Friday, July 16, 2010

$16 billion for military jets! in 2010! Is the government completely anaesthetized?

From The Globe and Mail, July 16, 2010
The (Canadian) government committed $9-billion to buy (the) 65 planes from Lockheed Martin, and the first aircraft is to be delivered by 2016, said a statement from the Defence Department.

But the overall cost is expected to soar to $16 billion when a 20-year maintenance contract is factored in.
The 65 new jets would replace the Air Force's aging fleet of CF-18s that recently underwent a $2.6-billion upgrade.
Mr. MacKay said those airframes will be 40 years old by the time they need another upgrade in 2020 and it made more sense to invest in new aircraft.
“We need to ensure our fighter-aircraft fleet remains the best in the world to meet the threats of the 21st century,” Mr. MacKay told a splashy news conference featuring a mock-up of the jet as a backdrop.
No, Mr, MacKay, we do not need to ensure our fighter aircraft remains the best in the world to meet the threats of the 21st century! In fact, if you read the intelligence on the success of the Chinese government at raiding the pentagon computers, hundreds of times each day, and you realized that the military "hardware" is not "the future" but a holdover from the past, catering to the ego's of people like you who serve as Minister of Defence, and all the military brass that love hardware and hard power, you would not only not tender this purchase, you would abandon it altogether.
Canada does not need, nor will it need $16 billion invested in new fighter jets. Have you not heard that the Cold War is over, that the next war will be of a cyber variety, and fighter jets will not play a significant part. This is not the Canada the world needs more of...that Canada is the one that takes the lead in slowing the purchase and development of military materiel.
You and the Canadian government have just made the U.S. government very happy, and all Lockheed-Martin employees very rich with this announcement; but it is a backward step, not only in terms of the speed of the new technology, but also in terms of the options this money could be used for, like fighting child poverty in this country and around the world, like improving literacy across our country, like enhancing the arts initiatives across the land, and like enhancing our foreign aid contribution, to at least the 0.7% target that Lester Pearson set some five decades ago. We have still not lived up to that! It is time, and with the money not spent on this ego trip, Canada could enhance our international reputation significantly... a goal a little more important that massaging the ego's of you and your compatriots.
Is there hope that opposition parties will force either the cancellation of this contract, or an election on this issue? Surely the largest military purchase in Canadian history is worth a public debate.
Shame on the Harper government once again!

No comments:

Post a Comment