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 monetary value 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 committing 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 require. 

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 to have.

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 called www.governmentcontractswon.com 
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 Billion.

Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade (COAT)