No New Fighter Jets for Canada

By Canadian Foreign Policy Institute, July 15, 2021.

World BEYOND War staff were proud to join 100 activists, authors, academics, artists and celebrities in signing onto the following open letter, which was also published in The Tyee and covered in the Ottawa Citizen. You can sign onto it here and learn more about the No Fighter Jets campaign here.

Dear Prime Minister Justin Trudeau,

As wildfires blaze in western Canada amidst record breaking heat waves, the Liberal government is planning to spend tens of billions of dollars on unnecessary, dangerous, climate destroying fighter jets.

The government is currently moving forward with the competition to procure 88 warplanes, which includes Lockheed Martin’s F-35 stealth fighter, SAAB’s Gripen and Boeing’s Super Hornet. Despite previously promising to cancel the F-35 purchase, the Trudeau government is laying the ground to acquire the stealth fighter.

Officially the cost of buying the jets is about $19 billion. But, a report from the No New Fighter Jets Coalition suggests the full life cycle cost of the planes will be closer to $77 billion. Those resources could be used to eliminate boil water advisories on reserves, build light rail lines across the country and construct thousands of units of social housing. $77 billion could turbocharge a just transition away from fossil fuels and a just recovery from the pandemic.

Conversely, purchasing new jets will entrench fossil-fuel militarism. Fighter jets consume huge amounts of specialized fuel that emit significant greenhouse gases. Purchasing a large number of warplanes to use in coming decades is at odds with Canada’s commitment to rapidly decarbonize by 2050. With the country experiencing the highest temperatures in history, the time for climate action is now.

While exacerbating the climate crisis, fighter jets are not needed to protect our security. As a former deputy minister of national defence Charles Nixon noted, there are no credible threats requiring the acquisition of new “Gen-5” fighter jets. The expensive weapons are largely useless in responding to natural disasters, providing international humanitarian relief or in peacekeeping operations. Nor can they protect us from a pandemic or the climate and other ecological crises.

Rather, these offensive weapons are likely to generate distrust and division. Instead of resolving international conflicts through diplomacy, fighter jets are designed to destroy infrastructure and kill people. Canada’s current fleet of fighter jets has bombed Libya, Iraq, Serbia and Syria. Many innocent people were killed directly or as a result of the destruction of civilian infrastructure and those operations prolonged conflicts and/or contributed to refugee crises.

The procurement of cutting-edge fighter jets is designed to enhance the Royal Canadian Air Force’s ability to join U.S. and NATO operations. Spending $77 billion on warplanes only makes sense based on a vision of Canadian foreign policy that includes fighting in future U.S. and NATO wars.

Polls show the public is decidedly ambivalent about warplanes. An October 2020 Nanos poll revealed that bombing campaigns are an unpopular use of the military and supporting NATO and ally-led missions is a low priority. The majority of Canadians said that peacekeeping and disaster relief was a priority, not preparing for war.

Instead of purchasing 88 new fighter jets, let’s use these resources for healthcare, education, housing and clean water.

At a time of health, social and climate crises, the Canadian government must prioritize a just recovery, green infrastructure and invest in Indigenous communities.


Neil Young, Musician

David Suzuki, Geneticist and Broadcaster

Elizabeth May, Member of Parliament

Naomi Klein, Author and Activist

Stephen Lewis, Former UN ambassador

Noam Chomsky, Author & Professor

Roger Waters, co-founder Pink Floyd

Daryl Hannah, Actor

Tegan and Sara, Musicians

Sarah Harmer, Musician

Paul Manly, Member of Parliament

Joel Harden, MPP, Legislative Assembly of Ontario

Marilou McPhedran, Senator

Michael Ondaatje, Author

Yann Martel, Author (Man Booker Prize-winner)

Roméo Saganash, Former Member of Parliament

Fred Hahn, President CUPE Ontario

Dave Bleakney, Vice President, Canadian Union of Postal Workers

Stephen von Sychowski, President, Vancouver District Labour Council

Svend Robinson, Former Member of Parliament

Libby Davies, Former Member of Parliament

Jim Manly, Former Member of Parliament

Gabor Maté, Author

Setsuko Thurlow, co-recipient of the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of ICAN and recipient of the Order of Canada

Monia Mazigh, Ph.D, author and activist

Chris Hedges, Author & Journalist

Judy Rebick, Author and Activist

Jeremy Loveday, Victoria City Councillor

Paul Jay, Executive Producer & Host of The Analysis

Ingrid Waldron, Professor & HOPE Chair in Peace & Health, Global Peace & Social Justice Program, Mcmaster University

El Jones, Department of Political and Canadian Studies, Mount Saint Vincent University

Seth Klein, Author and Team Lead of the Climate Emergency Unit

Ray Acheson, Disarmament Program Director, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom

Tim McCaskell, Founder AIDS Action Now!

