Research Council. Participants in this event, which is scheduled for next November, can book virtual private business-to-business and business-to-government meetings with featured connections from government entities such as the Department of National Defence's Assistant Deputy Minister.

Such events reflect the extent to which Canada is bound to the U.S. in terms of military production and operations.

One of the most glaring concerns with regards to this is the proximity of governments and their institutions, including the Canadian Armed Forces, with the war industry.

The cartel party system of governance is bound by a number of long-standing bilateral military and military production agreements within NATO and NORAD. The list includes many others such as the Permanent Joint Board of Defence established in 1940 and the Military Cooperation Committee established in 1946. There are also other military cooperation and information-sharing agreements whose areas of operations include the Continental U.S., Alaska, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, the Bahamas, Puerto Rico, and Central and South America.

Military production agreements include the Defence Production Sharing Agreement and the Defence Development Sharing Agreement, which totally integrate what is called Canada's "defence industrial base" into the U.S. armaments industry. Today that integration has reached extreme proportions as arrangements are made to increasingly gear Canada's human and natural resources to meet the needs of the U.S. war machine.

When one sees the RCMP in line to procure the most recent military equipment, an image which immediately comes to mind is militarized RCMP raids in defence of private interests on Wet'suwet'en territory, breaking into homes and arresting land defenders at gunpoint. There is a pressing need to redefine "defence," as such aggressions are carried out, at home and abroad, in the name of "protecting Canadians from threats at home and abroad."

It is also in the name of "defence" that the "modernization" of NORAD has been on the agenda in recent years and the conflict in Ukraine has become a pretext to push for this modernization. The modernization of NORAD has offensive implications, as expressed in the 2021 U.S. and Canada Joint Statement on NORAD Modernization: "We understand that, to meet our security and defence objectives, both countries must be secure within our shared North American continent. The stronger and safer we are at home, the more we are capable of engaging and acting together in the wider world, in support of a strong, rules-based international order."

Within the framework and overall plans of NATO, which has adopted the Anti-Ballistic Missile Defence Program as its official policy, and keeping in mind the U.S.'s' "first-strike" policy, modernizing NORAD includes developing its capacity to deter and, if necessary, "to destroy evolving aerospace threats to North America," and to develop its capability "to destroy the platforms of its adversaries even before the launch of missiles."

This suggests that the U.S., which considers Canada an "irreplaceable partner" because of its "geographic position," views the modernization of NORAD as an integral part of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Defence Program, which raises the concern of its using Canada as a launching pad to strike at countries abroad, specifically Russia.

This article was published in
Volume 52 Number 5 - May 21, 2022

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