Migrante Canada: SHUT DOWN CANSEC!


Shut Down CANSEC!

Parliament Grounds, Ottawa

May 29, 2024


(Delivered by Chris Sorio, Secretary General, Migrante Canada)

On behalf of the member organizations of Migrante Canada, I bring you militant greetings on this day of Mobilization against CANSEC.

CANSEC is an annual arms fair held in Ottawa, Canada, organized by the Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries (CADSI). It brings together defense and security companies, government agencies, and military officials to showcase and discuss military equipment, technology, and services.

We join you in protest against CANSEC and the arms trade together with activists and organizations expressing concerns about the promotion of war and violence, as well as the ethical implications of profiting from military conflict. 

The global realities we are facing challenge us to amplify and strengthen our solidarity. It necessitates that our efforts to support and be in solidarity with migrants and refugees who have built their global grassroots movement be linked with all other movements resisting neoliberal economic policies, corporate greed, land grabbing and plunder, government corruption, and imperialist wars. 

Migrante Canada expresses the following concerns:

1. The arms trade contributes to the perpetuation of war and violence globally. It is a deadly, corrupt business that fuels conflict and supports human rights-abusing regimes, like the Philippines, while wasting valuable resources. It does this with the full support of governments around the world, including Canada.

2. The arms trade fair promotes the sale of weapons to countries with questionable human rights records.

As the Philippines and Canada look for ways to further deepen their defense relations, we believe that aid provided by Canada is used by the Marcos, Jr regime to violate human rights and international humanitarian law and to repress people’s legitimate aspirations for nationalism, democracy, and the quest for just and lasting peace.

One of CANSEC’s sponsors is Lockheed Martin, a global security and aerospace company that sold helicopters and fighter jets to the Philippines. In 2021, Lockheed sold $2.43 billion of F-16s to the Philippines, despite opposition from US Congress members who were concerned with the widespread human rights violations carried out by the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Elbit Systems Ltd, an Israel-based international military technology company and defence contractor, supplies tanks to the Philippine government, a government that the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights reported to continue to do systemic and widespread human rights violations, including the red-tagging and killing of human rights activists. 

3. The focus on military spending diverts resources away from social and environmental issues.

The root causes of the forced migration in the Philippines are the high rate of exploitation by the foreign monopoly capitalists, the big compradors, big landlords, and corrupt civil and military officials. The Philippine economy is characterised with its dependence on the export of raw materials, mineral ores, agricultural products, low value-added semi-manufactures and cheap labour in exchange for foreign manufacturers. The result is an ever widening trade and budgetary deficit and the mounting burden of public debt and debt service payments.

4. The arms trade industry prioritises profit over human life and well-being. It undermines people’s  development and exacerbates inequality and poverty. It transfers money that could be put towards poverty eradication into the hands of the rich and the powerful. It distorts decision-making to favour projects that benefit and enrich the few rather than the many.

Dropping more bombs and waging the most number of wars more than any global power, US imperialism is indeed the world’s number one terrorist. Wherever there is wide-scale death, destruction and bloodshed, capitalist war freaks from the military industrial complex are thrilled over the heaps of money they are raking in from US-instigated wars. US terror has destroyed millions of lives in Libya, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Palestine for the sake of private and corporate profit.

Let us be reminded of the ongoing impact of the historical injustices of slavery, colonialism, and racism. Let us not forget how imperial wars of plunder and conquest and neoliberal economic policies conspire today to marginalize, not just the lives and livelihoods of migrants and refugees, but also their abilities to participate in bettering their lives, that of their families and their communities. 

Migrante Canada stands with all the peace-loving peoples of the world against the US imperialist aggression and its threats of war.  We stand with the oppressed peoples in the desire to remain free from the clutches of US imperialist domination. 

Now is the time for more action. Now is the time to continue to assert for a just peace .