Across Canada, the U.S. and around the world, peace activists are taking action January 13 – 22 to demand an end to imperialist wars, occupations, sanctions and military interventions. This call to action was initiated by the United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC) in the U.S., marking Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day and remembering his words from April 4, 1967 which still ring true today, “The greatest purveyor of violence in the world: My own Government, I can not be Silent.” This week of action is supported by the Canada-Wide Peace and Justice Network, a network of 45 peace groups across Canada.
No New Fighter Jets!
An urgent demand for antiwar activists in Canada is No New Fighter Jets! On January 9, 2023 Canada’s Defense Minister Anita Anand announced that Canada will buy 88 F-35 fighter jets costing Canadian taxpayers $19 billion, with $7 billion approved for the first 16. Even these exorbitant prices are not the full story – the lifecycle cost of the 88 fighter jets is estimated to be at least $76.8 billion over 30 years, according to the No Fighter Jets coalition 2020 report, From Acquisition to Disposal: Uncovering the true cost of 88 new fighter jets. This fighter jets purchase is part of a massively expanding military budget. Military spending increased by 70% since 2014, and in 2022 Minister Anand announced that military spending will increase again by 70% in the next five years. Just in 2021, the government of Canada spent $33 billion on the military. This is money that is desperately needed for affordable healthcare, education, jobs and climate solutions. Furthermore, these fighter jets are fossil fuel intensive, using 1,340 gallons of fuel per hour, more than twice the average of what a standard car uses in one year!
This deadly, expensive and environmentally harmful fighter jet is designed for offensive strike first attacks and to carry B61-12 tactical nuclear weapons. This highlights the fact that the government of Canada has refused to sign the United Nations Treaty to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) despite demands from antiwar and peace activists. The TPNW requires that signatories “never under any circumstances… develop, test, produce, manufacture, otherwise acquire, possess or stockpile nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.”
The fighter jets purchase is being protested across Canada, during the January 13-22 week of action and also recently with the No Fighter Jets Coalition weekend of action from January 6-8 which had 13 actions across Canada demanding “No New Fighter Jets” and “Drop the F35 Deal!” The Canada-Wide Peace and Justice Network also encourages people in Canada to sign the parliamentary petition against the fighter jets purchase at https://petitions.ourcommons.ca/en/Petition/Details?Petition=e-4217
Stop arming Saudi Arabia!
Besides buying weapons of war, Canada is also producing and selling them. Today, the United Nations deems Yemen the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, after almost eight years of Saudi-led, U.S. backed and Canadian-armed war. This war has killed over a quarter of a million people, and has displaced an additional four million people. The Saudi-led coalition has bombed Yemeni markets, hospitals, and civilians, and yet Canada has exported over $8 billion in arms to Saudi Arabia since 2015, the year the Saudi-led military intervention in Yemen began. The Trudeau Government continues to profit from its controversial $15 billion arms deal for armoured vehicles–killing machines which have been used against people in Yemen and in Saudi Arabia.
The Canada-Wide Peace and Justice Network calls for an end to the Saudi-led war on Yemen and demands that Canada Stop Arming Saudi Arabia!
Canada, US and UN Hands off Haiti!
Canada’s military exports have also reached Haiti. In October 2022 Canadian and U.S. warplanes delivered armoured vehicles and weapons to Haiti, in the midst of widespread protests for access to food, fuel, and basic necessities and against the country’s imperialist backed government. More recently on January 11, 2023 Canada made a second delivery of armoured vehicles to Haiti’s police. While the government of Canada is arming the illegitimate and unelected Prime Minister of Haiti, Ariel Henry, they are also keeping the option to occupy Haiti on the table. In October 2022 the U.S. drafted a United Nations Security Council resolution for the “deployment of a rapid action force to Haiti immediately”. This is a very dangerous move by Canada, the U.S., and their allies and will have devastating results for the people of Haiti.
The Canada-Wide Peace and Justice Network stands against Canada sending weapons to Haiti and demands No New Occupation of Haiti!
Canada Out of NATO!
The Canada-Wide Peace and Justice Network opposes the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), a U.S.- led military alliance of 30 countries, which undermines global peace and human security and is responsible for the deadly and destructive interventions in the former Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Libya. For years, NATO has been provoking conflict with Russia. NATO’s expansion to Russia’s border and its training and arming of Ukrainian security forces have contributed to growing tensions and war in the region. NATO’s demand that allies buy new interoperable weapons is leading to a costly arms race. Carbon-intensive weapons systems like fighter jets, tanks, drones, and warships are exacerbating the climate crisis. Canada is complicit in U.S. wars and is pursuing an imperialist agenda.
The Canada-Wide Peace and Justice Network demands that Canada adopt an independent foreign policy free of all military alliances, including NATO.
No to imperialist wars
For over 30 years, we have witnessed the acceleration of brutal imperial wars by the U.S. and their allies, including Canada, against the former Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Haiti, and other countries. These wars have killed millions, turned tens of millions into refugees, laid waste to infrastructure, impoverished citizens through sanctions, and overthrown governments. With the full support of the governments of the U.S. and Canada, the Zionist Israeli regime has continued to occupy Palestine, brutally kill and imprison Palestinian people, including children and journalists, demolish Palestinian homes and routinely bomb Gaza. When fleeing homelands that have become war zones, refugees are subjected to harrowing and dangerous journeys and met with racism and discrimination in the very countries responsible for the destruction of the refugees’ original homes.
The Canada-Wide Peace and Justice Network says NO to imperialist wars, occupations, economic sanctions, and military interventions, and YES to self-determination!
The Canada-Wide Peace and Justice Network supports the United National Antiwar Coalition’s week of action, and encourages peace loving people across Canada to join demonstrations and activities for the Week of Action January 13 – 22.
To view actions in the U.S. and around the world visit https://unac.notowar.net/martin-luther-king-jr-week-of-actions/
Together, let’s end imperialist wars and build a loving and peaceful world!
A Canada-Wide Peace and Justice Network Statement . Originally printed: January
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