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Ottawa activists protest CANSEC, Canada's largest arms bazaar

by Amanda Wilson

Ottawa activists protest CANSEC, Canada's largest arms bazaar
banners on fence
banners on fence
Ottawa activists protest CANSEC, Canada's largest arms bazaar
twins of CANSEC
twins of CANSEC
Ottawa activists protest CANSEC, Canada's largest arms bazaar
Ottawa activists protest CANSEC, Canada's largest arms bazaar
Ottawa activists protest CANSEC, Canada's largest arms bazaar
Ottawa activists protest CANSEC, Canada's largest arms bazaar
murder marketplace banner
murder marketplace banner


Over a hundred people gathered Wednesday evening outside Landsdowne Stadium on Bank Street in Ottawa to protest CANSEC, the country's largest arms trade show.

CANSEC, which runs from June 2-3rd is, for the second year in a row, being held in City-owned facilities, which has outraged many. While CANSEC has been held annually in the city since 1980s, in 1989 the City voted to ban arms trade shows occurring on City property following a successful campaign by COAT (Coalition Against the Arms Trade). However, in 2009 the arms trade show returned to a city facility after City officials stated Lansdowne was exempt from the ban due to a ownership technicality.

CANSEC is organized by CADSI, the Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries. CADSI's website states that "CANSEC 2010 will feature product presentations and capability displays of Canada's leading edge defence and security technologies. This showcase targets a wide audience of customers that includes Government agencies and departments with an interest in defence, security, public safety, risk mitigation, threat response and emerengy planning." The trade show is open only to government employees, Canadian military and security personnel, first responders and CADSI members, and features lavish meals and receptions.

According to COAT, Canada's Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade has given CADSI $191,554 since 2008 to help the organization promote the exports of Canadian military companies. Weapons companies who participate in the annual trade show include many companies who helped manufacture weapons used in the bombings of Lebanon in 2009 and Gaza in 2008-2009 (See the full report here)

Wednesday's rally included numerous speeches, poetry readings and energetic performances including Ottawa community activist choir Just Voices and the Raging Grannies. Under the slogan “CANSEC No CAN-SEX Yes!” the Raging Grannies performed a song called Condoms for CANSEC where they covered pretend weapons with large condoms. Watch a video of their performance here: (

There was a heavy police and security presence at the protest, with dozens of officers on hand and a large metal fence closing off the area surrounding Lansdowne to the public. Protesters covered the fence with colourful banners and signs bearing anti-war messages. At one point CANSEC security staff ripped down a large banner taped to the fence which said “MURDER MARKETPLACE” and tore it to shreds, but activists were able to tape it back together.


For more information on the campaign to oppose CANSEC see COAT's website


To visit CANSEC's official website, click here


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Topics: Peace/War

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a.wil (Amanda Wilson)
Ottawa, ON
Member since May 2009


417 words


This is ridiculous

There will always be some loophole to be found with stuff like this. It's just disturbing that people can get away with whatever they want, when they want.