ARMX and COAT's Dis-ARMX Campaign

The Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade (COAT) was formed in late 1988 to expose and oppose ARMX, which was at the time, the country's largest weapons bazaar. COAT's campaign resulted in a City of Ottawa Motion banning all future military trade shows from municipal property.

Here are two documents detailing ARMX, the formation of COAT and its initial efforts to oppose this arms bazaar in Ottawa.

ARMX: Canada's International Arms Exhibition

This is a 12-page COAT booklet published in 1990. It details the history of ARMX from its start as a Government of Canada-organized military trade show in 1983 and 1985, to its privatization and growth in 1987 and 1989.

The booklet looks at ARMX exhibitors and buyers, and the trade show's relationships with federal, provincial and municipal governments.

It also examines the formation of COAT and its plans to oppose the return of ARMX in 1991.

COAT Newsletter, September 1989

This COAT newsletter exposed plans for an arms industry front group that was spawned at ARMX 89.  It also has details on the history of COAT's formation as well as information on a Public Inquiry into ARMX organized by COAT in 1989.  There is also a table listing donations to political parties from Canadian military industries.

ARMX 1991 called off!
ARMX was scheduled to return in 1991. The organizers' plan was to hold ARMX in Carp, an hours drive outside Ottawa. To further dissipate protests, ARMX organizers planned to cloak their weapons trade show with a new, Orwellian theme—"Training for Peace."  COAT began planning campaigns to protest.  However, when the Iraq War began in early 1991 and the Canadian military became actively engaged in that war, ARMX organizers—perhaps under the direction of the Canadian government—decided to postpone ARMX. They postponed it twice and finally rescheduled it for 1993.
Read more here: "
West Carleton Citizens fight ARMX"

Peacekeeping 93 (i.e., ARMX returns from the dead, renamed)
When it finally returned in 1993, ARMX had a new name—"Peacekeeping 93." Although organizers admitted that they had invited all of the same military-company exhibitors to Peacekeeping '93 that they had for ARMX, and although they admitted inviting all of the embassies in Ottawa (except the Warsaw Pact), they claimed that their new and improved event was a kinder, gentler arms bazaar.
Read more about Peacekeeping '93 and COAT's successful campaign against it.

The demise of ARMX
After 1993, ARMX organizers packed up their renamed arms bazaar and shipped off to New York. Their event has never returned to Ottawa. HOWEVER,
several other military trade shows/exhibitions have been held in Ottawa on a regular basis ever since then. The struggle continues...
Read more here: "
ARMX Leaves; DisARMX Broadens Focus."

Other Military Trade Shows in Ottawa:

Due to the City of Ottawa's 1989 motion banning future military trade shows from municipal property, these events have had to find other venues in Ottawa. After they were banned from City of Ottawa property, the venue of choice for Ottawa's arms bazaars used to be the Ottawa Congress Centre (OCC).  It was an "Operational Enterprise" of the Government of Ontario. (Even under Bob Rae's NDP government, this publicly-funded provincial facility was leased to a large military trade show called CANSEC. The OCC was the site of CANSEC until 2008 when it was moved back to Lansdowne Park. (Read about CANSEC '08 opposition here.)

Read about subsequent CANSEC shows held at Lansdowne Park and our campaigns to oppose it, here.

Press for Conversion! #64 (November 2009):
"CANSEC:  War is Business"
This 50-page issue on Canadian government and corporate complicity in the lucrative business of war, includes articles, tables and charts on:
* CANSEC, Canada's top arms bazaar
* Recent Canadian military exports fueled 62 countries at war
Canadian war industries aid and abet Israel's bombing of Gaza
* Canada Pension Plan investments in top global war industries
* Canadian parts/services for major weapons used in Iraq.
* War-related exports of Ottawa Mayor's Calian Technologies
Canada's top-40 war exporters and what they manufacture

CANSEC has now been moved to the EY Centre,  4899 Uplands Dr., near the Ottawa Airport.

National Capital Air Show
For many years beginning in 1997, COAT organized protests and educational campaigns to oppose the National Capital Air Show (NCAS). In 1998, the NCAS organized an international military/aerospace trade show as part of its "air show." The venue for this military exhibition was the former Uplands Air Force Base—a facility that is still owned by the Canadian Forces. The NCAS military trade show was timed to coincide with a CONJEFAMER—a major conference hosted in Ottawa by the Canadian government for Air Force Generals from 22 countries in South, Central and North America.
Read more about CONJEFAMER and the NCAS military/aerospace trade show here:
"Latin American Generals in Ottawa!"

Secure Canada 2008
This military trade show is actually three distinct arms bazaars all rolled into one.  (Read more about it here.)

Here's yet another COAT article touching on Ottawa military trade shows called "Ottawa's Role in Canada's Military Industry."

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

"What is a Weapon, anyhow?"

Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade (COAT)