Radio — Opposing militarism outside Canada’s largest arms fair


On this week’s episode of Talking Radical Radio, I speak with Ria Heynen, Jo Wood and Matthew Behrens. They are long-time peace and social justice activists in eastern Ontario, and they talk with me about an action taking place on May 27 in Ottawa to protest CANSEC, Canada’s largest trade show for weapons systems and technologies of repression.

As today’s guests discuss, there’s hardly a community in Canada that doesn’t benefit from making some sort of product that goes into the weapons and technology that enable military, policing and national security state institutions around the world to kill, repress and afflict. Every year, Canada’s biggest gathering of vendors of these products and technologies with the institutions that purchase them — and use them from Baltimore to Bahrain; from Elsipogtog, New Brunswick, to occupied Palestine — is the CANSEC arms fair in Ottawa. And since back when it was called ArmEx in the late 1980s, every time this event has been held, ordinary people have gathered — sometimes in their dozens, sometimes in their thousands — to show their opposition to the event and to the oppressive violence it helps to propagate, and to show their solidarity with those who ultimately bear its consequences.

This year’s action against the trade show is called “Ten Hours Against Terrorism,” which will be a festive gathering outside the gates of the arms fair. The intent is for people to share poems and songs and art and street theatre, as well as moments of solemnity, as they celebrate life in repudiation of the facilitation of death being carried out within. We spoke about the long history of organizing against arms fairs in Ottawa, the reasons to oppose CANSEC, this year’s organizing and action, and ways for people across the country to act as well.

To learn more about the organizing and the May 27 action, click here.

Talking Radical Radio brings you grassroots voices from across Canada. We give you the chance to hear many different people that are facing many different struggles talk about what they do, why they do it, and how they do it, in the belief that such listening is a crucial step in strengthening all of our efforts to change the world. To learn more about the show in general, visit its website here. You can learn about suggesting topics for future shows here.

Talking Radical Radio is brought to you by Scott Neigh, a writer, media producer, and activist based in Sudbury, Ontario, and the author of two books examining Canadian history through the stories of activists.

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