Canada’s land-mine hypocrisy

Rating: NNNNNEmmylou Harris and the other musicians performing at Massey Hall Monday (December 4) in a benefit to promote a.


Rating: NNNNN

Emmylou Harris and the other musicians performing at Massey Hall Monday (December 4) in a benefit to promote a “land-mine-free world” have their work cut out.

With an estimated 100 million land mines deployed globally, at the present rate of de-mining it’s going to take thousands of years and billions of dollars to get rid of them.

Of course, former foreign affairs minister Lloyd Axworthy won kudos — and Canada’s do-good image got a boost — after the signing of the so-called Ottawa Convention banning the use of land mines worldwide. The feds even coughed up tens of millions of dollars to aid de-mining.

But before we get all warm and fuzzy, lets look at how the Liberals pump way more than that into subsidizing this country’s high-tech defence industry, whose toys continue killing people — just in other ways.

Amount of money earmarked for land mine action over the last few years (but so far only partially dispersed)* $100 million (not including additional CIDA funding for land mine action around the world), of which:

* $1.1 million is divided between Nicaragua, Peru and Ecuador

* $10 million (over five years) will be spent in Bosnia

* $17 million (over five years) goes to the Centre for Mine Action Technologies

* $750,000 supports the International Campaign to Ban Land Mines, and

* $3.7 million goes to mine cleanup in Central America

Amount spent by the feds on war companies* The Department of National Defence (DND) will spend more than $1.2 billion over the next several years to upgrade Canada’s fleet of CF-18 fighters, which were featured in devastating bombing raids over Iraq and Kosovo.

Additionally, Industry Canada hands out millions of dollars to multinationals in the defence business. Some of their products are deemed “civilian,” although they can be used for military purposes. There is no oversight to determine whether commercial Canuck hardware and components end up in the arsenals of dictators.

Some Industry Canada loans in the last three years* $1.2 million to Atlantis Systems International to develop tech to improve the training of military aircraft technicians

Atlantis exports: maritime warfare tactics trainer (Oman)

* $1.6 million to Bristol Aerospace Ltd. to work with DND on data-gathering tech for space.

Bristol exports: rockets for aircraft weapons tests (Czech Republic)

* $6.5 million to AlliedSignal Aerospace, a company that services both military and commercial aircraft

* $9.5 million to Derlan Aerospace to produce transmissions for the AH-64D Apache Longbow helicopter

Derlan exports: Lynx helicopter main rotor heads (various countries)

* $154 million to Pratt & Whitney

Pratt & Whitney exports: T-6A trainer jet turboprop engines (Greece) prototype Mi-38 helicopter engines (Russia)

* $32 million to CAE Electronics Ltd. to develop flight simulators for commercial and military markets

CAE exports: nuclear attack submarine controls (UK)

Sources: Project Ploughshares, Industry Canada, the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade

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