#StopLockheedMartin actions at corporate headquarters and Prime Minister’s Office
Its net earnings in the first quarter of 2022 were $1.7 billion.
Tomorrow at noon hour, activists will be outside their Canadian headquarters (at Suite 870, 45 O’Connor Street) in Ottawa to call on them to stop selling war machines.
The gathering will also walk the 300 metres from Lockheed Martin to the Prime Minister’s Office (at 80 Wellington Street) to call on him to defund warplanes.
Today, Ottawa Citizen journalist David Pugliese reported:
“The gathering is part of what is being called the Global Mobilization to Stop Lockheed Martin, a series of at least nine protests in various cities around the world to highlight the company’s role as the largest weapons producer in the world.”
He adds: “The F-35 is expected to be featured prominently at the various protests, including in Toronto, as the public relations war over the jet enters a new phase.”
The costs of warplanes
The cost of purchase just one F-35 fighter jet has also been recently estimated to be $105 million (USD $84 million).
Pugliese further notes:
“The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom argues the money can be better spent elsewhere to help Canadians. For instance, it noted, the $19 billion could finance 15 state-of-the-art health-care complexes; or 760 Indigenous wellness centres; or 240 new high schools; or 130 kilometres of light rail transit; or 87,842 green affordable housing units.”
The Ottawa-based Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives has also talked about the costs of new warplanes in its Alternative Federal Budget 2022:
“This Alternative Federal Budget cancels the new fighter jet procurement and missile defence purchase, for an estimated saving of $3.1 billion a year for 30 years (in accrual terms). This includes the initial purchase cost, the lifespan costs of the jets, and estimated upkeep of the missile defence system.”
And the No Fighter Jet Coalition has also produced a report that pegs the lifespan costs of a new fleet of fighter jets at $76.8 billion.
The PR battle to sell the F-35 warplane
Pugliese also highlights:
“The next step in the F-35 PR battle will focus on selling the plane to the public by using the threat from Russia and China. Some analysts have already highlighted the need for the F-35 to fight off a supposed coming Russian invasion of Canada’s Arctic.”
That narrative was somewhat challenged last month by Canada’s chief of the defence staff General Wayne Eyre who commented on the likelihood of a Russian invasion of the Arctic: “Let me start off by saying the threat of that right now is very low.”
It also cannot be ignored that the Arctic is colonized Indigenous territory and that the geostrategic interests in this region focus on the emerging accessibility – due to climate change and melting ice – of 90 billion barrels of recoverable oil and rare minerals.
Other front lines in the “PR battle”
Last week, La Presse reported: “By opting for the American manufacturer’s F-35 to replace its old CF-18s, the Trudeau government has embarked on a process that offers no guarantee that maintenance and training for these fighter jets will take place in Quebec.”
“Many [in the aerospace industry] deplore the lack of clear prior commitments before starting the dialogue.”
It adds: “Who will be the privileged partners of the multinational? What kind of spin-offs will it be? Where will the work be done? These questions are unanswered.”
Just transition campaigns
This week, Joshua K. McEvoy has further noted the environmental implications of the F-35 in his Canadian Dimension magazine article titled You can’t have it both ways—just transition requires demilitarization.
“A US Air National Guard environmental impact statement estimated that basing just eighteen F-35 jets at Truax Airfield in Madison, Wisconsin, would emit 12,478 tons of CO2 annually. …However, the City of Madison believes the Air National Guard’s estimate to be artificially low, and it should also be noted that the estimate above does not include emissions from the manufacturing of F-35s nor construction related to retrofitting airfields for their use.”
The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives has also warned: “The three largest public emitters — National Defence, the RCMP and the Coast Guard — are exempt from key commitments in the Greening Government Strategy.”
Last month, Procurement Minister Filomena Tassi commented that negotiations with Lockheed Martin would take seven months.
As that date draws near, we may also be hearing from the Minister of Just Transition (a project of 350.org’s team in Canada) about this warplane purchase.
Further reading: Fighter Jet Purchase Harms Canada’s Climate Goals, Opponents Warn and Does Canada Need 88 F-35 Fighter Jets? (The Maple)