Experts call for greater transparency in Canada’s arms exports

The Federal House of Commons Commission heard on Tuesday that the federal government needs to increase the transparency of arms exports to prevent them from being used in violation of human rights and agreements with Canada.

Jean-Christoph Boucher, an assistant professor of political science at the University of Calgary, Foreign Affairs and International Development Committee The Canadian government is not transparent about granting export licenses for firearms, which can raise concerns about how weapons are used.

According to Boucher, more than 60% of Canada’s defense industry is exported, so the government must continue to pursue export and defense industry development.

However, in Boucher’s September 2020 survey on what Canadians believe is the most important factor in the sale of military equipment, most (31%) are concerned about respect for human rights, followed by international. Respect for the law (22%) continues. Approximately 22% of respondents are interested in promoting local work in Canada, and only 10% are focused on maintaining good relations with their allies.

“We must strike a balance between Canada’s economic interests and this human rights issue,” said Boucher.

Concerns about arms exports to Turkey

The Diplomatic Commission has been considering regulations on granting export licenses for military products following allegations that Canadian technology was used in the Nagorno-Karabakh military conflict last year.

The Nagorno-Karabakh War was fought between Turkey-backed Azerbaijan and the self-proclaimed Republic of Artsakh with Armenia.

In October 2020, Armenian air defense forces shot down a Turkish product. Bayraktar TB2 combat droneDeployed by rival Azerbaijani troops during the 44-day conflict. Armenian officials claimed that the drone was equipped with Canadian target acquisition technology and surveillance cameras manufactured by Ontario-based company L3 Harris WESCAM.

Epoch Times Photo
The ruins of the village of Zengilan in Azerbaijan, January 5, 2021. (Tofik Babayev / AFP via Getty Images)

Last month, Foreign Minister Marc Garneau also Cancel Issuance of new export licenses for military products to Turkey. Garnot said this was a follow-up to the government’s previous decision to suspend the issuance of export licenses after Turkish troops invaded Syria in 2019.

Pierre Jolicourt, a professor of political science at the Royal Military College of Canada, recognizes the use of combat drones as one of the key factors behind Azerbaijan’s success in conquering a significant portion of the separatist territory. I told the committee that it was done.

“The problem here is that Turkey has used equipment provided by Canada to change the status quo of the region, and this so-called” frozen conflict “has destabilized the region and threatened international security. I think that’s what it is, “said Jori Cool.

Turkey has taken an increasingly active position in the Caucasus region in recent years, including the deployment of navies in the Mediterranean to claim oil resources near Cyprus and interventions in Libya and Syria, according to Jolicourt. The same combat drone used.

He said Turkey, as a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), is an ally of Canada, but domestic “authoritarian drift” is the reason for the concern.

“For all these reasons, the credibility of our partnership with Turkey is questionable,” said Jolicourt.

“We can see reactions from the United States, as well as from other Canadian partners and allies with NATO, that Turkey is really a source of concern,” he said. “And we really wonder if we share the same democratic values ​​as Turkey.”