Dear Ceasefire.ca supporter,
Last month the Harper government announced $35 billion in military spending – this time for an entire fleet of warships (and a handful of Coast Guard vessels).
I was happy to be invited to respond to the announcement on the highly watched Lang and O’Leary Exchange on CBC television. I hope you’ll take a moment to watch it, and let me know what you think.
People in areas of high unemployment, such as Nova Scotia, understandably
celebrated the possibility of new jobs building the warships. As you may know,
I am from the Maritimes myself, and appreciate how dependent the economy is on
military spending. I also understand how that dependence has been harmful
to the regional economy.
But a larger and more important question went largely unasked. Should Canada
even build such a large naval armada?
Sadly, many opposition MPs missed the opportunity to ask the Harper
Conservatives questions about the likelihood of gross mismanagement of yet
another military program, the diversion of more federal dollars needed for
investments in health care and the environment, or the lack of guarantees that
the money will be used for jobs in Canada instead of buying weapons from U.S.
weapons corporations like Lockheed Martin (one estimate already suggests around
80% of the money will go to foreign-built weapon systems).
As the Rideau Institute’s report on the “The Cost of 9/11” showed, the amount
of additional money spent on national security over the last decade is
enormous. That $92 billion spent on the military, spies and border apparatus
could have paid for a new rapid transit system for each of our ten largest
cities, a new affordable national daycare program, or free prescription drugs
for every Canadian.
I hope you’ll agree that our role as peace advocates must be to ensure that our
public dollars are used wisely, focusing on providing for people and building
the economy in a positive, sustainable way – not building arms and lining the
pockets of defence lobbyists at Lockheed Martin.
This year we will be concentrating our efforts on opposing the growing National
Security Establishment: that web of politicians, lobby groups, old generals and
corporations that are robbing the treasury of public dollars for themselves and
their own special interests.
In the coming days I’ll be letting you know how the pro-war lobby is funded by
the military, and how their influence reaches deep into the best-known news
organizations in Canada.
Here’s how you can stay well informed.
Thank you for everything you do for peace,
Steven Staples, Ceasefire.ca