No to $16 billion expenditure on fighter jets

To Prime Minister Stephen Harper: 
I sent the following letter to the Globe and Mail in response to the news that your government is planning to spend up to $16 billion to purchase 65 new fighter jets. While some of my arguments are contained in the letter, I wish to re-iterate that as a Canadian citizen, I strongly abhor this expenditure. At a time of spending restraint and deficit reduction that your government has embarked on, this is the wrong time for such an expenditure. I know that your ministers will soon be rolling out budget cuts to social and health programs very much needed by Canadians. You cannot make this kind of useless (as pointed out in my letter) expenditure at the same time. I want any government spending to benefit Canadians and this one does not. There are so many needs. Where is the federal spending to rapidly implement sustainable public transportation within and between our cities? Where is a federal housing policy that guarantees every citizen a roof over their heads and enough money for both food and rent? Where is the federal plan to mitigate the dire effects of climate change as more of Canada’s and the world’s citizens suffer the effects of droughts, flooding, the inability to plant crops and the loss of fresh water. Where is the federal spending on renewable energy resources so that we can stop poisoning our air and water with fossil fuel wastes? Why is Canada not living up to its responsibility to give at least 0.7 % of GDP to foreign aid? The fighter expenditure on useless but expensive toys means Canadians and our neighbours will do without what they really need. As far as our sovereignty is concerned I don’t want to be part of a country that goes around threatening others. I want a country that acts as a good neighbour and offers support to U.N. peacekeeping. Canada’s sovereignty will be respected far more by being a good neighbour than having a few pilots flying around threatening others.   
 I want to appeal to your spiritual side. Hebrews 11:10 speaks of Abraham as he was looking for the home God had promised to him. The writer says, “For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.” Please let us build a Canada with a solid foundation that cares for its people and its neighbours. The expenditure of $16 billion on fighter jets does neither of these. 
Sincerely, Murray D. Lumley, Toronto, ON 

Re: “Ottawa’s $9-billion fighter-jet purchase draws fire” and Editorial: “Fighters: the price of sovereignty”, Globe and Mail, Saturday, July 17, 

 Dear Editor:  The topic of the sermon at my church this morning (Sunday) was ‘Re-building the City’s Walls’, about the reconstruction of Jerusalem and the Temple by the remnant of Israel at the end of the Babylonian and Persian captivity. The speaker, who runs a city ministry for children, said that our ‘city’s’ (meaning civilization) foundations are broken. His prime example was the recent spending of $1 billion by Canada so that twenty world leaders could talk about world poverty for a day. The speaker felt this spending was a kind of oxymoron because despite all the government promises to end child poverty in Canada, one in three or four Canadian children still live in poverty. The announcement last week of the proposed spending of up to $16 billion of Canadian citizens’ tax money for 65 new jet fighters just adds to the sense that the foundations of our civilization are broken and need repair. This expenditure represents about $2,000 for every family of four in the country, including those living in poverty – and the money goes to arms manufacturers who don’t need it. I thought that our present federal government was guided by Judeo-Christian principles. Yet these fighter jets, if purchased have no function whatsoever except to threaten some unknown enemy. They cannot be used for search and rescue along our three ocean coasts; they cannot carry supplies to northern communities whose only connections will soon be by air only, given the melting of the frozen roads due to climate change; they cannot feed or house one child! To my knowledge the Canadian government has neither made plans nor allocated any money for the real immediate threat to Canadian security represented by the melting arctic.  I ask that Prime Minister Harper and Defence Minister Peter MacKay rethink this awful expenditure and cancel the purchase of these fighters. Please re-examine Canada’s priorities and set them right.  

I offer this quote from a past warrior: “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.”
Dwight D. Eisenhower   



About Murray Lumley

Board member of Conscience Canada; Christian Peacemaker Teams Reservist; retired teacher; grandfather
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