Tanks and drones are coming to town

Thousands of military, industry, and government representatives have converged in Ottawa for Canada’s largest annual arms and defence industry showcase. From May 30th to the 31st, hundreds of Canadian and foreign-owned security and defence corporations will display their wares at the CANSEC show at its new location by the Ottawa airport.

Boeing, Bombardier, Raytheon Canada, Seaspan, and other participating companies will be promoting their products and vying for contracts from the Royal Canadian Air Force, Royal Canadian Navy, Canadian Army, and Canadian Coast Guard. Upcoming procurement projects include the Fixed Wing Search and Rescue program, the Close Combat Vehicle, the Joint Unmanned Surveillance and Target Acquisition System, and planned new Coast Guard vessels.

The Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, star of Ottawa’s biggest procurement boondoggle to date, will undoubtedly also feature prominently at the show. But spokesman Mike Barton says the company will use the show to promote itself more broadly to potential government clients:

We don’t see CANSEC as a venue to promote our interest in specific future projects, but more as one where we can show the customer our capabilities and our strengths overall.

Other attendees at — or more precisely, outside — the show are less enthusiastic about its role.

Every year, peace groups such as the Ottawa Raging Grannies, Nowar-Paix, Homes not Bombs, and the Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade organize protests and other events to highlight opposition to the closed-door show.

Photo credit: DND

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