Why COAT is releasing
"WikiWeapons Canada" database
The Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade
(COAT) is releasing the "WikiWeapons Canada" database on Canada's
military exports to the U.S. because the Government of Canada has refused to
publish any such information. The Department of Foreign Affairs and
International Trade (DFAIT) publishes periodic reports called, Export of
Military Goods from Canada, but these contain no data on military
exports to the U.S., even though these exports account for 80% of Canada's
total military exports.
The "WikiWeapons Canada" database contains 20 fields of information,
including such details as company names, addresses and
phone numbers, descriptions of the military products they exported to the
U.S., the exact
for each numbered military contract, the U.S. government office responsible
for purchasing Canada's military hardware or service, the U.S. weapons-system program being
served by each contract, and the opening and closing dates of the contracts.
Over the decades, no Government of Canada department has ever
provided any such data to the Canadian public regarding Canada's military exports
to the U.S., or to any other country.
Statistics Canada, Industry Canada and the DFAIT each provide some very generalised figures about Canada's
military exports. However, none of these government departments have
ever published any data on specific military export contracts, let alone
made public the actual names of Canadian military companies, or provided any
details whatsoever on their specific export contracts.
Such data is always kept carefully hidden from the Canadian public's view.
Even when concerned Canadians and journalists have filed Access-to-Information requests for such
military-export data, the Canadian government always makes sure that it censors
all specific details, such as company names and the values of their
military exports. This, the government explains, is done in order to
protect the proprietary interests of the military-export corporations involved.
The Government of Canada therefore appears to be more interested in serving the
perceived interests of
military exporters, rather than facilitating the public's right to access
any detailed information about
what Canadian arms companies are exporting, and to whom. This
systemic cover up is unconscionable and should be changed.
The Government of Canada should change its policies and begin to
release detailed information about military exports such as is provided
in the "WikiWeapons Canada" database. By ceasing its longstanding efforts to
hide and downplay Canada's deep complicity in the international arms trade,
the Canadian government could begin a refreshing new initiative in
transparency that would serve the public's interest. This would be a
very small first step towards a meaningful effort to "closely control"
Canada's arms exports to countries that are at war and those which are
serious abuses of human rights.
Unfortunately, Canadians would be naive to think that our government might
actually stop exporting the instruments of war and repression to grossly
undemocratic, warring nations. Canada's lucrative trade in the tools
of war and repression is all too powerful and will continue for the
foreseeable future. However, in an effort to be more open and
accountable, the Canadian government should -- at the very least -- allow Canadians to have more access to data regarding
their country's role in the
international arms trade. To continue the decades-long cover up of
this data merely makes it appear that the government is pandering to
powerful corporate interests.
As a direct consequence of the government's ongoing refusal to reveal
substantial details regarding Canada's military exports, especially to the
United States (which accounts for 80% of Canada's military exports), the
Canadian public has been kept in the dark about this county's deep
complicity in supplying the warring nations with the tools of violence they
Canada is thoroughly integrated in the U.S. military-industrial
complex and is the single, largest supplier of military hardware to the U.S..
As such, Canada has long been involved in assisting the U.S. military in its
commission of war crimes and crimes against humanity. By helping to
arm the Pentagon with a wide assortment of war-related technologies ranging
from small arms and ammunition to armoured battle vehicles and high-tech
electronic components that are assembled into dozens of the world's
deadliest weapons systems, Canadian corporations -- and the Canadian
government alike -- are guilty of aiding and abetting the commission of
U.S.-led wars and occupations in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.
It is hoped that the publication of this detailed database exposing over
US$7 Billion worth of Canadian military contracts to U.S. institutions of war,
will serve the interests of the Canadian public who deserve to have access
to this information that the Government of Canada clearly does not want them
About the Database
The data in "WikiWeapons Canada" is derived from
public record information made available by the U.S. federal
government and distributed through a website
The U.S. government has, for instance, has released data on over half a
million military contracts that it awarded in 2010 alone, valued at $367
Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade (COAT)