Rinaldo Walcott, Professor, Toronto

Dimitri Lascaris, Lawyer, Journalist and Activist

Gretchen Fitzgerald, National and Atlantic Chapter Director, Sierra Club

John Greyson, video/film artist

Brent Patterson, Director, Peace Brigades International-Canada

Aaron Maté, Journalist

Amy Miller, Filmmaker

Tamara Lorincz, PhD candidate, Balsillie School of International Affairs

John Clarke, Packer Visitor in Social Justice, York University

Clayton Thomas-Muller, Senior Campaign Specialist –

Gordon Laxer, Author and Professor emeritus at University of Alberta

Rabbi David Mivasair, Independent Jewish Voices

Gail Bowen, Author & retired Associate Professor, First Nations University of Canada, Saskatchewan Order of Merit

Eva Manly, Filmmaker

Lil MacPherson, Climate change food activist, founder and co-owner the Wooden Monkey Restaurant

Radhika Desai, Professor, Department of Political Studies, University of Manitoba

Justin Podur, Associate Professor, York University

Yves Engler, Author

Derrick O’Keefe, Writer & Activist

Dr. Susan O’Donnell, Researcher and Adjunct Professor, University of New Brunswick

Robert Acheson, Treasurer, Science for Peace

Miguel Figueroa, President, Canadian Peace Congress

Syed Hussan, Migrant Workers Alliance

Michael Bueckert, PhD, Vice President, Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME)

David Walsh, Businessman

Judith Deutsch, Former President Science for Peace & Faculty Toronto Psychoanalytic Institute

Gordon Edwards, PhD, President, Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility

Richard Sandbrook, President Science for Peace

Karen Rodman, Executive Director of Just Peace Advocates

Ed Lehman, President, Regina Peace Council

Richard Sanders, Founder, Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade

Rachel Small, Canada Organizer, World BEYOND War

Vanessa Lanteigne, National Coordinator of the Canadian Voice of Women for Peace

Allison Pytlak, Disarmament Programme Manager, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom

Bianca Mugyenyi, Director, Canadian Foreign Policy Institute

Simon Black, Assistant Professor, Department of Labour Studies, Brock University

John Price, Professor emeritus (History), University of Victoria

David Heap, Ph.D. Associate Professor & Human Rights advocate

Máire Noonan, Linguist, Université de Montréal

Antoine Bustros, Composer

Pierre Jasmin, Les Artistes pour la Paix

Barry Weisleder, Federal Secretary, Socialist Action / Ligue pour l’Action socialiste

Dr. Mary-Wynne Ashford Past Co-President International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War

Dr. Nancy Covington, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War

Angela Bischoff, Greenspiration

Raul Burbano, Common Frontiers

Dr Jonathan Down, President IPPNW Canada

Dru Jay, Executive Director, CUTV

Martin Lukacs, Journalist and Author

Nik Barry Shaw, Author

Tracy Glynn, Assistant Professor, St. Thomas University

Florence Stratton, Professor Emeritus, University of Regina

Randa Farah, Associate Professor, Western University

Johanna Weststar, Associate Professor, Western University

Bernie Koenig, Author & Philosophy Professor (retired)

Alison Bodine, Chair, Mobilization Against War and Occupation (MAWO) – Vancouver

Mary Groh, Former President of Conscience Canada

Nino Pagliccia, activist and political analyst

Courtney Kirkby, Founder, Tiger Lotus Cooperative

Dr. Dwyer Sullivan, Conscience Canada

John Foster, Author, Oil and World Politics

Ken Stone, Treasurer, Hamilton Coalition to Stop the War

Cory Greenlees, Victoria Peace Coalition

Maria Worton, Teacher

Tim O’Connor, High School Social Justice teacher

Glenn Michalchuk, Chair Peace Alliance Winnipeg

Matthew Legge, Peace Program Coordinator, Canadian Friends Service Committee (Quakers)

Freda Knott, Activist

Jamie Kneen, Researcher and Activist

Phyllis Creighton, Activist

Charlotte Akin, Canadian Voice of Women for Peace Board Member

Murray Lumley, No New Fighter Jets Coalition & Christian Peacemaker Teams

Lia Holla, Executive Coordinator of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War Canada, Founder of Students for Peace & Disarmament

Dr. Brendan Martin, World Beyond War Vancouver, Activist

Anna Badillo, People for Peace, London

Tim McSorley, National Coordinator, International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group

Dr. W. Thom Workman, Professor & Director of International Development Studies, University of New Brunswick

Dr. Erika Simpson, Associate Professor, Western University, President of Canadian Peace Research Association

Stephen D’Arcy, Associate Professor, Philosophy, Huron University College

David Webster, Associate Professor, Bishop’s University

Eric Shragge, Immigrant Workers Centre, Montreal & retired Associate Professor, Concordia University

Judy Haiven, PhD, Writer & Activist, Retired Professor, Saint Mary’s University

Dr. W. G. Pearson, Associate Professor, Chair, Department of Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies, University of Western Ontario

Dr. Chamindra Weerawardhana, Political analyst & Author

Dr. John Guilfoyle, Former Chief Medical Officer of Health for Manitoba, MB BCh BAO BA FCFP

Dr. Lee-Anne Broadhead, Professor of Political Science, Cape Breton University

Dr. Sean Howard, Adjunct Professor of Political Science, Cape Breton University

Dr. Saul Arbess, Cofounder of the Global Alliance for Ministries of Peace and the Canadian Peace Initiative

Tim K. Takaro, MD, MPH, MS. Professor, Simon Fraser University

Stephen Kimber, Author and Professor, University of King’s College

Peter Rosenthal, retired lawyer and Professor Emeritus at the University of Toronto

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