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Resolution adopted by the Central Committee, Communist Party of Canada, April 14‑15, 2012
Demands are growing for the resignation of Defense Minister Peter MacKay and Prime Minister Harper, in the wake of the Auditor‑General’s report that the purchase of sixty‑five F‑35 fighter‑bombers would cost taxpayers at least $10 billion more than the Conservative government ever admitted. But while corruption and lies are among the defining features of the Harper Tory regime, this scandal raises far deeper issues. Far more significant questions concern the true nature of Canada’s role in the global imperialist drive for markets, resources, and corporate profits, and the choice between military spending versus urgent social needs.
As the Communist Party and the anti‑war movements have warned for several years, the Harper government and the top military brass have repeatedly lied to Canadians about the F‑35s. The calls for MacKay’s resignation are welcome, but the real responsibility for this $10 billion whopper lies squarely with Stephen Harper, who runs his government with an iron fist.
Fundamentally, however, the F‑35 scandal is not about a flawed procurement process, or finding the “most suitable” jet, or “defending” Canada. The real problem is the concept that Canada needs to spend tens of billions to purchase new fleets of aircraft and warships, even though there is simply no military threat to this country. Nor are 21st century fighter jets like the F‑35 suitable for use as “patrol planes” with search‑and‑rescue capabilities ‑ they are killing machines with massive arsenals of bombs, rockets, and bullets, and alarmingly, with the capability to carry nuclear weapons payloads. They are a key part of the imperialist strategy for global corporate control of raw materials such as hydrocarbon resources, and for NATO’s tactics of “regime change”, under the “responsibility to protect” doctrine.
Another lame justification for the F‑35 and warship procurements has been the argument that these programs are necessary to boost research and development spending in Canada, allegedly to create high‑tech jobs. But the reality is that the government’s “Canada First” plan to spend $500 billion on military purchases over the next two decades will create far fewer jobs than investments in clean water for Aboriginal communities, social housing, public transit, a Canada‑wide childcare program, universal pharmacare and other improvements in the Medicare system, or many other urgent social and economic priorities. In short, the fighter‑bomber program and other military purchases will come with an enormous human and environmental cost to Canadians, while serving no purpose other than to fuel the insanely expensive and dangerous global arms race.
With the exception of Green Party leader Elizabeth May, no party in the current Parliament has taken a principled stand against the F‑35s, or more broadly in opposition to the “Canada First” military expansion strategy. During the F‑35 debate, Thomas Mulcair’s NDP, which claims to be a party of peace, has failed to reject the drive to make Canada an integral part of the U.S. war machine, preferring to join in the chatter about improved military procurement processes.
The Communist Party of Canada urges the labour and democratic movements to address the real issues arising from the F‑35 scandal. Tell all the parties in Parliament: No to any purchases of fighter‑bombers and warships! Slash military spending by 75%, in favour of investments in peaceful priorities for Canada!