By Cymry Gomery of Montreal for a World BEYOND War, November 26, 2021
On November 25th 2021, a group of activists gathered in front of Steven Guilbeault’s office on de Maisonneuve Est in Montréal, armed with signs and an ardent desire to save the world… from Canada.
You see, the Trudeau government is planning to buy 88 new fighter jets, to replace the Canadian Forces’ aging fleet (and for other reasons… more about that later). The government received three bids: Lockheed Martin’s F-35 stealth fighter, Boeing’s Super Hornet (since rejected), and SAAB’s Gripen. Early in 2022, the government expects to choose the successful bid and award the contract… which would be disastrous for the planet, especially for its most voracious denizens, the human species.
Now, you might ask, ‘But the world is going to proverbial hell in a handbasket, with climate change and all that, so why would our government choose this moment to hasten the process by purchasing military bombers that will kill civilians and spew CO2 and other GHG emissions and pollutants equal to 1900 cars per fighter jet, (multiplied by 88 fighter jets)?
The short answer is: Military-industrial complex, Imperialism, capitalism, failure to evolve.
The longer answer is: Canada joined a military partnership of nuclear-armed nations that embody toxic masculinity, ironically named the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and to remain in this “elite” country club, Canada must pay its dues, which means spending 2% of its gross domestic product (GDP) on “defense” … hence these $77 billion (long term) flying machines, with alluring capabilities like murdering civilians and releasing persistent toxins released when they crash (which happens often).
If you weren’t already sold on this idea… wait, there’s more! These fighter jets are incredibly noisy, so the good folks living near the Canadian Forces bases in Cold Lake Alberta (Dene Su’lene’ lands) and Bagotville Québec are in for a rollicking, roaring, noisy future of whining engines and toxic fumes. There has even been a film made about this particular feature.
Seriously, though, there is no right way to do the wrong thing. Whatever jet the government chooses will be a bad choice for our children, for the natural world, for civilians in non-NATO countries, for those who are hoping for humanity to survive the climate crisis. Fighter jets are for climate losers. Smarten up, Canada.