The question is not which fighter jet but who controls Canada’s air defence

By GEORGE ALLEN

The monopoly media announced on June 5 that the Justin Trudeau Liberal government plans to buy an unknown number of Super Hornet fighter jets from war contractor Boeing as a temporary measure to replace Canada’s aging CF-18 fighter fleet. In May, Defence Minister Hajjit Sajjan claimed that there was a pending gap in Canada’s military capabilities and that this called for swift action. Sajjan, who recently visited Australia, a country which bought 24 Hornets five years ago, warned that Canada’s CF-18s “need to be replaced now.” He indicated the government planned to move quickly on the deal, and that the purchase of the Hornets would take place without competitive bidding.

Since entering the jet age, the Canadian airforce has never flown a jet-powered fighter aircraft designed outside of the United States. The CF-86 Sabre, the CT-133 Silver Star, the CF-101 Voodoo, the CF-104, the CF-116 Freedom Fighter and the CF-188 (CF-18 Hornet) all came from the U.S. While many of these were licence-built in Canada, the designs came from giant U.S. war contractors like Lockheed Martin, Boeing and McDonnell Douglas. The intention to keep Canada’s own fighter design business alive with the amazingly innovative CF-105 Avro Arrow met a sad end in 1959 with the Diefenbaker government’s secretive cancellation of the project, likely due to U.S. pressure. Canada has been tightly tied to the U.S. for fighter aircraft ever since.

Of course, the Canadian people are very aware that Liberal hypocrisy on the fighter issue is alive and well. When the previous federal government was in power the Liberal opposition railed against a Conservative plan to buy a large number of Lockheed Martin-made F-35 fighter jets without competitive bidding. Now, Liberal government officials have indicated that Canada all but has to buy another U.S.-built plane without competitive bidding, given the importance of “joint continental defence with the U.S.,” and the Hornet is the only real U.S.-designed option other than the F-35. Such comments make it quite clear that the principles guiding Canada’s next fighter jet purchase have to do with the needs of the U.S. imperialists, NATO and NORAD, not the needs of the people of Canada.

At the same time, while the Liberals also promised that if elected they would not buy the F-35s, now even that promise seems to be in question. There are suggestions both within and outside the federal government that if the Liberals do not go through with the deal made by the previous federal government, Lockheed Martin might hit the government with a massive lawsuit. Whether this is actually the case or just an empty threat is unknown. All that notwithstanding, the critical point is that the whole issue of Canada’s air defence is being reduced to a question of “Which jet?” Much more critical questions, such as, “Who controls Canada’s fighter supply and air defence?” are deliberately not being discussed.

Canada needs to be able to exercise real control over its own fighter supply and air defence. Important decisions on those fronts should be made by the Canadian people, not U.S. monopolies and imperialist institutions. When it comes to Canada’s integration into the U.S. military apparatus, it is well known who calls the shots. The Liberals and their U.S. masters are using fearmongering about the need for joint defence against a non-existent threat from Russia or “rogue states” to claim that not buying a U.S. fighter plane will somehow be a threat to Canadian sovereignty, when it is exactly the opposite that is the case. It has been shown in practice time and time again that the U.S.-NATO-NORAD conception of air defence is not defence at all but attack – aggressive attack against any country which exerts its own independence and refuses to knuckle under to imperialist dictate. Asserting the “right” to conduct preemptive strikes and the actual bombardment of cities are features of both the Bush and Obama doctrines.

Reducing questions of Canada’s defence to a phoney argument over “which jet” is another indication that the Liberals have no intention of defending the security of the Canadian people but rather of placing Canadians in serious danger. The crude scenarios of some impending Russian air attack, dredged out of Cold War comic books, are designed to sow confusion among the Canadian people and smash their opposition to warmongering and have no basis in fact. The Liberal war government is pushing for further integration into the U.S. war machine precisely at a time when the U.S. ruling elite is organizing for a Clinton presidency that will launch further aggression against the world’s people. The path is clear. Our real security lies not in buying the “right” U.S. jet fighter to further enrich the U.S. war monopolies but in standing as one with the world’s peoples in defence of their right to be against U.S. imperialist preparations for another world war.

Canada Needs an Anti-War Government!
Say No to Foreign Control of Canada’s Air Defence!
Our Security Lies in Our Fight for the Rights of All!

Source: TML Weekly, June 25, 2016, No. 26

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