This page features additional information on Canada's drone contract with Israeli weapons company Elbit Systems. Click here to return to the signature page for this campaign.
Canada recently signed a $36m contract with Elbit Systems, Israel's largest weapons company. The contract is for the Hermes 900 StarLiner, a “civilian” version of Elbit’s lethal military drone the Hermes 900. The contract also includes services such as communication links, ground control stations, sensor packages, and more. The purpose of the drone is for surveillance in the arctic.
The contract was announced in December 2020 by Transport Minister Marc Garneau (now Minister of Foreign Affairs), and the drone is expected to be delivered by December 2022. As it falls under Transport Canada’s national aerial surveillance program, the new Minister of Transport Omar Alghabra is now responsible for the contract.
Elbit Systems supplies 85% of drones used by the Israeli military to monitor and attack Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. The Hermes 900 was first tested during Israel’s assault on Gaza in 2014, when Israeli drone strikes alone killed 860 Palestinians, including 164 children. During the bombing, Elbit’s profits skyrocketed. Elbit proudly claims that the civilian drone Canada has purchased draws on the “legacy” of its military drones.
In addition to drones, Elbit Systems produces white phosphorus munitions (a chemical weapon), cluster bombs (illegal under international law), sniper bullets, and components of tanks and fighter jets. Elbit Systems boasts that its products are “combat-tested,” meaning that they have effectively been used to kill and oppress Palestinians.
Some investors have distanced themselves from Elbit Systems for ethical reasons. In 2009, Norway’s government pension fund divested from Elbit Systems due to its role in supplying technology for Israel’s apartheid wall, which was found illegal by the International Court of Justice. In 2018, HSBC divested all its holdings from Elbit Systems due to its production of cluster bombs.
Elbit Systems has a Canadian subsidiary in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, which produces equipment and technology for defence and surveillance.
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