Defence spending indefensible

How much do 65 F-35 fighter planes cost? Prime Minister Harper: $9 billion; auditor general: $25 billion; parliamentary budget officer: $30 billion; KPMG: $45 billion. The new study by KPMG was requested by the Harper government after the auditor general last spring challenged the government over the real cost of the F-35 fighter planes.

How much do 65 F-35 fighter planes cost?

Prime Minister Harper: $9 billion; auditor general: $25 billion; parliamentary budget officer: $30 billion; KPMG: $45 billion.

The new study by KPMG was requested by the Harper government after the auditor general last spring challenged the government over the real cost of the F-35 fighter planes.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper is making promises to review the F-35 program — but he is not actually ruling out the F-35, or committing to having an open competition, or even asking Canadians what kind of role our military should be playing the world. The reset button announced by Defence Minister Peter McKay needs to cover more than looking for a fighter jet we can afford, it also needs to determine why or what we need it for.

In my view, Canadians do not want to be “a warrior nation,” eager to respond with military power when unrest and trouble breaks out. The Harper government is trying to glorify our military history by such activities as funding the celebration of our War of 1812 with the United States. Every war we enter is a sign that we have failed to settle issues dividing us by peaceful means and are resorting to the mentality that the people who have the most guns or fighter jets get to decide what happens.

Our armed forces have had costly experiences doing that.

Many Canadians believe their role should be redirected to maintaining and protecting our borders and while doing that, provide northern communities with the benefits of better communication and accessibility and infrastructure. Our Coast Guard should be given the resources to do their critical work on all our coasts.

The American/Canadian military-industrial complex is the source of great power and as long as we continue to seek military solutions to human conflicts, great profits will be made in the manufacture and sale of products whose sole purpose is to kill human beings.

The gravy train should end.

The billions we put as a planet into making weapons of war would be better used to find a way to support the needs of our world in transportation infrastructure, affordable housing, clean water, education and health care.

As Canadians, we honour those who gave their lives in our man-made wars to protect our liberty, but we would honour them more if we were leaders in the pursuit of finding peaceful solutions to the complex problems that exist within our world.

There is really no security in knowing that we now have the capacity to blow up our world several times over (surely once is enough).

Security comes when we are committed to peaceful solutions among our human community.

Canada can be a leader in the world without $45 billion worth of military power. It just depends on how we choose to lead.

Brenda Corney

Red Deer

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