Making Peace Vigil

Standing up for peace

10 NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS FOR CANADA AND CANADIANS

Posted by strattof on January 3, 2013

WHAT THE HARPER GOVERNMENT CAN DO

#1    Abandon all plans to buy fighter jets.

●Recently, the Harper government announced it was “resetting” its plan to buy a new fleet of fighter jets. Because costs had escalated from an estimated $9 billion to $46 billion, it was abandoning its sole-source program of buying F-35s from Lockheed Martin and would be considering other fighter jet models. ●But what are fighter jets, regardless of cost or model, good for? They are weapons of aggression meant for conducting first strikes. They will do nothing to protect Canada or to promote global peace. Indeed, the point of their purchase would be to allow Canada to participate in the next war launched by the US. ●The Harper government should abandon all plans to purchase fighter jets. Even if the warplanes cost a “mere” $9 billion, that money would be better spent on healthcare, education, and affordable housing.

#2    Develop a long-term national affordable housing program involving all levels of government, as well as co-ops and non-profit housing associations.

In 1973, the federal government instituted a national affordable housing program which, for the next decade, created about 20,000 housing units per year. In the 1980s, the federal government made spending cuts to that program. In 1993, it cancelled funding for new affordable housing altogether. The result has been the rise of mass homelessness over the last 20 years. Canada is the only G8 country without a national housing strategy.

#3    Provide proper funding for First Nations education.

for First Nations, education is a Treaty right. Under Treaty 4, which covers most of southern Saskatchewan, First Nations were promised a school on each reserve. Instead, the government implemented the genocidal residential school system. Today, children who attend schools on reserves receive on average 25% less funding than other Canadian children.

#4    Stop building prisons.

Crime rates in Canada have been dropping since the 1990s. Why, then, has the federal government initiated “tough on crime” legislation–laws that will make more Canadians spend more time in prison? The average annual cost of incarcerating a single offender in a federal prison is $100,000. That figure does not include the estimated $9 billion it will cost to build new prisons for the growing prison population. If even half of that money was invested in healthcare, education, and affordable housing, all Canadians would benefit enormously.

#5    Set serious greenhouse gas emission reduction targets and develop a plan for meeting them.

On the 2012 Climate Change Performance Index, Canada ranks 54th out of 61. We are one of the top ten CO2 emitters in the world. Tar sands development is our fastest growing source of emissions. In its 2012 budget, the Harper government gutted environmental regulations in order to protect tar sands development. According to NASA climate scientist James Hansen, if Canada continues to develop the tar sands, “it will be game over for the climate.”

WHAT YOU AND I CAN DO

#6    We can join with others in Canada and around the world – in organizations, political parties, and citizens’ movements – to work towards peace and justice.

#7    We can tell our representatives at all levels of government  we want them to address Regina’s affordable housing crisis.  

#8    We can speak out against injustice, be it social, political, economic, or environmental.

#9    We can work for peace and justice in small ways everyday: at home, in the neighbourhood, in the city, the province, the country, and the world.

#10  We can live cleaner and greener: ●Buy less stuff ●Reuse and recycle ●Turn down the thermostat at night ●Use a clothesline, not a dryer ●Walk, car share, ride the bus.

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