Originally published at MintPress News.
OTTAWA — Despite its reputation as our less war-inclined neighbor to the north, Canada has become second only to the United States in weapons exports to the Middle East.
The increase in military equipment and weapons sales was noted by IHS Jane’s in its annual “Global Defence Trade Report,” published June 13 by IHS, Inc., a corporate data analysis think tank.
“Canada is the second-largest exporter of defence equipment to the Middle East with $2.7 billion in sales, moving the UK down the table to fourth place, just behind France,” IHS reported in a press release.
Andrew Smith of the Campaign Against Arms Trade told Sputnik News on June 16 that the report suggests Canada is undeSserving of its nonviolent reputation:
The Canadian Government is regarded as a more peaceful one than the US. It’s regarded as a more liberal one than the US, everybody knows that there is rank hypocrisy right at the core of US foreign policy but I don’t think everybody knows that about Canada.
Against the objections of some members of Parliament, Canadian-made arms have ended up in the hands of the Saudi-led coalition that’s waging a brutal war in Yemen which has killed thousands of civilians, many of them children, and left thousands more at risk of starvation.
According to the IHS report, defense equipment sales are up worldwide, hitting a record-breaking $65 billion in 2015. At $21.6 billion in imports, the Middle East received the lion’s share of that materiel.
“The global defence trade market has never seen an increase as large as the one we saw between 2014 and 2015,” said Ben Moores, senior analyst at IHS, in the company’s press release.
Jane’s and IHS reported that Saudi Arabia is the top recipient of imported arms and equipment, receiving $9.3 billion in military equipment in 2015. The Gulf kingdom has imported $36 billion in defense equipment over the last decade, making it the world’s top arms importer during that period, and it’s expected to import another $10 billion in arms this year.
Canada’s arms and military equipment sales reached new heights under Conservative Party Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who forged a number of deals with Saudi Arabia, including a $15 billion sale of armored vehicles that’s opposed by most Canadians. Arms exports increased 89 percent under Harper, according to a January analysis by iPolitics.
But despite sometimes speaking out against war, Harper’s successor, Liberal Party Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, refused to back down from the armored vehicle deal.
Smith told Sputnik that Saudi Arabia is “one of the most brutal, violent oppressive dictatorships in the entire world.”
He also warned that Canada’s arms sales aren’t just a financial concern, but suggest the country’s implicit backing for the Gulf kingdom’s repressive rulers.
“Canada isn’t just selling these countries weapons, it is also sending them a message of political support,” he said.
Watch “The Canadian Business of War: CANSEC” from Motherboard: