For immediate release: Monday, March 12, 2001
Cancellation of this year's Ottawa's War Show!
Organizers of the Ottawa War Show publicly announced this afternoon, that their event for this year has been was cancelled.
The Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade (COAT) has protested the so called National Capital Air Show, and its military trade show component, since 1997. COAT, a national network of activists and organizations, has also been encouraging opposition to "air shows" across Canada.
COAT's efforts to oppose Ottawa's war show have been supported by numerous religious organizations, trade unions, student groups, environmental, human rights and Third World development organizations. Dozens of organizations have joined COAT in promoting opposition, including a public boycott, of this highly militaristic event.
Last year, COAT organized a Festival of Peace outside the war show's gates. This event brought together well-known speakers, musicians and poets to celebrate peace on the doorstep of Ottawa's war show. In previous years, COAT's protests have included the exhibition of original paintings of warplanes by children who have been victimized in wars by the very kinds of bombers on display for Ottawa children.
One of the main reasons for widespread opposition to this spectacle is its glorification and romanticization of war technology, and of war itself. Particularly offensive is the way in which these warplanes -- designed to drop nuclear and convention bombs -- are promoted as entertainment to delight young Canadian children. Obviously, the children in dozens of countries who have somehow managed to survive aerial bombardments by US and other warplanes of the types displayed at Ottawa's war show, have a different perspective on these aircraft.
Many local and national organizations have also objected to the military trade show component of the Ottawa "air show." Organizers of the "air show" have held military trade expositions in conjunction with this annual military aviation event. These arms bazaars have assisted many Canadian military corporations to export their deadly wares to overseas buyers. For instance, in 1998, the "air show," and its military trade show component, were deliberately timed to coincide with a major conference in Ottawa (called CONJAFAMER) which brought together all of the air force generals from South, Central and North America.
Ottawa's war show, euphemistically called an "air show," features an array of military war planes. In fact, most of the aircraft on display are warplanes, with a preponderence of US air force fighters and bombers. These sophisticated and deadly weapons delivery systems -- including numerous nuclear weapons bombers -- are displayed every year in Ottawa as if they were legitimate sources of family entertainment. They are not. These are tools of mass destruction, murder and environmental devastation.
Richard Sanders, coordinator of COAT says: "News that this year's war show has been cancelled does not mean an end to our campaign. We will continue to build public awareness and opposition to the planned return of this offensive military event to our city. If it does return to Ottawa in Sept. 2002, we will be even more prepared to meet their war spectacle with activities based upon our profound believe in non-violent resistance and the need for peaceful non-cooperation with the institutions of war."
Over the past five years, there have been growing protests (including civil disobedience) to oppose air/war shows in numerous other Canadian cities and towns, including, Hamilton, Toronto, Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Abbotsford, Vancouver.
COAT has produced numerous resource materials including pamphlets, booklets and a 30 minute documentary, called "Mother's Day at the War Show."