Making Peace Vigil

Standing up for peace

BRING OUR WAR $$ HOME

Posted by strattof on November 3, 2010

Last month, the Canadian government released an update on the Canadian economy. It’s not a pretty picture.

Federal budget deficit for 2009-10, the biggest deficit in Canadian history: $55.6 billion   

Projected budget deficit for 2010-11: $45.4 billion   

The government says it will bring the budget back to balance in five years time. How does it propose to do this? In all likelihood it will be by slashing public funding for healthcare, education, and social services.  

Here’s another solution to the budget deficit problem. Rather than diverting funds from human needs like healthcare, education, and social services, the government could reduce military spending.

THE WAR IN AFGHANISTAN 

According to the Parliamentary Budget Officer, the total cost of this war to Canadian taxpayers will be $18.5 billion by 2011. Imagine how that war money could have been spent here in Saskatchewan on healthcare, education, and affordable housing.

Some of that money could still be saved by bringing the troops home right now. A portion of the savings could be put toward balancing the budget. The rest could be used to help rebuild the lives of our returning, wounded veterans.  

WAR FIGHTING JETS

In July, the government announced it would spend $16 billion on 65 F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jets made by American arms giant Lockheed Martin. Weapons of aggression, not defence, these fighter-bombers will do nothing to protect Canada, or to promote global peace and security. 

For the cost of these fighter-jets, what could we do to address issues here at home?  At $135 million each, just one of these jets would pay for 587 affordable housing units. 

ANNUAL MILITARY SPENDING

Canada’s current defence budget is about $21 billion annually. That’s a budget increase of 56% in the last 12 years and the highest level since World War II. At about $2 billion annually, the cost of the Afghanistan war accounts for only about 10% of the military budget.

What if the defence budget were cut in half, bringing it back to just above 1998 levels?  In five years the federal budget would be balanced. There would even be a few billion left over to spend on healthcare and education.

MAKING PEACE VIGIL October 28 2010

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