Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries

Representing 800 members, the Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries is the arms industry’s main lobby group. CADSI claimed they did $12.6 billion in business in 2011. CADSI organizes the annual CANSEC arms fair in Ottawa with delegates from around the world. CADSI has sent trade missions abroad, including to monarchies in Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

In 2014 CADSI president Tim Page told the press that arms control measures should be relaxed and celebrated a $15 billion Light Armoured Vehicle sale to Saudi Arabia as a “good day for Canada.” While they backed controversial arms deals and loosened restrictions on weapons sales, CADSI also promoted a “scary” worldview. “Social media powerful tool for terrorists, expert warns panel discussion on counter-terrorism at CADSI conference,” noted a 2015 Ottawa Citizen headline. The article quoted former director of counter-terrorism for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, Ray Boisvert, predicting decades of politically motivated religious violence empowered by technology.

CADSI receives government backing. A trade commissioner is embedded with CADSI and in 2011 it received a $149,000 grant under the government’s Global Opportunities for Associations program. CADSI also benefited from direct political support. In December 2011 senior representatives from DND, the Canadian Forces, Foreign Affairs and the Canadian Commercial Corporation participated in a CADSI trade mission to Kuwait. According to the official press release, they “discussed with Kuwaiti government and military leaders how Canadian and Kuwaiti businesses in the defence and security sector can work together effectively in Kuwait and more generally in the Gulf.” CADSI president Tim Page applauded what he described as the Conservatives “whole of government effort” with the Kuwaiti monarchy. “We believe this is a good example of how defence spending in Canada can be leveraged to achieve international business success. We hope this will be the start of similar initiatives that bring Canada’s defence and security industries together with the Canadian government and military in markets of strategic interest to Canada.” CADSI’s costs for the mission were partly covered by the Global Opportunities for Associations program.