Weapons of Mass Destruction in Montreal

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Block the Empire has made the shocking discovery that there are massiveresearch and production facilities for weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in Montreal. Tomorrow, activists and journalists will be treated to a frightening but enlightening Weapons-of-Mass-Destruction bus tour of the local military-industrial complex.

It took little effort for Block the Empire inspectors make several importantfinds. One of the tour organizers, Scott Weinstein, says that weaponsproducers have done very little to cover their tracks, “This stuff is nothidden. They publish it on their Websites.” Project Ploughshares and the Polaris Institute also provide excellent research on the companies and government agenciesinvolved in the WMD industry.

The bus tour will be taking in the sites at Bombardier, Technology Partnerships Canada, SNC Lavalin, Lockheed Martin, CMC Electronics and CAE.

One of the tour guides, Mary Foster, says that Block the Empire is workingwith community groups to answer the question, “What are the local waysthat we participate in the so-called ‘war on terror’?”

One of those local groups is the Quebec-Colombia Solidarity Committee,which is outraged that CMC Electronics is allowed to operate in Canada.“CMC is a company that is upgrading Blackhawk Helicopters to be used inPlan Colombia operations,” explains Foster. Plan Colombia has been dubbeda “war on drugs,” but critics say that it is really a war on the poorbecause its operations have killed, maimed and displaced poor peasants andindigenous peoples.

Activists from immigrant rights groups like No One Is Illegal and the Immigrants WorkersCentre will also be taking the tour, along with activists from Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights.

“People all around the world are affected in one way or another by thesecompanies,” says Foster. “CAE is Canada’s largest military producer. Itworks with the FBI to keep immigrants from crossing the borders, and itdoes flight training for U.S. and U.K. air forces, so there is a good chancethat it was involved in training the pilots who dropped bombs in the waron Iraq.”

CAE President and former Canadian ambassador to the U.S., Derek Burney,recently criticized the Canadian government for not taking part in theU.S.-led war on Iraq. He has been lobbying hard for Canadian participationin the war on terror. “It is not only the right thing for us to do, it isalso the best way to preserve vital Canadian interests,” said Burney at aMarch 18 speech to the Montreal Board of Trade. More than half of CAE’s revenues come from the militarysector.

Private companies are not the only attraction on the tour. TechnologyPartnerships Canada is also an important site. This federal governmentagency makes “loans” (very few of which have ever been repaid) to leading technology firms, many of which are in the defence industry. “Ineffect, TPC is subsidizing U.S. military research with our tax dollars,”says Weinstein.

Weinstein says that tomorrow’s event is booked solid, but if people wantto reserve a place on a future tour they should e-mailblocktheempiremontreal@yahoo.ca.

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