Open Letter to #CancelCANSEC

UPDATE: Sign the petition to send an email to Trudeau, Defence Minister Sajjan, Foreign Affairs Minister Champagne, Ottawa Mayor Watson, and CADSI to #CancelCANSEC immediately!

Contact Info: David Swanson, Executive Director, World BEYOND War,

March 16, 2020

Dear Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Canadian Minister of National Defence Harjit Sajjan, Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs François-Philippe Champagne, City of Ottawa Mayor James Watson, and CADSI President Christyn Cianfarani,

Despite the growing coronavirus pandemic, the Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries (CADSI) announced March 13 that the CANSEC 2020 weapons show will take place as scheduled in Ottawa May 27 and 28. CANSEC is billed as “North America’s largest trilateral defence event” and is expected to attract 12,000 government and military officials and weapons industry representatives from 55 countries to Ottawa.

Weapons dealers should not risk the health of the people of Ottawa in order to market, buy, and sell weapons of war, endangering the lives of people around the world with violence and conflict. Selling fighter jets, tanks, and bombs is not more important than human health.

With the world facing catastrophic climate change impacts, a rising risk of nuclear war, growing economic inequality, a tragic refugee crisis, and now the coronavirus pandemic, military spending should be redirected to vital human and environmental needs. At current levels, just 1.5% of global military spending could end starvation on earth. Militarism, itself, is a top contributor to the global climate crisis and a direct cause of lasting environmental damage – yet military activities are often exempted from key environmental regulations. And studies show that a dollar spent on education and health care would produce more jobs than the same dollar spent in the war industry.

CANSEC is a public health threat and the weapons it markets endanger all people and the planet. CANSEC must be cancelled – and Canada should ban all future weapons shows. We need divestment, disarmament, and demilitarization in order to secure a peaceful, green, and healthy future.


David Swanson, Executive Director, World BEYOND War
Greta Zarro, Organizing Director, World BEYOND War
Medea Benjamin, Co-Founder, Code Pink
Brent Patterson, Executive Director, Peace Brigades International-Canada
Mairead Maguire, Nobel Peace Laureate 1976
Jody Williams, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate (1997), Chair, Nobel Women’s Initiative
Liz Bernstein, Co-Executive Director, Nobel Women’s Initiative
Hanna Hadikin, Co-Coordinator, Canadian Voice of Women for Peace
Janet Ross, Clerk, Winnipeg Quakers


2 Responses

  1. Despite so much documented evidence to the contrary – Hiroshima, Dresden, Leningrad, Sarajevo – it is still bruited with impunity that in wars, only soldiers die and kill, only soldiers deserve to be remembered. Today’s militaries boast of their “smart bombs” and “state-of-the-art precision technology”, yet the bombs and drones keep falling on weddings and funerals, schools, power plants and hospitals. A resident of Mosul is on record saying he would be happy if his city regained function in 20 years’ time.

    The road to common survival – and all that makes life worth living – has to begin with the deconstruction of war economies. How else can our global community create the shared agency required for an effective response to Climate Change?

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