Title: CANSEC 2008 turns out to be a major success

Sub-title: Defence industry conference draws high level participants, visitors and presenters from Canada and around the world


This year’s version of CANSEC was once again a big hit organizers say. Despite some security concerns, more than 7,000 people attended the two-day event, put on by the Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries on behalf of its 640 member firms and various other sector stakeholders.


“CANSEC is a showcase of the industrial capabilities available to the Canadian government to secure the safety of Canadians at home and to promote our values abroad,” said Tim Page, CADSI’s president. “It’s also big business. Canadian industry serves a vital role in support of national security.” Page isn’t kidding. Defence industries now employ close to 70,000 Canadians and generate more than $10 billion in economic activity.


A quick survey of CANSEC exhibitors indicated that not only was traffic heavy at the event, but the quality of the visitors was also high. “There are many interested buyers combing the floors, so we get to meet pretty much everyone all at once,” said Angelo Nitsopoulos, of ENSIL Canada, a technology specialist in the research, development and manufacture of major military subsystems. “If we had to visit all of those people individually it would take forever.”


Gabe Batstone, vice-president (business development and sales) at NGRAIN agreed. “We were recently awarded a one year contract, with four option years, to supply interactive 3D equipment solutions to the Department of National Defence,” said Batstone. “We knew that if we waited until the CANSEC event to make the announcement, it would generate a far bigger impact than if we just put the news release out on the Internet.”


NGRAIN wasn’t the only company to take advantage of the increased visibility provided by CANSEC to announce a contract win. As did many other exhibitors, Presagis, also took advantage of the opportunity. The company was recently selected by General Dynamics Canada, to assist in the training and testing component of the Aurora modernization project.


One of the show’s most anticipated events was a keynote speech by Defence Minister Peter McKay. Recent Canadian government initiatives have boosted projected spending on the Canadian Armed Forces by close to $12 billion over the next 20 years. Attendees were waiting with baited breath for more details on whether this would result in more opportunities for them. The government is thought to be working on a document to be tentatively titled the Canada First Defence Strategy. Many CANSEC participants were hoping (as it turns out in vain) that more details would be released at the show. 


Despite the success of this year’s event, next year, CANSEC will need to temporarily abandon its Ottawa Congress Center locale. The building is scheduled to be rebuilt and expanded between September 2008 and April 2011. CADSI is currently in negotiations with Landsdown Park to secure space for the 2009 event which is slated to open on May 25th of that year.



Peter Diekmeyer is Canadian Defence Review’s Quebec correspondent






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