On the Record: An audit of Canada’s report on military exports, 2003-05

Kenneth Epps Conventional Weapons

Kenneth Epps and Kyle Gossen

Compared to many of its contemporaries, Canada is a responsible arms exporter. However, there are significant holes in both the practice and transparency of Canada’s export controls. For example, though the United States is by far the largest recipient of military goods from Canada, Canadian exports to the US are omitted from the official government report. There is evidence that Canada does not always adhere to its own control guidelines, as demonstrated by the export of armoured vehicles to the Saudi Arabian National Guard. Also, in spite of certain export bans, there are examples of unregulated and unreported civilian equipment shipped for military end-use, including a shipment of helicopters to the Pakistan Armed Forces. Finally, serious questions about the accuracy of government data pose real obstacles to transparency.

This report – the first audit of its kind – examines the government’s recent report on Canada’s military exports for the period 2003 to 2005. Its purpose is to determine the propriety, compliance and adequacy of Canadian export controls and suggest needed improvements.

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