Red Herring # 2:
The wide "range of products and services" argument
is the opinion of staff that given the range of products and services being
marketed during this event ["Secure Canada 2008], it does not meet the test of what one would
reasonably expect to find in an
A/Director, Real Property Asset Management Branch,
City of Ottawa
Typically, "arms exhibitions" the world over have always showcased a wide range of military products.
Therefore, "arms exhibitions" are not limited to literally promoting the sale of "arms." In fact, it would be difficult, if not impossible, to find any examples of "arms exhibitions" that did not also include a wide "range of products and services" used by the military.
These events—which are also known as military trade shows, weapons bazaars, war shows, or defence and security exhibitions—are invariably focused on providing a venue for companies that manufacture military-related products to exhibit and distribute promotional materials about their wares. The goal of such shows (besides making money for the organizers) is to promote the sale of an often dazzlingly diverse array of military-related products and services that are required for the successful execution of modern wars.
Although such arms exhibitions usually have a variety of internal networking, educational and political propaganda functions, their main purpose is always to facilitate the economic dimensions of the military-industrial complex.
Anyone who has ever attended or studied such events will know that it is totally inaccurate to assume that the exhibitors at these events are constrained or limited only to weapons and that the promotion of other military-related products and services are therefore not permitted.
Canada and CANSEC, and all other such "arms exhibitions," are organized not only
to provide venues for military industries that produce weapons, armaments
systems, delivery systems and/or components and services for such systems, but
also to promote the business interests of corporations
of military goods and services required by the armed forces of
In fact, the vast majority of military equipment manufacturers are quite diverse
in their product lines. Very few such companies only produce military hardware
and fewer still limit their production simply to weapons.
The list of exhibitors showcasing their wares at ARMX, Secure Canada and CANSEC "arms exhibitions"—like the exhibitors at every other arms exhibition throughout history and around the world—therefore includes a diverse collection of military and security-related corporations, government departments/agencies, and lobby groups/associations that representing the full range of players associated with the institutions responsible for supplying warfighters with the diverse array of equipment and services that they require.
Doug Moore concludes that "given the range of products and services being marketed during this event [Secure Canada 2008], it does not meet the test of what one would reasonably expect to find in an 'arms exhibition.'"
This displays either Mr. Moore's complete ignorance of "arms exhibitions" (and his willingness to take the word of an arms trade promoter at face value) or his willful effort to deceive City Councillors and the general public regarding the nature of this military trade event. It would be interesting to discover whether Mr. Moore can cite any actual examples of "arms exhibitions" that would "meet the test" of what he considers to be an "arms exhibition."
A perusal of any listing of "arms exhibitions" currently being organized around the world will quickly show that each and every one includes a range of products beyond just "weapons and firearms."
ARMX as precedent and example
Moore's "test" of what rates as an "arms exhibition" hardly seems important.
What is important is what it actually says in the The City of Ottawa
motion of April 1989.
"that Lansdowne Park and other city facilities not be leased to ARMX or other such arms exhibitions."
This provides us with a clear statement that by the term "arms exhibitions," the City Councillors were referring to events such as ARMX. Therefore, if there is for some odd reason any doubt that Mr. Moore is incorrect in his assessment that "arms exhibitions" must only include a preponderance of actual "weapons and firearms," then all we need do is look more closely at ARMX to determine whether "Secure Canada 2008" and CANSEC 2009 can be included in the same category of trade shows that ARMX was considered by City Councillors to represent.
Here is booklet entitled "ARMX: Canada's International Arms Exhibitions") that was produced by the Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade (COAT) almost 20 years ago. It provides many details about ARMX including its exhibitors.
Page 8 of this report states:
"Company representatives are on hand at all of the ARMX booths to promote their multifarious military products....
more than 200,000 square feet of space, are exhibits of everything from
sophisticated computer equipment, communication systems and training/simulation
devices to tanks, armoured personnel carriers, machine guns, a helicopter and a
howitzer. An advertisement for ARMX 87, in the Canadian Defence Quarterly,
detailed a range of products which exhibitors were invited to market:
"AIR: Air Defence Systems. Avionics. SAR. Radar Reconnaissance. Power Plants. Aircraft Maintenance Equipment. Ground support Equipment. Weapons systems. Military Aircraft. Command and Control RPV s [Remotely Piloted Vehicles]. Laser technology. Computers. Training equipment and simulators.
"LAND: Ground weapons systems. Combat Vehicles. Logistical equipment. Training and simulation. Battlefield support equipment. Civil defence. Ordnance. Defence Communications. Detection equipment. Paramilitary equipment.
"SEA: Mine warfare. Navigation aids. Propulsion systems. Naval Vessels. ASW [Anti-Submarine Warfare]. ECM [Electronic Counter-Measures]. Naval weapon systems. Shipboard equipment. Subsurface technology. Naval electronics. Surveillance and detection. Electro-optical systems. Naval aviation. Naval Logistics."
"The report also quotes from an interview that I did with Wolfgang Schmidt, the coordinator of both ARMX 87 and 89. In that interview, he "explained the benefits to Canadian companies of having these giant American prime contractors" by saying:
"The smaller Canadian companies which display here at ARMX, they can show their wares to the world and they can rub shoulders with some of the bigger companies like, lets say, General Dynamics or General Electric and maybe they pick up a subcontract here or there."
(interview at ARMX 87 with Richard Sanders for CKCU FM)
It is interesting to note that both General Dynamics and General Electric (Security, Homeland Defense), which are two of the world's top five weapons contractors are listed as exhibitors at Secure Canada 2008.
I also have copies at the COAT office of the official ARMX '89 Catalogue, a glossy 130-page document listing all of the exhibitors from this last "arms exhibition" to be hosted by the City at Lansdowne Park. In this ARMX catalogue, Wolfgang.W. Schmidt, the organizer of these military trade shows makes it clear that he considered it very important to have a wide range of military equipment available at military trade shows like ARMX. He noted that:
"Much of today's defence equipment contains high-technology components. Our soldiers, sailors, and airmen are acquiring the latest in sophisticated communications transmitters/receivers and computer-controlled weapons systems, and putting them to good use. At the same time, they still use simple equipment that has stood the test of time: tents, rifles, and illumination flares to name a few. In other words, the old meets the new in todays armed forces, requiring the soldier to be flexible and well-Informed."
("Message from the Publisher," ARMX '89 Catalogue.)
Therefore, contrary to the incorrect assertion by the City of Ottawa's Doug Moore, "arms exhibitions," such as ARMX, "Secure Canada 2008" and CANSEC 2009, are not—and have never been—limited strictly to the promotion of only "weapons and firearms."
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!
"What is a Weapon, anyhow?"
This webpage was produced by
Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade (COAT)
as part of the COAT
campaign to oppose
"Secure Canada 2008" (Sept.30-Oct.1, 2008)