Three transnational corporations to submit bids to Canada for $19 billion fighter jet contract by July 31

Published by Brent Patterson on

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The deadline for three transnationals – Lockheed Martin, Saab and Boeing – to submit their bids for a $19 billion fighter jet contract with the Canadian government is fast approaching. These companies have until July 31 to submit their proposals.

The Government of Canada’s Future Fighter Capability Project webpage notes: “The FFCP is acquiring 88 advanced jets, associated equipment and weapons, with set-up of training and sustainment services.” The government will “evaluate proposals and negotiate [an] agreement from 2020 to 2022.”

The webpage does not explain why the fighter jets are needed. The Office of the Auditor General of Canada, however, has laid out their logic: “In 2016, the Government of Canada directed National Defence to have enough fighter aircraft available every day to meet the highest NORAD alert level and Canada’s NATO commitment at the same time.”

And yet the Canadian Voice of Women for Peace campaign against the purchase of new fighter jets tests this logic. VOW states: “Canada’s multibillion-dollar investment begs the questions: Who is Canada fighting? Why do we need bomber jets or agents for chemical and biological warfare? Who do we need ‘protection’ from?”

VOW states: “We believe that continuing to consider the expenditure of $19 billion during the COVID-19 crisis, when there are so many other health, humanitarian and environmental needs, should be put to a debate in the House of Commons.”

To date, the opposition parties have not challenged the Liberal government’s plan to purchase the new fighter jets – though it should be noted that in this unprecedented time of a global health pandemic that could change.

In October 2019, the Conservatives promised to protect “defence” spending, including the fighter jets, from the deficit battle. The NDP has also expressed their support for the competition to replace the Royal Canadian Air Force CF-18 fighter jets.

The Green Party’s position is somewhat less clear. In September 2019, Green Party MP Elizabeth May stated: “I wouldn’t say no fighter jets. The F-35s are a completely inappropriate plane for our needs. We need to look at what kind of fighter jets…” At the same time, May has also stated: “This party has never called for more military spending.”

As a contribution to the public debate, PBI-Canada has offered various articles including: Boeing implies the job benefits of its fighter jets, but peaceful spending creates more jobs and Did the $10 billion Canada spent on CF-18s help to bring peace? and Canada’s two-year window to decide on climate justice or militarism.

PBI-Canada will also be working with World Beyond War and allies at #NoWar2021 when the CANSEC arms show plans to reconvene in Ottawa in June 2021. By that point, with about a year to go before the government intends to makes its decision on the contract, we can expect all three transnationals to have a visible presence to promote their fighter jets.

VOW is also now organizing a National Day of Action on Friday July 24 to demand that the federal government cancel the $19 billion competition for 88 new fighter jets and instead invest in a just recovery and a green new deal.

On that day, they are asking people to plan a short ‘Strike for Climate Peace: No New Fighter Jets’ outside of the offices of MPs across the country. That involves delivering a letter to the MP, holding a sign outside the MP’s office, and sharing a photo of the demonstration with VOW and on social media to build public awareness.

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