In response to Russia’s February invasion of Ukraine, Canada has announced successive shipments of military goods to the Ukrainian government. As of mid-May 2022, the value of all committed transfers was in excess of $150-million, with military aid worth a further $500-million proposed in Canada’s 2022 federal budget.
For some time, Canada’s silence has been a standard feature of international discussions on autonomous weapons. True to form, Canada remained quiet at the April 26-27 informal, virtual sessions on lethal autonomous weapons systems hosted by Brazil, the current chair of the United Nations Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW).
The eighth Conference of States Parties to the Arms Trade Treaty (CSP8) will be held this August. The theme chosen by conference president Germany is post-shipment controls and on-site verification. These instruments provide innovative ways to protect against the diversion of exported weapons systems once they leave the exporter’s hands.
Before legislation is passed and treaties are signed, history tells us civil society plays a critical and irreplaceable role in ending war. Labour unions, human rights organizations, faith communities, community organizations, educational institutions, healthcare workers – all play their parts in channelling the political will of a society.
I am here on behalf of both Project Ploughshares – a Canadian peace and arms control research institute – and the Canadian Pugwash Group, which is committed to the abolition of weapons of mass destruction and has a long tradition of “dialogue-across-divides.” Both of these organizations have long supported efforts to develop formal arms control mechanisms for outer space.
“There’s a good display of goodwill and broad engagement. I think there’s points of consensus on what needs to be done. We need to find common understandings of how international laws apply in space,” says Jessica West, a senior researcher at the research institute Project Ploughshares based in Waterloo, Ontario, who’s attending the meeting.
Last month, Global Affairs Canada (GAC) announced that public consultations would be held on the proposed addition of Qatar and North Macedonia to Canada’s Automatic Firearms Country Control List (AFCCL). …
“There is the real threat that the Ukrainian government can potentially not control all of these weapons,” said Kelsey Gallagher, a researcher with Project Ploughshares, a Canadian non-government disarmament group. “They could end up anywhere.”
On November 15, 2021, seven astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS) were ordered to take shelter because of the possibility of catastrophic collisions as the station passed through a cloud of debris. The astronauts remained in lifeboats while the ISS passed through the cloud multiple times.
Military research and development in recent years have focused on artificial intelligence (AI) tools that gather and analyze data quickly. Combined with improved sensors, they make possible faster and seemingly more accurate targeting of enemy positions. Now this R&D is being operationalized. Last September, according to Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall, the United States Air Force, for the first time, used AI to help to identify a target or targets in “a live operational kill chain.”