Last month we raised several concerns regarding Canada’s military engagement in Libya. We wrote to the various political parties in Canada and specifically asked the Department of National Defence and Foreign Affairs about the 2500 rifles sent to Afghanistan in 2007. These were apparently returned to Canadian hands in early 2011 and we questioned if they were delivered to the Libyan rebel forces for use against General Kaddafi forces. It appeared to us to be in line with Canada’s support for the rebel forces and the timing was correct as the rebels had little to no arms and then in July they were fully armed with a seemingly unlimited supply of ammunition. After three emails to DND and various other emails we simply wrote the story and informed our readers of the lack of response by DND.Read our original story here
On September 19, 2011, a full month after our final email, August 19, 2011, we received a reply direct from the Minister of Defence, Peter MacKay. We appreciate his full and complete response and publish here in its entirety.Dear Mr. Ritchie:
Thank you for your email concerning the recovery of the Canadian C7 rifles, which were donated to the Afghan National Army (ANA).
In 2007 Canada donated 2,500 used C7 rifles, which had been identified for disposal, as part of its plan to train the Afghan army with small arms. Canadian serial numbers and other markings were removed from the weapons, and they were re-serialized as ANA rifles before shipment to Afghanistan.
Soon after, a larger plan was developed by NATO to eliminate the problem of supplying a wide variety of small arms, parts, and ammunition from various NATO contributors (including the C7) for the NATO Training Mission in Afghanistan. The ANA would be equipped with M16 rifles provided by the United States. By February 2009, only 950 of the donated C7 rifles had been issued to Afghan soldiers. The remaining 1,550 rifles never left the custody of the Canadian Forces. Since the C7 rifles were no longer required, they were retrieved and returned to Canada where they were accounted for through 25 Canadian Forces Supply Depot (25 CFSD), Montreal.
As of June 29, 2011, of the 2,500 rifles, eight were lost during various improvised explosive detonation strikes in Afghanistan, 15 were quarantined by Colt Canada in Kitchener, Ontario, for training, and the other 2,477 were officially disposed of by smelting, crushing, or shredding in Canada at the ArcelorMittal facilities under the supervision of 25 CFSD and in accordance with Government of Canada commitments to prevent proliferation of military arms and munitions into the international black market.
I trust this information is of assistance, and thank you again for writing.
Minister of National Defence