WAIT ‘TIL NEXT YEAR: CANSEC 2020 equipment show cancelled over COVID-19

CANSEC (Canada’s Global Defence and Security Trade Show) opened Wednesday, May 31, 2017 at the EY Centre in Ottawa. Although some protesters held up traffic early in the morning, none remained by 9 am as thousands poured into the trade show. Over 11,000 people were registered for CANSEC, which had 700 booths and over 70 foreign delegations come out to see the latest in military equipment and technology, including armoured vehicles and ambulances, guns of all sorts and helicopters. Julie Oliver/Postmedia

David Pugliese, Ottawa Citizen, published by Ottawa Sun, April 1, 2020

Organized by the Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries or CADSI, the show had been scheduled for the EY Centre on May 27-28.

The military equipment trade show, CANSEC 2020, has been cancelled because of novel coronavirus.

The show was expected to attract around 12,000 visitors to the EY Centre in Ottawa. CANSEC 2020, organized by the Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries or CADSI, was supposed to take place in May 27-28.

CADSI president Christyn Cianfarani said Tuesday that CANSEC will proceed next year. That event will take place June 2-3, 2021, she added.

In the past, CADSI organizers have boasted CANSEC attracts thousands of Canadian government representatives and military personnel, as well as hundreds of VIPs, including generals, Canadian senators and cabinet ministers. In addition, delegations from around the world attend.

“It goes without saying that the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted our businesses, communities and our families close to home and around the globe,” Cianfarani said in a statement. “Today, I announce that we have made the difficult decision not to host CANSEC in 2020. As a result, we are now working hard to make CANSEC 2021 – which will take place June 2 and 3 at Ottawa’s EY Centre – the best CANSEC ever.”

Cianfarani acknowledged her decision took longer than CADSI members and CANSEC exhibitors had hoped for. “We took the time necessary to explore every possible option with the City of Ottawa, our partners, contractors, and suppliers to mitigate losses to our community and secure the long-term viability of CANSEC, which needs these partners and suppliers to be successful,” she added.

CADSI brings in around $10 million into the Ottawa economy.

Cianfarani told this newspaper March 12 that CADSI intended to proceed with CANSEC 2020 because of the interest in the trade show.

As a result the organization, World Beyond War, started a letter-writing campaign calling for the cancellation of the trade show. “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,” it noted.

Cianfarani said a second CADSI-sponsored conference about defence procurement, originally set for April 7-9, will be postponed until sometime in the fall.

Other military related events and conferences have also been cancelled or postponed because of the pandemic.

The European Union delegation to Canada cancelled its March 24 security and defence symposium in Ottawa because of COVID-19.

Canadian Army commander Lt. Gen. Wayne Eyre also canceled the Army Ball, a military social event held each year in Gatineau. It was supposed to have taken place on April 4.

Air force commander Lt.-Gen. Al Meinzinger postponed the inaugural Royal Canadian Air Force Ball, which was to have taken place in Ottawa on March 28.

A number of international defence and aerospace trade shows have also been cancelled because of the pandemic. Those include Eurosatory which was to be held in France June 8-12 and draws more than 100,000 visitors and participants and the Farnborough Air Show in July which attracts more than 200,000 visitors.

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