rabble blogs are the personal pages of some of Canada's most insightful progressive activists and commentators. All opinions belong to the writer; however, writers are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new bloggers -- contact us for details.

Council of Canadians demand water not fighter jets

Please chip in to support rabble's election 2019 coverage. Support rabble.ca today for as little as $1 per month!

Yesterday, the Council of Canadians landed a large toy F-35 fighter jet on Parliament Hill to demand that the federal government completely back out of plans to purchase the fighter jets and invest needed funding in critical water services. In the Alternative Federal Budget, the Council of Canadians demands that the government uphold their legal obligation to the human right to water by investing $9.336 billion in water and wastewater infrastructure, drinking water on First Nation reserves, protecting the Great Lakes and addressing other gaps in water protection.

Council of Canadians staff contrasted the toy fighter jet with a glass of clean drinking water to send the message that people in Canada want ‘Water not F-35s.’

With the release of the federal budget just days away, people in Canada face significant funding cuts to critical public services and public service jobs. Meanwhile the federal government is still wavering on the purchase of fighter jets that could cost tax payers up to $16 billion. The original price tag for the fighter jets was an estimated $9 billion but the government has admitted they could cost up to $16 billion and there are other estimates that they could cost up to $30 billion.

Scrapping the F-35s would free up needed funding for Canada to fulfill its legal obligation on the human right to water. In 2010, the majority of countries around the world voted to pass a resolution at the UN Gen­eral Assembly recognizing the human right to water and sanitation. The UN Special Rapporteur on the human right to water has clearly stated that the right to water is entrenched in international law and is therefore legally binding on countries. The Human Rights Council recently passed a resolution calling on governments to ensure funding for affordable resources and to develop national plans of action. The water chapter in the Alternative Federal Budget provides a detailed plan on how the Harper Government can uphold the human right to water in Canada.

A Nanos poll commissioned by the Globe and CTV found that 68% of Canadians did not want the federal government to purchase the fighter jets at this time.

A recently leaked copy of Canada’s Auditor General review shows flaws in the procurement process. CBC obtained the statement of operational requirements which reveal that the F-35s do not meet one of the mandatory requirements.  CBC further reported that “Alan Williams, a former assistant deputy minister at the Department of National Defence and the official who signed the memorandum of understanding in 2002 that brought Canada into the Joint Strike Fighter program, said normal procedures weren't followed. ‘In 2006, the military and civilians recommended the F-35 to the minister and four years later, they developed their requirements, obviously rigged or wired to ensure that the only jet to meet the requirements would be the one that they recommended four years earlier,’ Williams said.”

For these reasons, the Harper government would do well to commit to calling of the purchase and listening to people in Canada on what they really want and need.

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.

rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.

Comments

We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:

Do

  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.

Don't

  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.