Red Herring # 1:

The "weapons and firearms not included" argument

"We are advised by the show manager that weapons and firearms are not included in these exhibits."
Doug Moore,
A/Director, Real Property Asset Management Branch,
City of Ottawa

My advice to Doug Moore is that, first of all, he should always take the word of an arms-exhibition organizer with a grain of saltpeter.*

Secondly, if this arms exhibitions goes ahead, before he browses past the one hundred and fifty or more 10 foot by 8 foot display booths looking for any actual "weapons and firearms," be should be sure to pick up a few glossy brochures, watch a few electronic promo videos and chat it up with the men in suits who represent the assembled companies that manufacture everything from the latest fighter aircraft, to bombers, ballistic missiles, attack helicopters, tank-turret mounted gatling guns, destroyers, cruise missiles, combat knives, handgun silencers and much much more.

These are just some of the many very real weapons systems, big and small, that "Secure Canada 2008" exhibitors actually manufacture.

Like any trade show, arms exhibitions use a diverse number of ways to promote their various products and services, including but not limited to the use of display panels, animated electronic presentations, and the distribution of pamphlets, brochures, catalogues, product guides, CDs, DVDs, and various promotional trinkets.

The Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade's 1989 booklet, entitled "ARMX: Canada's International Arms Exhibitions" (p.8), describes exhibitor's booths at ARMX as having

"elaborate displays using photographs, videos, music, elaborate models, computer programs, high-tech graphics and glossy brochures. Some booths also give away food, alcoholic beverages and cute gimmicky gifts to promote their hardware."

Men in Suits—Matching up Clients and Contractors
But by far the most important component of any trade show boothwhether they are selling the most advanced killing machines or some swampland in Florida—is the human representative of the company whose products and/or services are being highlighted. And, whether they are selling weapons or swamps, they have another key thing in common—they don't need to have their actual products on display inside their 8'x10' booth.  What's far more important is to enable one-on-one personal interactions between the business representatives who are trying to sell their products and services and the buyers/prospects who are milling about the show. The static displays and flashy technological exhibits at trade shows are important, but it's the connections made between promoters and potential purchasers that really facilitates sales.

Many weapons systems are just too damn big for display
In many, of not most cases, it is physically impossible for the exhibitor's products to be displayed in their small booth at an arms exhibition. This does not mean that it is no longer an arms exhibition. Many weapons systems are simply too large to get in the door.  For example, some of the companies listed as exhibitors at "Secure Canada 2008" are famous the world over for the manufacture of bombers and fighter aircraft, frigates, destroyers, intercontinental ballistic missiles, tanks and other large weapons and weapons delivery systems which do not lend themselves to display at most "arms exhibitions" where booths average 8'x10.' 

Who's exhibiting at "Secure Canada 2008"?
The organizers of "Secure Canada 2008" have published an online "Partial Exhibitor List" of 50 exhibitors provided by the show organizers.

The Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade (COAT) has taken their list and added notes, information and web links to all of the exhibitors. It is hoped that anyone interested in learning about the kinds of military products that will be promoted at this arms exhibition, including City of Ottawa staff, will actually take some time browse the websites of the exhibitors that are known to have paid to showcase their wares at "Secure Canada 2008."

Please sign online PETITION now to "Stop Ottawa's Arms Shows."

(Print version: Here is a printable version of the petition that you can use to get additional signatures.)

Email: Tell the Mayor, City Councillors and Staff what you think!

Related articles:
"What do they actually mean by "Defence," "Security" and "Public Safety"?

"What is a Weapon, anyhow?"

This webpage was produced by the
Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade (COAT)

as part of the COAT campaign to oppose 
"Secure Canada 2008" (Sept.30-Oct.1, 2008)