This report was produced by the Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade (COAT) in support of the campaign to Oppose CANSEC 2009 in Ottawa!


Canadian Military Exports to Countries at War, 2003-2005

By Richard Sanders, coordinator, Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade (COAT)


Between 2003 and 2005, Canada exported more than $5.6 billion in military exports to 73 countries. Of these 73 nations, 39 had troops that were then engaged in major military conflicts, either at home or abroad.  This means that 53% of the countries to which Canada exported military goods during those three years, were directly engaged in wars, invasions and/or occupations.


However, much more significant is the fact that these 39 warring nations receiving Canadian military hardware accounted for a full 90% (i.e., $5.1 billion) of the total value of Canada's military exports between 2003 and 2005.


Click here for a table listing the values of Canada's military exports to countries engaged in war between 2003 and 2005. This table  links to the categories of military equipment that Canada provided to these 39 warring countries.


Click here for another table detailing the involvement of these 39 warring countries in Iraq, Afghanistan, Haiti and various other major internal armed conflicts.


The data on Canada's military exports to countries other than the United States, comes from the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT). Unfortunately DFAIT's data has numerous accounting loopholes which cause the figures to appear much lower than they actually are. For a discussion of the flaws in DFAIT's reporting on Canada's military exports, click here.


The United States

As usual, the largest recipient -- by far -- of Canadian military exports was the United States. It received 70% (i.e., $4 billion worth) of Canada's military exports during the three years in question. This matches another Canadian government estimate which states "The United States market accounts for the majority of Canadian aerospace and defence exports 77% output exported around the world." (Statistics Canada).


Canadian military exports to the US, between 2003 and 2005, were two and a third times the value of Canadian exports to all other countries combined.

Canada is thoroughly and completely integrated into the military industrial complex as part of the "North American Military Industrial Base." As such, the US government treats Canadian companies as if they were US companies. The Canadian government requires exporters to procure military export permits for all foreign sales except  for military exports to the US. The complete lack of trade restrictions on Canadian military exports to the US also means that the Canadian government has been free to hand out billions of dollars in grants and loans to Canada's already highly profitable war industries. Under Canada-US trade agreements, such subsidies are not permitted except in military and energy sectors. The Pentagon is therefore free to take advantage of publicly-subsidized Canadian military products in all of its wars, invasions, interventions, regime changes and bombing operations.

The Canadian government's eagerness to promote and support military exports to the U.S. is evidenced online. For instance, the first link on the Canadian government's "Sell2USGov" webpage, called "U.S. Federal Departments and Specialized Markets," is the US "Department of Defense." This link helps Canadian military corporations to find export opportunities with all branches of the US military and US intelligence agencies, including through the The Defense Logistics Agency, The National Security Agency and The Missile Defense Agency.

Afghanistan, Iraq and Haiti 

In practice, the Canadian government's tremendous support for Canadian war industries eager to tap into the huge US military market has meant that Canadian products have been deeply embedded in all major US wars, invasions, bombardment campaigns and illegal regime changes.


The prime examples of large-scale US-led military engagements between 2003 and 2005 were in Afghanistan, Iraq and Haiti. 


In 2003, the US began its "shock and awe" bombing campaign to launch the Iraq War, which has since killed an estimated 1.3 million people. The US was by then already engaged in leading its war in Afghanistan which began in 2001. This war has caused the deaths of between 40 and 60 thousand people, including combatants and civilians. Then, in 2004, a US-led "Multilateral Interim Force" (MIF) invaded and occupied Haiti thus ousting its elected government and replacing it with an unelected, undemocratic puppet regime.  The MIF was soon transformed into MINUSTAH, a UN occupation force that oversaw the illegal regime change and empowered the Latortue dictatorship that ruled Haiti for more than two years. 


Of the 39 warring countries that received Canadian military exports between 2003 and 2005, 33 of them were engaged in one or more of these three US-led military conflicts during this time period. For example, 24 of the warring recipients of Canadian military goods (i.e., 61.5%) were deploying troops and hardware to the Afghan War; 12 of these warring countries (31%) were similarly engaged in the Iraq War and 10 of them (i.e., 25%) were deploying their armed forces for the MIF invasion and/or MINUSTAH occupation of Haiti.


Only 9 of the 39 warring countries receiving Canadian military technology were engaged in major internal, arms conflicts. Among these, only 7 were not also engaged in one of the major foreign war of Canada's military recipients between 2003 and 2005 were involved in major armed conflicts within their own borders but were not engaged in deploying troops to Afghanistan, Iraq and/or Haiti.


The value of Canada's exports to each of the various major conflicts (Afghanistan, Iraq, Haiti and Internal Wars) once again reveals the overwhelming importance of the United States as the main recipient of Canadian military products and services.  As a  percentage of Canada's total military exports, the value of Canadian military products and services (between 2003-2005) that were sold to countries deploying troops to fight in the Afghan war was just over $5 billion. While this is 89% of Canada's total, documented military exports for that period, it represents an astounding 99% of the value of exports to the 39 recipients of Canada's military hardware that are engaged in major armed conflicts. Meanwhile, the value of Canadian military exports to countries engaged in the Iraq War was just under $5 billion which represents 86% of Canada's total military exports and 96% of our exports to warring countries (during that period). 


In stark contrast, Canada's exports to the nine governments engaged in major "internal wars," namely Colombia, India, Indonesia, Israel, Nigeria, Russia, Serbia and Montenegro, Sri Lanka and Thailand, was negligible. Canada's total exports to these nine countries amounted to less than $14 million. This is less than a quarter of one percent of the value of Canada's military exports to all 39 of the countries at war that are receiving Canadian military products. While a few US troops or military advisors are likely deployed to some of these nine countries, their role is extremely minimal when compared to the major conflicts supplied by Canada, such as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Canada's military exports to the United States are by far most important factor in analysing Canada's role in arming the nations at war in the three major armed conflicts discussed here. For example, Canadian exports to the US account for:
79% of Canada's military exports to countries deployed in Afghanistan;
81% of Canada's military exports to countries deployed in Iraq;  and
92% of Canada's military exports to countries deployed in Haiti.

This web page is part of a report produced the Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade (COAT) which was created to support of the campaign to Oppose CANSEC 2009 in Ottawa!