CJPME: ATIP Response Confirms Joly Misleading the Public about Weapons Sales to Israel since Oct. 7

Montreal, February 10, 2024 — Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) is incensed to learn that Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly has been deliberately misleading the Canadian public in claiming that Canada hasn’t sent weapons to Israel since Oct. 7, whereas new information reveals the opposite. On Feb. 7, Joly testified in a Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee Meeting that there were “no weapons sent [to Israel] under my watch in recent years, and none since Oct. 7.”  She continued, “We have sent non-lethal equipment including night vision goggles and protective gear.”  Nevertheless, earlier today, The Maple released information obtained through an ATIP request that indicated that the government had indeed approved permits for an extraordinary amount of military exports, which appear to include components of offensive weapons, to Israel.

Despite Joly’s denial, CJPME was flabbergasted to learn through The Maple’s reporting that Canada approved $28.5M worth of military exports to Israel between October-December 2023, allowing Canadian companies to profit commercially from Israel’s genocidal war in Gaza. In only three months, Canada approved exports at a level that matches the annual total of the highest years on record ($27.8M in 2021 and $28.7M in 1987). CJPME is outraged that Canada would double down on arms transfers to Israel despite the clear risk of genocide, and reiterates its demand for an immediate arms embargo.

“While it is extremely upsetting to hear that Canada has actively supported a genocide through weapons sales to Israel over the last three months, it is even more infuriating that government ministers have been making statements to the media and the Canadian public that appear to be bold-faced lies,” said Thomas Woodley, President of CJPME. “Ultimately, these revelations raise serious questions about the ministers’ competence and credibility. With public statements intended to mislead and misrepresent critical government actions, these ministers cannot be trusted to handle such important government portfolios.”

“For months, the Trudeau government has been denying and downplaying the role of Canada’s arms trade with Israel, but it responded to the outbreak of the war by authorizing massive amounts of new arms exports to Israel,” observed Michael Bueckert, Vice President of CJPME. CJPME notes that very soon after Oct. 7, world leaders started to express concern that Israel’s airstrikes and ground invasion of Gaza made no distinction between combatants and civilians, and that they were disproportionate to the attack sustained by Israel on Oct. 7. Early statements by Israeli leaders about their actions in Gaza are being examined by the International Criminal Court as plausible expressions of genocidal intent. “Minister Joly must immediately act to cancel these export permits, and prohibit future arms transfers to Israel to ensure that they are not used to facilitate war crimes or acts of genocide,” added Bueckert.

Canada does not disclose the specific products that are exported to Israel, but CJPME notes that the revelations from The Maple make clear that top categories include:

  • “Electronic equipment, military spacecraft and components not controlled elsewhere”;
  • “Aircraft, lighter-than-air vehicles, unmanned airborne vehicles, aero-engines and aircraft equipment, related equipment and components, specially designed or modified for military use”;
  • “Bombs, torpedoes, rockets, missiles, other explosive devices and charges, and related equipment and accessories specially designed for military use; and specially designed components”;
  • “Ground vehicles and components.”

The export of military exports in the above categories raises the significant possibility that Canadian technology or components could be directly implicated in Israeli airstrikes and other indiscriminate attacks on civilians and infrastructure in Gaza. CJPME further notes that the approval of exports for military goods related to “ground vehicles” corresponds with the launch of Israel’s ground war in Gaza. During the period in question, Israel killed over 22,000 Palestinians, of which 70% were women and children.

CJPME recently criticized the Canadian government for issuing misleading statements to obfuscate the Canada-Israel arms trade. Canadian officials have previously claimed that they have only approved “non-lethal” exports since October 7, ignoring the role of components and other military goods that can be integrated into lethal systems. Along these lines, International Development Minister Ahmed Hussen claimed ridiculously that “we haven’t exported arms to Israel in 30 years.” “It is apparent that this government is deliberately trying to mislead Canadians by pointing to exports that are unrepresentative of the total military trade, whereas important exports are related to aircraft, explosives, and ground vehicles,” said Bueckert.

About CJPME – Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) is a non-profit and secular organization bringing together men and women of all backgrounds who labour to see justice and peace take root again in the Middle East. Its mission is to empower decision-makers to view all sides with fairness and to promote the equitable and sustainable development of the region.

For more information, please contact Michael Bueckert, VP CJPME, 613-315-7947

Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East www.cjpme.org

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