Health Care, Not Warfare: Cancel the Canadian Forces Snowbirds Warplane Tour

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Dear Prime Minister Trudeau,

The last thing we need during a pandemic is an absolutely non-essential national tour of warplanes. The millions spent on this tour should instead go directly into health care material and support to those on the front line of this struggle: nurses, doctors, hospital cleaners, grocery workers, migrant workers, farmers, women’s shelter workers, postal workers, and any others engaged in truly essential work.

In objecting to this promotional tour for this high-profile military recruitment tool, we point out that it flies in the face of the best advice of public health advisories regarding social distancing and stay-at-home orders. Indeed, this tour needlessly increases the health risk to the pilots, technicians (aviation, avionics, aircraft structure, supply), mobile support operators, resource management support clerks, engineering officers, logistics officers and public affairs officers who make up the team. Indeed, conditions have not materially changed since March, when the Snowbirds were grounded “in an effort to minimize the impact of COVID-19 and to prioritize the health and safety of our personnel.” 

At a time when inter-provincial travel is almost universally discouraged, a national tour of the Snowbirds team puts them at risk, as well as everyone with whom they come into contact. Again, this is not essential work.


Your surprise announcement seems more about public relations than public health,  and illustrates a broader systemic problem illustrating lopsided priorities: as you are no doubt aware, the military is the single largest recipient of discretionary federal funding at $31.7 billion, almost 15 times the budget of Health Canada. (See reference below)


You say this is about boosting morale.  There’s plenty of other ways to do that. Indeed, most of us are doing that already as communities come together and show the best sides of ourselves. The last thing we need is a wasteful glorification of war.


For Peace and Justice


Homes not Bombs

 

Details on Canada's war budget: (https://www.tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca/recgen/cpc-pac/2019/vol2/s1/rcec-reet-eng.html?fbclid=IwAR3wsnbaBd4S07FGOWMJ1hn_dLZfXjb_r3RRx1QCjCMATEWgunV2KWyV9XA