Just Say No to F-35 Fighter Jets by Corinne Benson, Chair of the Edmonton Chapter’s NATO/Foreign Policy Working Group. For more information, or, if you’d like to join this Working Group, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
At the 2021 Council of Canadians National Annual Membership Meeting the membership voted for a policy resolution for the withdrawal of Canada from NATO. It has been estimated that 90% of Canada’s Military effort has gone to NATO and with that expenditure we create a lot of greenhouse gases on top of the expense and war. NATO member nations spend one trillion annually on their militaries which is more than 50% of global military spending. One estimate calculates the total cost of shifting our electricity to 100% renewable energy over 10 years at 4.5 trillion. That is still less than the 6 trillion that we’ve spent on almost two decades of endless wars waged since 9/11. The questions that needs to be asked is shouldn’t we spend less on the military and more on climate change and a number of other things that we need? With a new minority government in Ottawa that has three major parties that support the purchase of 88 new F35 fighter jets we need to examine the insanity of such an expenditure. In the past twenty years our CF18s have conducted thousands of airstrikes in Serbia, Libya, Syria and Iraq killing innocent people and destroying civilian infrastructure. Have these strikes and the pressure to purchase more killing machines come from our NATO allies as well as the business that makes so much money on the sale of weaponry?
Whatever the source of the politics behind this expenditure it needs to be opposed. The ticket price for the fighter jets in question is 19 billion dollars and the estimated price for their life cycle is 77 billion. This is the second most expensive federal procurement in Canadian history. We can use that same money for so many things that we need now: a just transition to a green economy, housing, social workers, teachers, health care , health care workers and child care. This list could go on. It raises a question that always bothers me that if you cannot provide these things for your own people what are you fighting for especially when you are only destroying lives and infrastructure elsewhere. Some equivalences have been made. 19 billion can buy 135,000 housing units or 950,000 jobs in the public transit sector. One hour of operation for an F 35 jet can pay for the annual salary of a nurse, teacher or social worker.
As well new fighter jets will exacerbate the climate crises as they consume excessive specialized fossil fuel. The Department of National Defence has no plan to offset these military emissions, The development and use of these weapons will have catastrophic environmental consequences as carbon and toxic chemicals emissions of one long range flight exceed the typical automobile’s annual emission and because of their altitude will have a net warming effect for centuries. These fighter jets will in no way help us with the climate emergency that we are presently in because they can’t put out forest fires or rescue people. They are an aggressive attack system and have no function in self defence. Their sole purpose is to carry bombs and missiles and they are designed to be nuclear capable. We cannot bomb our way out of climate change. Sources: The main source for this article was: “Why Canada Should Leave NATIO”, a webinar sponsored by The Canadian Foreign Policy Institute, Voice of Women, World Beyond War and the Regina Peace Council. See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OmLz3gPBuYg
…For more information about the Edmonton Chapter-Council of Canadians and current Working Groups, see: https://edmontoncouncilofcanadians.ca/working-groups-and-projects/